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Services Offered By The Office of Parish Development

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    Parish Development Services
    We are a resource to assist your parish with the following:
    Strategic Planning
    Expanding Stewardship
    Raising Funds for Capital Improvement
    Planned Giving and Parish Endowments
    Seeking Grants for Parish Programs
    Other Fundraising Guidance

    Strategic Planning

    Greek Orthodox churches have looked to the Office of Parish Development for Strategic Planning assistance when they have found themselves facing challenging circumstances, such as:

    • seeking more involvement from parishioners,

    • aiming to reconnect with “missing” parishioners,

    • needing clear direction for the near future or the long term.

    What is Strategic Planning?

    Strategic planning is a management tool that helps us do a better job.  It determines the best way to respond to challenging circumstances in an organization's (in this case, a parish's) environment.  Strategic Planning will help to secure a “preferred future.”


    What are the key principles of Strategic Planning?

    Strategic Planning leads to action, builds a shared vision, and is an inclusive, participatory process.  It is both internally and externally focused, and requires an openness to question the “status quo.”


    What will result from Strategic Planning efforts?

    Strategic Planning will identify and prioritize goals, both for the short-term and the long-term.  It will shape and guide what the parish does, and clarify why it does it.  It enables a parish to actively pursue specific, identified goals as opposed to reacting or merely drifting.


    How can we get started?

    Contact the Office of Parish Development staff to discuss the particular needs of your parish and the specific ways the Office can be of help to you. If you wish to share the Strategic Planning concept with parish leadership, you may choose to use this Strategic Planning brochure

    Expanding Stewardship

    All parishes are at slightly different points in growing in stewardship. In the important work of encouraging individual stewards to stretch themselves further in giving back to God through the Church, no one strategy will work for all parishes. The Office of Parish Development can help your parish to improve its current stewardship practices in a variety of ways, such as:

    • Assessing current practices and offering new techniques.

    • Serving as a guest speaker on the subject of stewardship.

    • Conducting a Parish Stewardship Workshop tailored to your parish’s unique needs.

    • Guiding your stewardship committee in implementing techniques over several months.

    Raising Funds for Capital Improvement

    A capital campaign—a fundraising effort to pay for major new developments, such as new church buildings, expanded community centers, etc.—certainly presents new challenges for any parish. A fundraising campaign can benefit in many ways by using outside, expert fundraising assistance. The Office of Parish Development can create and implement a strategy for your parish including several key steps, such as:

    • Conducting a planning study, which projects fundraising potential and identifies potential opportunities and challenges for the project to come. A planning study provides this feedback as it identifies the right steps to take to maximize the campaign’s effectiveness.

    • Assisting with the planning for a future campaign.

    • Coaching and guiding the capital campaign, especially through its important first few months.

    • Helping to determine how best to carry the campaign to a successful, God-pleasing conclusion.

    Planned GIving and Parish Endowments

    On the day we take our last breath in this life, we all have the ability to make one of the most significant gifts of our lives. By obtaining critical information, all of us as can plan ahead and make arrangements to leave assets accumulated over our lives as lasting gifts consistent with our lives’ goals. The Office of Parish Development can help enable parishes extend the opportunity to parishioners to give in this fashion by:

    • Guiding the establishment of a parish endowment to be used for funding a specific project, new development, or some aspect of ministry or outreach in the parish.

    • Speaking with individuals and groups within the community, presenting this opportunity and guiding parishioners to begin to plan early.

    • Coaching parish leadership on the ongoing work of holding conversations on planned giving in our relationships with parishioners of all walks of life.

    Seeking Grants for Parish Programs

    Ongoing operating costs within our parishes, as well as most specific project costs, normally must be afforded through the giving of individuals within the parish, perhaps supplemented by a few non-parishioners with close ties or an interest in the project. However, grants from private foundations or, on occasion, government sources might be available to supplement giving from parishioners for certain types of projects. Examples might include: outreach and humanitarian relief programs, renovations of historic church buildings, projects for handicap accessibility for churches, and parochial school programs. The Office of Parish Development offers guidance throughout the process of seeking grants for such work, including:

    • Assessing parish projects and programs to determine which might qualify for grant funding.

    • Prospect research—seeking grant makers who are a good “fit” for your parish project.

    • Writing high-quality grant proposals hand-in-hand with your parish or ministry leadership.

    • For a list of grant opportunities for parishes, including clergy sabbatical programs, go to Grants.

    Other Fundraising Guidance

    From time to time, parishes feel the need to ask an objective, professional opinion about some aspect of fundraising, and often it is difficult to decide to whom to turn for guidance. One good source of information is often the Office of Parish Development! Clergy and lay leadership alike should feel free to contact us, even for a short brainstorming session over the phone or email, as we hope to provide as much assistance to parishes in the Archdiocese as possible. Some of the questions that have been brought to us in the past include:

    • “We are thinking about starting a day school. How can we be sure that we can afford it?"

    • “Our building project is only a pipe dream to us at present. What should we be doing now to begin to prepare to build our church in the more remote future?”

    • “We are a small mission parish. How do we build ministries while our ‘base’ of stewards is transient and our stewardship is moderate, on average?”

    • “Our renovation fundraising has yet to begin. When do we start: after we have concrete cost projections, or before?”