Content Evangelist interviewed Barbara Shea Collins, Director of Development Services and Director of the Annual Catholic Appeal in the Archdiocese of Chicago, to discuss how and why they chose to create a magazine for members of the Lumen Cordium Society.
CE: Why did you decide to do a magazine especially for Lumen Cordium members?
BC: In 2009, Cardinal George sent us a magazine from one of the local Catholic organizations with a note saying “Now this is good development!” Since we didn’t have the funds to distribute a magazine to the entire Annual Catholic Appeal donor base (80,000-90,000 households), we decided to limit it to the Lumen Cordium Society (5,000-7,000 households). We hope to be able to expand it at a later date, since it is such a valuable tool and has been so well-received.
CE: How do you choose the content for the magazine and what do you want readers to learn from it?
BC: The annual theme for the ACA is selected by Father Cameli, Archbishop’s Delegate for Christian Formation and Mission in the Archdiocese of Chicago, me and now, the Archbishop. Father Cameli gives us our theological underpinnings and has written the cover story and Theology 101 for a number of years. It is his input that keeps us on track, theologically, with the annual theme. We want readers to understand the good work done by the archdiocese, and some basic tenets of Catholic theology, and we want to tell them stories about the everyday people whose generosity enables the archdiocese to do its work.
CE: Why do you profile several individuals and families in each issue? What do readers gain from their stories?
BC: I have been told by donors that they are interested in why other members of the society give to the Appeal in general and LCS in particular. Over the years, we have tried to select donors that personify our diversity of membership – older families, younger families, older couples, younger couples, singles and people of various nationalities. We know that these stories inspire others to consider giving to the Appeal and to support the Archdiocese. Ordinary people plus faith equals extraordinary results.
CE: How does the magazine fit into the overall communications strategy for the Archdiocese?
BC: Our first years of Lumen have been guided by the archdiocesan stewardship/development department. We’re excited that, during the next year, Lumen will be integrated into the archdiocese’s overall communications strategy. How do readers respond to Lumen magazine? Readers respond positively to the magazines – through their comments to us and through additional gifts to the ACA/LCS. We include an envelope that encourages donations and also serves to remind donors to fulfill pledges and/or make their annual gifts, if they have not already.