Friday, February 27, 2009

Inaccuracies and spin

[All emphasis below is mine.]

The Catholic Courier has just posted Bishop Clark's weekly Along the Way column.   One of his topics is the Catholic Ministries Appeal.

I report with great pleasure and pride that thousands of you have taken part this year in our annual Catholic Ministries Appeal.

Thousands, yes, but also thousands less than last year.  4,000 less, to be precise.

Current CMA pledges stand at 89.2% of parish assessments.  The number of new donors per day has fallen to about 18 over the last 3 weeks, with their average pledge running at $105.  Barring a dramatic change in this trend the CMA is going to be considerably short of its goal this year.

Our average gift is up $10 from last year, from $137 to $147 this year.

Well, there's just a bit of a disconnect with those numbers.  According to this document last year's average gift was $140 and according to the current Parish-by-Parish listing, this year's average gift is currently $143.  The bishop's numbers would have the average CMA pledge going up by some 7.3% over last year while the other set of numbers indicate a 1.0% increase.

Another topic is Catholic schools.

I am further encouraged by the wonderful things happening at our Catholic schools. In this year of transition after the very difficult closings last year, I have seen firsthand the incredible commitment of our parents and principals, teachers and staff -- and our children -- to keep the spirit of our schools moving forward in hope. We have had a very good response to our extensive television, radio and print advertising campaign and the good work of committees at the schools to get the word out about what an incredible value a Catholic education is.

As a result and as of this writing, we are pacing considerably ahead of last year in registration.

Talk about spin!  What the bishop neglects to mention is that last year there was no advertising campaign whatsoever.  The diocese couldn't afford to risk having so many students apply that they might have had to allow a 12th school stay open.  Their task force of "experts" would not have looked like experts then.

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