St. Denis Catholic Church is a vibrant and inspirational center of worship and spirituality nestled within the beautiful city of Diamond Bar, CA. The parish prides itself on being a center of grace, growth and generosity. Renita Lloyd-Smith, director of stewardship and development at St. Denis, said ministries are growing rapidly and the parish has doubled in membership each year. While the growth of the parish is exceptional, space has become limited and is preventing future growth. “Right now, we are trying to carve out space for ministries to meet,” Lloyd-Smith said. “They’re finding little corners and nooks. When we have religious education classes going on, ministries can’t meet because the classrooms are occupied.”
Maintenance costs have also increased significantly over the past 10 years, but the church hadn’t asked parishioners to increase contributions. Lloyd-Smith said that while internal changes were being made to compensate for lost finances, the community hadn’t noticed. “We were reducing our staff size, services and many other things trying to make budget,” she explained. “The community itself did not realize that weekly giving had not increased in the last decade. We weren’t properly communicating the need or the urgency to parishioners.”
With a budget that wasn’t meeting the needs of the parish and ministries growing at an exponential rate, St. Denis and its staff decided to do something quickly. However, they have gone far beyond their financial need. The parish teamed up with Our Sunday Visitor (OSV) Offertory Solutions, to address expansion needs through the Increased Offertory Program (IOP)
. By focusing on their mission of grace, growth and generosity, the parish was able to combine the IOP message with envelope designs, a new Faith In Action Website,
and Online Giving to engage parishioners and guide them on their Faith journey.
A total solution proves successful
Their journey began by adding Online Giving. According to Lloyd-Smith, Online Giving has benefited their regular envelope users. “Envelopes will never go away. That’s why we have the Give Online option on our envelopes. Some people just prefer to use envelopes because that is what they’ve always used. So, we always give them the opportunity to give online while still having the offering envelope.” With the growing popularity of Online Giving, the parish staff spent many efforts promoting it within the community. Petita Virata, director of administration, and the St. Denis staff promoted Online Giving by setting up tables outside the church doors with signs that read, Join Online Giving
. “We also gave out wonderful mugs and pens with the Online Giving logo on it if you signed up online,” Lloyd-Smith added. The promotional efforts increased the number of online users with over 50 new members.
To further improve its financial position, St. Denis implemented the Increased Offertory Program (IOP) with OSV in November 2013. Using a consultative approach to involve parishioners through a series of communications, IOP increases giving and builds a more vibrant community. Lloyd-Smith expressed the relief she felt from doing the IOP. “With the IOP, we only had to ask once for people to commit to an increase in their gifts. We expressed the need for space for our ministries and people responded very well,” she said. “It kept people engaged and fully aware of what we were trying to accomplish as a parish.” Within a few months of the IOP program, the parish saw an increase in commitments of $196,000. To round out the efforts, Lloyd-Smith said the church is working with OSV to customize the parish’s offering envelope. These efforts work to engage parishioners by incorporating pictures and members of the church community on the envelope.
In addition to the Increased Offertory Program, St. Denis wanted to promote their Online Giving and ministry appeal on their website. Working with OSV, the parish launched a beautiful Faith In Action Website to inform their members and newcomers about the Catholic faith, communicate the mission of the parish and its ministries, and engage them with dynamic content including Daily Meditations, news stories and articles about real families in their Faith journey. “We promote the website at every Mass,” Lloyd-Smith explained. “People come to the website regularly to keep updated on our parish’s events and the Catholic faith as a whole.” St. Denis also promoted their IOP campaign under the About Our Parish
tab of the website. From there, they linked to the donations page for parishioners to give online toward the needs of their vastly growing community.
Looking toward a bright future
As St. Denis was able to build a total solution for better communication, the community responded positively with a renewed energy. Thanks to the increase in offertory, St. Denis Catholic Church is working on plans for a new Parish Center and Hall to meet the needs of its growing ministries and membership. The entire St. Denis staff is excited about the opportunities facing their growing parish. “Our Sunday Visitor has helped us look at things differently,” Lloyd-Smith said. “They are helping us change the dynamics of who we are as a parish: how we teach, how we engage, how we communicate. We are going to be amazing!”