ShareLife looks on bright side of campaign

By 
  • September 12, 2019

ShareLife’s 2019 campaign may not have reached its goal, nor matched last year’s standard, but Arthur Peters is still viewing the campaign through a positive lens.

Catholics from the Archdiocese of Toronto dug deep and pledged just shy of $14.9 million to help the marginalized in society through ShareLife’s 42 agencies, and that can only make ShareLife’s executive director see the good.

“Ultimately, at the end of the day the parishioners of Toronto continue to be generous to the needs of ShareLife agencies,” said Peters.

The goal for this year’s campaign was set at an ambitious $15.5 million, up $265,000 from what was raised in 2018. Donations fell short though, totalling $14,871,686 after all three facets of the campaign — the parish, schools and corporate campaigns — tallied up their results.

Coming up short follows a few years of meeting the target for the annual campaign of the charitable fund-raising arm of the Archdiocese of Toronto, which funds a number of organizations that cater to the poor, sick and marginalized at home and abroad. 

Peters said a difference this year was the loss of $325,000 in one-time gifts that helped boost last year’s result. There are also added agencies this year with ShareLife taking over funding for three agencies that had been funded by the United Way.

“You take those two factors out and it’s a good campaign,” said Peters.

Beyond the response of Catholics to ShareLife, Peters takes a number of other positives. In a technological world, ShareLife is seeking new ways for donors to give through their website (sharelife.org). A new online giving system drew 502 donations and there is also a pre-authorized giving option. 

“We need to continue to grow the campaign and look at ways to do that,” he said. “At the same time, we’re also always conscious of cost and making sure donor dollars are directed to the agencies primarily.”

That means that 90 per cent of all donations make their way to ShareLife agencies once administrative efforts are taken care of, which is one of the highest rates in the charitable giving sector.

Also encouraging to Peters was the growth in the schools campaign. 

“The school communities do many different things to support us,” said Peters. 

The money is nice, but for Peters the idea is to get future generations thinking about sharing with the less fortunate. The Catholic boards in Dufferin-Peel, Durham and York Regions saw 100 per cent of their schools participate in the campaign, while the Toronto board is on its way to reaching that mark — 87 per cent of its schools participated in some way, up 17 per cent from the previous year.

The parish campaign, however, remains the key to ShareLife and raises the lion’s share of its funding. It accounted for just over $13 million of the 2019 total. More than 100 parishes raised more money than they did in previous years, and 64 parishes exceeded the goal suggested by ShareLife.

“We’re grateful for the generosity of the parishioners of the Archdiocese of Toronto towards the work of ShareLife agencies. The campaign result this year shows our parishioners embrace the message of the ShareLife agencies and continue to support their work in helping the marginalized in our communities, not only here in Toronto but also around the world,” said Peters.

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