Our Lady of Victory Homes of Charity

Our Lady of Victory Homes of Charity leadership team members, from left: Tom Lucia, Director of Annual Giving; Melinda Buckley, Chief Financial Officer; and David Kersten, Chief Executive Officer.

Direct mail fundraising at Our Lady of Victory (OLV) Homes of Charity (HOC) stretches to the 1880s, when patriarch Father Nelson Baker penned letters to request donations from Catholics nationwide. Printed materials have since replaced hand-written notes, with the fundraisers supporting educational, community-based and residential programs of Baker Victory Services (BVS); the OLV National Shrine and Basilica; and promotion of the religious devotion to Mary.

The Lackawanna, NY non-profit sends an average 25 appeals per year. Chief Financial Officer Melinda Buckley knew that accounting processes could receive some calibration, and there was opportunity for distinctively identifying which appeals make money, which break even and which are a loss. But doing the job correctly required a valued partner, so they called TCIE to help.

In the words of Buckley, they got a “match made in heaven” to streamline processes and stimulate efficiencies. A TCIE senior consultant assisted with analyzing financial performance, refining the costing process and exposing waste. The result: HOC staff can confidently say that all appeals are moneymakers. Attention later shifted to examining the soundness of fees charged for HOC maintenance and power generation services, which had recently absorbed rapid customer growth with expansion to Diocese of Buffalo entities.

Most significantly, TCIE delivered data, honesty and objectivity. Director of Annual Giving Tom Lucia credits the assistance for helping leadership more easily make difficult cost-cutting choices while staying true to the organization’s mission and Father Baker’s legacy. He says bigger-picture thinking is emerging across the non-profit as a result. “People see the sophistication of the data we have and the decisions we’re making with it.”