Problem: The Bishop and the leadership team decided that 2017 would be the year to begin a $100 million capital campaign to raise funds for a handful of important causes throughout the Diocese. The debate raged: “Was this the time? We had never done a capital campaign before!” To be honest, there is never a “good time” to ask for that kind of money, so there was an incredible amount of tension and nervous laughter around it actually happening in the Diocese. The problem, however, was far deeper: most projects of this size (from a messaging standpoint) were stripped of hope, excitement, empowerment, and joy. Most campaigns like this used simple brochures and 10-minute videos filled with stats and figures and boring testimonials. The pastorally-minded (and smart!) priests of Phoenix demanded much more to make this a viable effort in their parishes. And Bishop Olmstead wanted to create a campaign that really emphasized the importance of every Catholic being a disciple and actively participating in evangelization — with the funds as just a means towards this goal.
Solution: I worked to create a robust communication strategy for the campaign that started with affirming the leadership of the Bishop (a very quiet and humble man, many even saying they have never seen him smile) then constantly spreading his dream of creating a movement for discipleship and evangelization. I lead the charge in creating 20 videos (10 in English and 10 in Spanish) that focused on people, authenticity, and the impact of various ministries in the Diocese. I created an integrated onboarding program to be presented at each parish by members of the campaign staff to unpack the Church’s teaching around discipleship and evangelization and strategically positioned the Campaign as a direct response designed to unify every parish around that mission. I worked with my incredible team in the Office of Mission Advancement to strategically level up every element of campaign communication: from the way we spoke about the effort to the hashtags we used on social. All with one mission: position the effort as a direct (and effective) response to the Church’s mission to evangelize.
What I did: Strategy creation, website design/build, copywriting, graphic design, video production (producing, filming, editing), and event planning.
Learned: I love fundraising because it’s measurable. You can quickly learn if your hard work and ideas are effective. You can show a video to a room packed full of benefactors (who will be asked for up to a million dollars each in just a few minutes) and see tears flowing as they watch their Bishop joyfully share his vision. I was told by many people (priests, benefactors, staff members) that the Campaign was the wrong direction and that marketing it was just putting a dress on a mess. But in my time at Phoenix, I learned there is a great power in creating momentum and helping people participate in something way bigger than themselves. I watched donors write $10 million checks because they felt like they were part of that mission, and I learned the true potential of really beautiful and empowering communications is to change hearts. If you add a compelling call to action, well, you can really start changing the Church, too. It was both humbling and absolutely exhilarating experience.
Sample Project Creative
Main Campaign Video
This film was created to serve as the herald for the total effort; strategically positioning Bishop Olmsted’s powerful vision at the center of the “why.” I worked hard for months with the leadership of the Diocese to create a video that would inspire and invite people to get more information online instead of jam-packing all of the details into one long video. It was incredibly well received from both priests and parishioners alike. The following videos are samples created for each case component:
Effectively called the “hype” video for the campaign, this spot was launched across multiple social media platforms as Bishop Olmstead publically announced the campaign to a gala audience. His speech was live-streamed to thousands of viewers across the Diocese.
Thanks are in Order: To Bishop Olmstead, Fr. Fred, Cande, Linda, Carrie, Maria, Marybeth, Fr. Parks, Rob, and the entire leadership team of the Diocese of Phoenix. Thank you for trusting me to try lots of new ideas on a $100 million campaign. Thanks for your guidance and mentorship, especially Cande, and for your trust and personal friendship. I speak fondly of you all daily, and my year at the Diocese was truly life-changing!