Some might say that Catholic Marketing Network (CMN) is one of the best kept secrets in the Church. But the reality is that CMN is a well-known resource and membership network for Catholic retailers—both for Catholic stores and religious goods vendors. Now its doors have been widened.
For nearly 30 years the organization has held members-only trade shows around the country and provided other opportunities to connect Catholic retailers and vendors.
At these multi-day events, life-long friendships developed as members prayed together, learned from each other, savored a wide variety of Catholic speakers, often experienced engaging entertainment, and spent time exchanging business ideas and orders. Of course, discounted opportunities to facilitate business growth and success could be found as well.
Now expanding its membership trade network and resources to include nonprofits and other business professionals, CMN and Catholic Business Journal have teamed up to serve the members of CMN in new ways.
With CMN’s expanded membership, its resources are also expanding. CMN now provides marketing, digital connectivity, organizational development, professional discounts and tools to help consumers “shop local” and more.
Some of CMN’s nonprofit members include the newly formed Coalition of Eucharistic and Marian Apostolates (CEMA). CEMA’s spiritual director, Father Richard Heilman, will be the celebrant at Mass and also a conference presenter on “The Power of Unity.”
“In recent years, there has been an explosion of new Catholic ministries and charitable initiatives,” says Gilmore. “Even before the pandemic, Catholic nonprofits and apostolates were struggling to generate the resources they needed. Donors were fatigued by so many new charity options and go-fund-me style requests.”
“CMN is pleased to come alongside religious organization members who find direct donations shrinking,” Gilmore adds, “to help them find new revenue streams by selling or offering “thank you gift” items in line with their mission. CMN makes it simple for Catholic nonprofits to connect with suppliers to find great fundraising products and donor gifts to purchase wholesale.”
A new partnership
From providing access to an RSS feed of articles and columnists, to brainstorming with CMN marketing director Cathy Gilmore to offer increased value to CMN membership, Catholic Business Journal will also share the business acumen, wisdom and first-hand experience of Catholic Business Journal’s CEO Mentor Hosts from The Mentors Radio Show at this year’s CMN national trade show and conference event, CMN MOMENTUM.
It’s not the first time the two entities have teamed up.
A number of years ago, Catholic Business Journal’s “The Catholic Business Hour” radio host Dick Lyles delivered a well-received, nuts-and-bolts business talk to Catholic retailer attendees that involved a “hot seat” component featuring two different Catholic retailer members—one seasoned and one new. It was fun, dynamic and resonated with attendees. After the back-and-forth, Dick outlined critical, basic business principles essential for any business’ success, including some principles especially important for retailers.
Needless to say, both Catholic Business Journal and CMN are looking forward to exploring new possibilities to serve CMN members.
Event of the Year: CMN MOMENTUM
One of the unique and most-valued highlights of CMN membership is the ability to attend the organization’s annual trade show and conference event.
But this year is different. This year the annual event will be held online only, for two days: July 15-16, 2020.
As Gilmore describes it, “The premiere CMN MOMENTUM Tradeshow & Conference Event is now online this year. This virtual event is an exciting growth opportunity to take CMN’s ability to help members ‘FIND, CONNECT and NETWORK’ to a whole new level.”
Sponsors and Speakers and More
CMN member Mosongo Osong, founder of Catholic Brain, whose partners include Our Sunday Visitor, Herald Entertainment and more, is this year’s Exclusive Event Sponsor of CMN MOMENTUM 2020 ONLINE.
Osong’s brands will be spotlighted in the virtual exhibit hall and will be featured in the NEW CMN Marketplace for members-only wholesale shopping.
David Bereit, a sharp consultant who assists non-profits and business professionals, is slated to be one of several presenters. His topic: Digital Strategies and Tools for Ministry Success.
Bereit will also be the moderator for the CMN Pro Life Voter Mobilization Panel Discussion Thursday night, July 16
“This spring, I watched in admiration as David came alongside so many ministry leaders to help them use technology in powerful ways to sustain their work during the 2020 pandemic,” Gilmore notes. “David is an example of the high caliber of service professionals I’ve encountered through CMN.”
She continues: “The Catholic Marketing Network feels like family. Folks who might be competitors in other circles, can be collaborators in CMN. Like many CMN members, I’ve made dear friends through the network.”
Conference presenter, Janine Evanish, is an innovative retailer from Scranton, PA, eager to share success insights with fellow Catholic small businesses, especially with struggling retailers. Her newly renovated and thriving Heaven & Earth Cafe and Gift Shop is located in a historic location in Scranton, PA.
Karen Walker, founder and executive publisher of Catholic Business Journal, founder and executive producer of “The Catholic Business Hour with Dick Lyles” radio show which ran for eight years on EWTN, and of the “The Mentors Radio” show featuring three CEO hosts and their guests, now in its fourth year on the Salem Media Network, will give an opening presentation entitled “Opportunities Hidden in Hardship” on Day 1 of the conference.
On Day 2, one or several of the CEO hosts of The Mentors Radio show will share seasoned business insights in a discussion on “Small Business Survival.”
Other presenters include Josh and Lori Mercer and Father Richard Heilman, with Kendra Von Esh as the MC. A Happy 1/2 Hour Mini Music Concert each night will be provided by Will Hickl of Novum Records the first evening of the conference, and by Jimmy Mitchell of Love Good Culture on the second evening.
A Pro-life Voter Mobilization Town Hall will be held Day 2, after dinner, with Catholic Vote and Priests for Life panel discussion.
Beloved, long-time attendee Mark Forrest will again lend his compelling, resonant and professional tenor voice to the event. His vocals and music will enhance the conference’s Opening Prayer on Day 1 and the closing Holy Hour for America at the end of Day 2.
Article written by CBJ staff and Cathy Gilmore, who is a native of St. Louis and leads marketing and communications for the Catholic Marketing Network. An accomplished speaker, virtue advocate, and award-winning children’s author, Cathy is also the creator of Virtue Heroes stories and resources for families and schools.