From the Desk of Phil Lenahan

2013 Midyear Update on the Work and Finances of Catholic Answers

Dear friend of Catholic Answers,

Phil LenahanMy name is Philip Lenahan, and I am the director of finance for Catholic Answers. Karl Keating asked me to write you and give you a midyear update on the state of Catholic Answers’ work and its finances.

Catholic Answers undertakes many projects to bring souls closer to the Lord and his Church. We try to reach out through every means available to us.

Our budget for the current year calls for just under $5,000,000 to be spent on program costs. These are the funds that go directly to the specific apostolic efforts that the ministry undertakes.

There are additional costs associated with the ministry, such as general management and overhead, the cost of fundraising, etc.

However, like every responsible non-profit organization, we try to minimize these as much as possible.

Our program costs represent the direct apostolic work of the organization, so allow me to show you how these dollars are spent.

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Special Projects

How You Can Change the WorldEvery year, Catholic Answers undertakes a number of important projects such as distributing faith-building materials to young people at World Youth Day, distributing the Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics, and holding special events, such as the upcoming Catholic apologetics conference scheduled for this September.

The specific events change from year to year. The World Youth Day project occurs in years when that event is held, the voter’s guide is distributed in election years, etc. This year, among other efforts, we are distributing our new booklet How You Can Change the World in conjunction with the official organizers of World Youth Day.

Annual Cost: $197,000
Percentage of Program Costs: 4%

One of our largest outreaches is our website. We are fortunate to have the address, which helps bring us approximately one million visits per month.  Our site includes the largest Catholic forums on the web, as well as thousands of articles, radio shows, and other resources. Most recently, the site has been updated to include a daily blog written by Catholic Answers’ apologists, and we have many plans to develop it and make it an even more valuable online resource in the future.

Annual Cost: $377,000
Percentage of Program Costs: 8%

“I just came back to my Catholic faith after being a Protestant for about thirty-five years. reinforced my belief that the Catholic Church is true. I’ve printed out a lot of the information from it for my Protestant friends so that they can understand why I became a Catholic again.”—Espe


Catholic Answers Live

Patrick CoffinHosted by Patrick Coffin, Catholic Answers Live brings top experts on the air to answer questions on a wide variety of Catholic subjects. Among the most popular features are the weekly Q & A sessions in which listeners ask experts like Tim Staples, Jimmy Akin,   Fr. Joseph Fessio, and Fr. John Trigilio their questions. Doing a dynamic, two-hour radio program with live callers from across the nation is expensive, involving phone lines, computers, and technical equipment.

Annual Cost: $473,000
Percentage of Program Costs: 10%

“Please keep Catholic Answers Live on the radio. I am a convert, and it is helping greatly. My family is using arguments to try to get me to come back to being a Baptist, and your program is giving me the answers I need!”—Dave


National Seminar Outreach

Every week, Catholic Answers speakers travel around the nation—and even to foreign lands—to bring people the Catholic message. Whether it’s an apologetics talk at a local parish, a chastity presentation at a Catholic school, or a life-changing address at a major conference, our speakers present Catholic truth with vigor and clarity at hundreds of events each year.

They are assisted in this effort by a team of logistical coordinators who set up the talks and track and manage the innumerable details involved in pulling off this number of talks and the constant travel that goes with them.

Annual Cost: $630,000
Percentage of Program Costs: 13%

“ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! Matt Fradd changed my life! One of the best speakers I have heard at a Steubenville conference. He was relatable, honest, and what we needed!”—Attendee at Steubenville conference


Q & A

With a name like “Catholic Answers,” we know that we’re going to get questions. That’s why we maintain a staff of experts devoted to answering the many questions we receive.

Our staff apologists answer thousands of questions each year by phone and Internet, helping people at all stages of their spiritual journey. This is a service that we provide for free that provides valuable help to countless individuals.

Annual Cost: $259,000
Percentage of Program Costs: 5%

“I spoke with Fr. Vincent last week about a very serious matter that was weighing heavily on my conscience, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate having someone like you to help me. I finally have peace of mind on the matter. I want to thank you and the other apologists at Catholic Answers for being there to help people like me. I hope you will be there for many years to come”—Sharon


Catholic Answers Magazine


Catholic Answers MagazinesWe publish one of the few remaining Catholic magazines with a print edition. Furthermore, it’s devoted to the very specialized subjects of apologetics and evangelization. What makes Catholic Answers Magazine even more unique is that, unlike other publications, it is actually growing in circulation.

We’re also positioning it for the future and are in the process of adding electronic and mobile versions of the magazine alongside its print edition, so that you can enrich your faith through whatever formats you prefer.

Annual Cost: $422,000
Percentage of Program Costs: 8%


CDs and MP3s

How to Answers AtheistsCatholic Answers is also producing faith-building audio products, such as CD sets and new, downloadable MP3s that you can listen to on your computer, smartphone, or portable electronic device. With these audio sets, people can learn their faith while they are at home, driving to work, cooking dinner, exercising, or any time that’s convenient for them.

Recording, editing, and publishing these audio sets involves time and expense, and a significant part of our program costs is devoted to making these quality audios available.

Annual Cost: $427,000
Percentage of Program Costs: 9%

“I just wanted to share what has been happening the last several weeks. My husband was originally unsure about the Catholic Church. He listened to a set of Catholic Answers CDs. They really seemed to reach him. He has gone to Mass with us the last two Sundays and is planning on going to the church picnic this coming Sunday. We have had great discussions about the Church, and he really seems to be on the same path with me now. I am so happy, I wanted to share the update with everyone.”—Jennifer


DVDs and Videos

Truth and ConsequencesOf course, some people prefer learning through video. In fact, video is one of the most popular ways to reach people today, and so Catholic Answers also uses that medium to win souls for Christ.

We produce high-quality DVDs of presentations that teach people to defend their faith and how to understand what’s happening to our nation and what Christians must do to turn things around. We also produce short-form videos that reach people on and YouTube as part of our video evangelization campaign.

These are distributed absolutely free online. Both the DVDs and the free online videos require time and expense for the apostolate to produce.

Annual Cost: $829,000
Percentage of Program Costs: 17%

“Tonight during the Easter Vigil service, I will be received into the Catholic Church. I am a former Pentecostal preacher who was renting a building from a Catholic man who is now my sponsor. One of the first things he did upon my arrival was to give me two DVDs by Tim Staples. Over the past year, while living alone in the basement of my church, I have watched, listened to, and fallen asleep to these DVDs, which were instrumental in my conversion.”—Benjamin


New Books and Booklets

Not peace but a swordThe largest single item in Catholic Answers’ program costs is its effort to produce new books and booklets.

With print, it is possible to go into a kind of depth that you can’t with audio and video. It also allows people to absorb the material at their own pace and to go back and easily review the information as often as they wish.

It’s also possible to hand out booklets in person—in real-life settings—in a way not possible with audio or video.

That’s why books and booklets have remained so important to the spreading and learning of the faith. Unfortunately, there are very few books and booklets that help people defend and explain their faith to others.

Most Catholic publishers do not produce any, and Catholics are at a disadvantage compared to people of other faiths. Protestants, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Atheists all have large amounts of apologetic resources at their disposal.

That’s why Catholic Answers has made the strategic decision to invest in producing new books and booklets to level the playing field and get Catholics the resources they need.

Annual Cost: $1,256,000
Percentage of Program Costs: 26%

“Robert Spencer is a careful observer of Islam and a courageous voice on behalf of Christians. In Not Peace but a Sword he shows us how to take Islam seriously without falling into alarmism, hatred, or bigotry, and provides a needed corrective to media disinformation.”—Scott Hahn


Other Expenses


The ministry has other expenses as well. One of our most current—and urgent—needs is to replace our phone system. This phone system has served us for many years, and now it is breaking down. We’ve tried repeatedly to have it repaired, but it keeps crashing.

We have had days when the phone system has become overloaded and we have lost every call, all at once—including all the people holding to get on Catholic Answers Live or to contact our customer service department.

This cannot go on, but it’s going to cost approximately $30,000 to get the system replaced.


Where Our Funding Comes From

Catholic Answers receives its funding from a variety of sources. These include sales of books, DVDs, and other materials, as well as honoraria for providing speakers at events.

The largest source of funding Catholic Answers receives comes in the form of donations from its many supporters. That’s why Catholic Answers is a non-profit organization, because it undertakes important spiritual work that would not be able to happen without donor support. That’s why, as part of this midyear update on the state of the ministry, I need to tell you about our present need.


Our Current Shortfall

Between sales, donations, and other forms of revenue, Catholic Answers does a good job paying for all of its apostolic efforts. However, particularly at this time of year, as we’re about to go into the lean summer months, there is often a shortfall.

This year is no exception. At the present time, Catholic Answers has a shortfall of $158,000. This is the amount of money that we need to raise in order to meet our budgetary targets and keep all of our apostolic work on track. If we don’t make up that shortfall, it will put additional financial pressure on the ministry, and we may have to back-burner some of our plans or make cutbacks in some of our current projects and services. Because of the spiritual good that the ministry does, I don’t want that to happen, and I know that you don’t either.

The amount that we need to make up is achievable. Out of the nearly $5,000,000 we have annually in program costs, making up a $158,000 shortfall is very doable. But it will require your help. In order to make up the difference, we need:

  • 1 person to donate $10,000
  • 5 people to donate $5,000
  • 10 people to donate $1,000
  • 50 people to donate $500
  • 100 people to donate $250
  • 200 people to donate $100
  • 300 people to donate $75
  • 400 people to donate $50

And we need others to donate whatever they can afford. Every gift helps.

What amount are you able to give to help Catholic Answers carry on with all its apostolic work? Whatever that amount is, you have our sincerest thanks, as well as the prayers of our staff for you and those close to you.



Philip Lenahan
Director of Finance

P.S. Don’t forget that we need to make up the current shortfall of $158,000 in order to keep all of Catholic Answers’ work on track. We are counting on you at this time.


Catholic Answers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your gift is tax-deductible to the extent permitted by IRS regulations.

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