Parish entry point giving is a topic rarely discussed in Catholic churches. This week, take a few minutes to review your parish’s online gift portal. When someone makes a first-time gift online, is the “Amount of Gift” box empty, or is it automatically filled with an appropriate amount? Ideally, it should be filled with what your community considers a generous and reasonable “entry point” gift. Taking into account the average income in your area, typical one-time gift, and common monthly sustaining gift, you should be able to arrive at an amount that the parish would be happy to receive, and that a first-time giver would be happy to give.

What’s the purpose of an entry point gift number?

An entry point gift amount is a little like a price tag on a used car in a sales lot – it’s not what you expect to receive necessarily, but the act of “putting a number on it” shapes the decision-making process of the donor. It immediately begins an interior process of thoughtful reflection: “I see the parish suggests I give $100…can I make $100 work? What if I stretch a bit this month? Could I give more?” and so on.

To take this a bit further, see if you can enter some text next to this entry point number. “Your gift of $100 funds two hours of religious education,” or something similar. This communicates to the donor that their gift has a concrete impact. This may require that your staff do some digging into their ministry areas to get those numbers to you. This is good! You’ll likely uncover lots of interesting factoids about real costs at your parish. (Our team even worked with a pastor who figured out the “real cost” of weekend Masses. He published that number for his flock!)

By spending significant time and effort focusing on parish entry point giving, you’ll see your donor base grow steadily.