COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY students, often living away from home for the first time, face a multitude of new challenges. Even those who were active in church life before arriving on campus are apt to drift away from the habits of regular worship and fellowship.
Most Episcopalians agree on the importance of reaching out to these young people, but, too often, a lack of financial support impedes the development of a viable campus ministry.
That’s where CampuSource.com can help. Funded by grants from the Episcopal Church Foundation, CampuSource was officially launched at the 2003 General Convention in Minneapolis.
“We know that campus ministries are vital to the future of our church, because they represent dynamic Christian communities that form the next generation of lay and ordained leaders,” said William G. Andersen Jr., executive director of the foundation. “Yet we also know that campus ministries – as mission outposts – require the support of bishops, alumni, parents and parishes if they are to be financially sustainable.”
CampuSource’s “virtual development office” provides downloadable fund-raising tools, customized annual campaign plans and donor database management, board development and training and other consulting services.
Costs depend on the complexity of a ministry’s needs. For as little as $250, clients can order InfoSource, a new CD-ROM described as an entry-level fund-raising resource, with tools and tips for how to conduct an annual direct mail campaign.
CompuSource’s clients include Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian and ecumenical campus ministries in colleges across the country.
Chaplains find support
“We help chaplains understand their need for fund raising and their role in it,” said the Rev. Philip Wiehle, an Episcopal priest who serves as CompuSource’s director and works at the organization’s office in Raleigh, N.C. “Everyone has different needs. Campus ministries are by their nature very different from one another ... it’s impossible to generalize.”
Wiehl cited one client that wanted to raise funds but lacked a database. With CompuSource’s help, the client developed a potential donor list that now has more than 2,500 names. “We helped them get that started and outlined when to do mailings, do a newsletter, what information should go into the newsletter,” Wiehle said.
“This is an exciting new opportunity for all, because CampuSource is focused on the future,” said Myra Blackmon, an Episcopalian from Athens, Ga., who chairs the organization’s board.
“Our sole mission is to help campus ministries develop the resources they need to serve, nurture and support college students. Campus ministries foster the development of clergy and lay leadership.”
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