Marta Sweeney celebrated her 30th anniversary in May of this year with her service beginning in 1992 with the Diocese of Orlando Development Office. In 2008 when the Foundation was established through the Synod process, Marta was asked to transition to the Foundation. She was a key support in the Alive Christ diocesan-wide campaign which raised $135 million.
Marta has been key in several areas of the Foundation including supervising our data team and transitioning our data management from spreadsheets to the robust Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge system. When Marta assumed leadership of Our Catholic Appeal (originally titled Based On Love (BASE)) in 1977 there were 63 parishes, 18,000 donors and a goal of $650,000. Under her leadership the annual appeal has grown to 88 parishes, 35,000 donors and $17 million raised. She accomplished this through attentive benchmarking of other diocesan appeals and applied appropriate processes, messaging and collateral materials to continue growing Our Catholic Appeal. Marta has developed one of the most segmented, large-scale annual direct mail processes in any diocese and created the giving levels of recognition which honors our largest donors as well as those who give faithfully for at least 5 consecutive years. Marta espouses that while everyone’s gift is not the same, everyone’s sacrifice can be. She also has a mantra to not leave any pastor or parish behind with her commitment to get every parish to goal each year. She supports our pastors and parishes with training on processing gifts and weekly reports so that donors can be thanked in a timely manner. Her years of service have created personal relationships with pastors, parish staff and our donors.
Our Catholic Appeal continued improvement can also be attributed to Marta’s frontline work with her team and our vendors. Marta has trained our vendor on every aspect of the process including mailhouse activities, database entry and management as well as the print and digital collateral material creation. Her relationships with all of our stakeholders are unparalleled and she is considered a trusted advisor. Through the years with her leadership and collaboration with vendors, pastors and donors, the appeal has raised more than $300 million in charitable gifts supporting diocesan-wide ministries. She wasn’t only in front of the success of the appeal, but in the meaning of it, inspiring the generosity.
Marta also led the development of each of our offertory programs which have helped parishes increase offertory giving since 2012 by more than $10 million. Marta’s leadership helped the Foundation transition from the diocesan-wide campaigns to developing capital campaigns serving individual parishes, schools and entities. With her direction and supervision, the Foundation has been able to provide these services in-house and raise more than $24 million for 13 entities since 2015, achieving either feasibility study capacity or campaign goals.
It is rare to see someone who loves their work as Marta does and her experience provides leadership with direct mail and in-pew campaigns, moves management, donor stewardship and relationships with our pastors. Marta is a resource to our entire team as well as our industry peers from across the country. She is currently serving on the national board of the International Catholic Stewardship Council and is an industry speaker on diocesan annual appeals, offertory programs and pastor and donor relationships.