Sunday 15 September 2019

Bigger donations make up for drop in numbers giving at church gate

Stock: Getty Images
Stock: Getty Images
Conor McCrave

Conor McCrave

As the number of people attending Mass falls, charities relying on church-gate donations have said individual donors are becoming more generous.

The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) runs regular church-gate fundraisers in parishes across the country. In some parishes it makes up to half of the available funding that goes back into the community.

But fears that fewer people attending Mass in recent years could have a knock-on effect on the amount of donations received have been squashed thanks to bigger donations.

"I would be worried if the numbers keep dropping," said SVP south-east regional president Ben Doyle.

"But donation amounts are going up and I'm speaking for my region but the donations are coming in. The donations we get are €5 and €10, and that goes into the 50s and the 100s. I think people dig deeper every year, and as things have improved there are a few out there that will give back.

"So most of the parishes are up a couple of hundred from the fundraisers or they are at least holding their own."

However, in spite of the generosity, in recent years the charity's reliance on church-gate collections has led many parishes to look at additional ways to raise funds should numbers continue to fall.

"The church-gate fundraisers make up about 40pc of our donations, so if they dropped we would have to go to plan B," said Ms Doyle.

"That is when we have to come up with other ideas. We had 1,000 calls from people in November alone so in January we will sit down and look at the figures and see if we need to go down other routes.

"Even now as it stands there are a lot of conferences that are fundraising in other ways through local supermarkets and areas like that."

This weekend sees the annual Christmas fundraiser for many SVP parishes around the country.

"People are generous and, no matter how much they put in, it is like their good deed for Christmas. If everyone gave even 50c it would make a difference."

Irish Independent

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