Mochas for Missions is the annual fundraising campaign to raise funds for our Missions & Evangelism Ministry to grow Orthodoxy right here in our Metropolis. The idea is to make a sacrifice of coffee or another treat–just for a season–in order to dedicate it to this meaningful cause.

The reason that Mochas for Missions is so important, is that it has enabled us to begin funding the work to accomplish the Metropolis’ Missions & Evangelism Strategic Objectives right away. With their participation, parishes grow in their understanding of what this ministry does and how the people and resources behind C.O.M.E. can further support them in their work to Grow Orthodoxy in America!

To provide some background about the inspiration behind Mochas for Missions, we are sharing an interview published in 2015 with Jennifer Davis of St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Beaverton, Oregon.

Jennifer Davis has been leading the Pennies & Prayers campaign at her parish, St John the Baptist in Beaverton, Oregon, for several years. A few years ago Jennifer and her team started calling the campaign “Mochas for Missions” and using creative slogans to promote it. This parish, which was founded by Metropolitan Anthony and C.O.M.E. in 1997, raised over $4,000 during the 2014 campaign period.    

How was Pennies & Prayers going before the change to Mochas for Missions?

We would get pennies. We didn’t used to get very much cash. People would literally bring nickels and dimes and pennies. No one thought of writing a check and making a donation.

Describe what inspired you to call your Pennies & Prayers campaign “Mochas for Missions.”

Father kept increasing our parish goal [laughter] and kept saying, “As long as it takes.” I used to be in Fundraising. You don’t want to fundraise for a long time. It’s better to focus on a campaign for a limited time. But to meet our goal, the campaign would just drag out. So, we had to figure out how to meet our goal faster. The question was: How can we get people to really focus on it during Lent? This is how we came up with the concept of giving something up during Lent. What could they relate to that would inspire them to put their money towards missions?

Why do you think Mochas for Missions works at your parish?

I think people can associate with giving something up and putting the money they would have spent towards a good cause, rather than spending it on themselves. It’s not like we’re really asking you to write a check; we’re simply asking you to give away money you would have spent anyway. And you know during Great Lent that you’re going to order soy, which is 50 cents more!

Do you think it would work in another parish?

I think so. Mochas for Missions is visual and it catches people’s attention. It’s about marketing, about being fun, being corny and having a theme.

Another huge part of it, of course, is keeping it in front of people. People make comments about it. They really begin to associate the coffee companies with something we do at church.

Every year we change the collection table. One year we used an aluminum coffee can for collections. We decorate the bulletin board and have some way of tracking how much we’ve raised visually. We have some really creative people that I recruited to take charge of the decorations and visuals.

Last year, we were approaching our goal, and someone came up with the idea of donating a $40 coffee card as an incentive. Everyone who gave that Sunday got a ticket towards a drawing for the gift card. We made several hundred that day due to the incentive and we met our goal! 

Why is it important to collect the money each week?

We found that people are always capable of giving more when you give incrementally, rather than a one-time amount.

We collect donations every week, so that we can report back to the parish on how much we’ve made towards our goal. I count the money on Sunday and send the number to our parish administrator to include in the next week’s bulletin. I also write a handwritten note for Father to read on Sunday.

Your parish sets a goal each year. How did you know how to set your goal and what do you think that does for the parish?

I meet with Father to review how we did the year before and we set the goal together. He seems to want to increase it a little every year. And he’s very adamant about it. He says, “Half of this parish would not be Orthodox if not for C.O.M.E., so we, of all people, should want to share.” Every year I get nervous and every year we meet our goal.

What would make the campaign better?

I think people are eager to hear more about how the money is used. So, I’m excited to have more materials that explain C.O.M.E.’s impact. We know that our parish is here as a result of C.O.M.E. and we want to see how it is helping other parishes. 

To learn more about Mochas for Missions, join us for the Mochas for Missions webinar, Thursday, February 9th, 4-5:00 p.m. Pacific Time. Email or submit a note on the Contact page to sign up.

Mochas for Missions 2017 starts soon!