DDF falls short in 1997, officials optimistic about 1998


CHARLESTON — Although disappointed in the results of the 1997 Diocesan Development Fund (DDF) campaign, themed “We are many, we are one,” diocesan officials are optimistic and hopeful about the impending start of the 1998 appeal.

South Carolinians donated $1,577,871.28 to the DDF last year. That total was 85 percent of the $1.85 million goal set for the campaign, and was about $93,000 less than the previous years’ participation.

Sandy Ferencz, director of the Office of Stewardship and Development for the diocese, said one of the struggles of the DDF campaign entails getting individuals in the pews to look in terms of giving beyond their parish boundaries and “give in gratitude for what you have.”

Greg Bowden, DDF assistant who is in charge of the day-to-day operation of the campaign, said “DDF empowers the mission of the diocese. We can do more together than we can on our own.” Bowden stated that, in addition to falling short on the dollar amount, there were 835 fewer donors to last year’s campaign than in 1996. With an average gift of $112 per donor, the DDF goal would have been reached.

Ferencz following up on Bowden’s observation, saying, “We’re extremely disappointed in the loss of people, not dollars.”

In looking beyond the statistics, she said, “DDF is a commitment to the work of the church. We need to convince persons to give dollars with their hearts and minds.”

As for the 1998 DDF appeal, Bowden said the goal is to “strive to do a little better than last year.” He added that, “if a parish is doing well, it is an opportunity to give to other parishes that are not as prosperous.”

To that end, a survey has been sent to pastors for their input regarding the DDF campaign, and planning is underway to make more presentations. “We need to find out the answer to why, with the economy doing well, that doesn’t manifest itself in giving to the church,” said Ferencz. As part of that effort, she said, her office will be communicating more with donors this year, especially in the area of stewardship.

Bowden also concluded that 1997 was “a learning process, understanding what it really means for the campaign to unfold.”

Donors recognition Masses and receptions are now being held across the diocese. Feb. 15 has been designated DDF Sunday.

In the 1997 DDF campaign, the Coastal Deanery hit 103 percent of goal, the Midlands Deanery came in at 81 percent of goal, the Piedmont Deanery achieved 68 percent of goal, and the Pee Dee Deanery earned 81 percent of goal.

In 1997, 14,022 families donated $1.57 million (85 percent of goal); in 1996, the numbers were 14,859 donating $1.67 million (93 percent of goal); in 1995, the numbers were 15,578 donating $1.66 million (92 percent of goal).