Catholic Parishes

ISPD works with many Catholic parishes that have elementary schools, and often these consults are collaborative with both the school and the parish involved in the consultation. On the other hand, ISPD has worked with numerous parishes with no schools, where the emphasis is on Pastoral Planning or setting up a vibrant Total Stewardship effort or organizing and implementing a capital campaign.

At the heart of every parish, the process is focused on engaging people. ISPD has long shared the Gallup Poll and PEW Research results in regards to people engagement in today’s parishes where 30% of the people are involved; 30% are uninvolved; and, 40% are actively disengaged.

Because of the challenges that Catholic parishes face in today’s world, every ISPD process is focused on making one thought come alive with everything we do: “Belonging leads to believing.”

Since 2000, ISPD has taught and facilitated a dynamic, people-engaging process for Total Stewardship. Based upon a step by step proven method of seeking to reach every family in the parish and inviting them to share their Gifts of Prayer, Service, and Finance, ISPD has consulted with numerous parishes on these successful steps. With many approaches to stewardship built around direct mail asking parish families to give more money, the ISPD process seeks to expand the base of people into the life of the parish.

Steps in the ISPD process are proven and have been implemented in hundreds of parishes throughout the country. With the focus on People Engagement, many parishes not only have seen an increase in financial support but just as important they have seen an increase in Mass attendance and ministry involvement.

ISPD believes that all parishes need a comprehensive Long-Range Pastoral Plan that includes all areas of the parish – Liturgy and Worship, Education, Administration and Finance, Total Stewardship and Development, Facilities, Ministry Outreach, Youth and Family Life, Communication, and Sacramental Preparation. Beginning with an overall parish assessment by gathering quantitative and qualitative data, ISPD invites a representative Steering Committee of 15-18 people to help direct and facilitate the process. Pastoral planning leaders agree on the Planning Areas, invite 60-80 parishioners to be part of a Parish Planning Team and serve in one of those areas, and then set up 4-5 workshops in order to create the draft Plan.

As the process nears completion, with ISPD guidance and facilitation, parish leaders invite all parish families to attend a parish-wide Convocation where everyone is invited to share their best wisdom about the Plan. From that point, the final Plan is written and presented by ISPD and then implementation begins.

In advance of a planning effort, ISPD is often invited to work with a parish and assess their Development/Stewardship efforts. We provide a binder of questions for parish leaders to answer, personally interview 25-30 selected people, gather targeted materials, speak with parish leaders and those working with the Development/Stewardship processes, and then present a multi-page report that indicates what is working well, what can be improved, and where we recommend the parish should go in the next 30-60-90 days and beyond. This Assessment is often the catalyst for organizational change into a vibrant and meaningful Parish Development effort.

With so much being written and spoken about in the Catholic Church today about leaders being more receptive, more welcoming, and more engaging, it is indeed interesting that ISPD has been teaching and consulting on what we call our AWE process for over a decade. This 8-10 month process seeks to engage many people in the parish who do not attend Mass on a regular basis, do not see themselves and the church in a collaborative and spiritual partnership, and do not believe the parish has anything to offer by way of education and spiritual growth. Already presented in numerous dioceses throughout the country, the ISPD AWE process actually “walks” parish leaders through the steps on how to seek to engage the 30% uninvolved and the 40% actively disengaged + how to affirm the involvement of the 30% who are the leaders in their parishes.


40% of ISPD’s work is with capital campaigns – for Catholic schools, parishes and dioceses. The company is hands-on using their patented “Traffic Light” approach and leading schools through the five stages of a campaign:

  • Exploration-Discovery-Feasibility
  • Campaign Organization
  • Pacesetter Phase
  • Public Phase
  • Operation Homestretch

Through the years, ISPD has worked with hundreds of Catholic parishes raising millions of dollars and engaging thousands of people who are now leaders in their respective parishes. We see the parish capital campaign as a wonderful way to evangelize and engage new people into the life of the church.