Coaching Course Framework: The Old, The New, and The Now Way
Today, digital engagement has whole new meaning for churches around the world. With abrupt shifts from the old way of doing things, organizations are scattering to find their footing in the virtual world. Your church is surely no exception. Whether you continue to offer physical services or if you’ve moved entirely online for the time being, following this coaching course framework can help.
Of course, this shift hasn’t only impacted how people interact with your church, it has also put major stress on the finances of many non-profits. There’s no more passing around a collection plate. In present times, your church must have a strong focus on digital giving. Still, even with the technology in place, there are other parts of the equation to contend with.
A Closer Look At The State of Giving
A quick look at the statistics from the past decade or two shows some negative trends, with both church attendance going down and total giving declining. The landscape of giving is simply different than it was ten or even five years ago, and churches that aren’t fully understanding and embracing the changes are getting left behind.
Now, with the COVID-19 Pandemic and other shifts, churches have a whole new landscape to adapt to, and they must do so quickly.
The Old Way of Giving
The “old way” of giving was simple, straightforward, and much preferred by non-profits. Being a church member meant personal involvement and high attendance. There were no options for online or virtual connections. Churches were very much a part of the local community.
Donors would come to church and voluntarily give money because they felt very close to the church, the people at the church, and the work everyone was collectively doing. This closeness led to extremely high engagement rates, too, with lots of volunteer participation.
The New Way of Giving
As time has gone by, society’s interaction with church has changed. Attendance began to decline as more people started to preserve their time for other duties and giving decreased as a result. Meanwhile, people became more removed from the church and its community, leading to lower engagement and, therefore, lower motivation to give.
Overall, fewer people are associating themselves with the church, too. As of recent count, just half of all Americans are church members. Compare that to an astonishing 70% of Americans just two decades ago, back in 1999.
Such changes are to be anticipated with busy schedules, changing demands, and emerging technologies transforming the way we live our lives. Still, many churches were hardly adapted to the new way of giving when the “now way” came along in recent months.
The Now Way of Giving
The coronavirus has changed the world as we know it. It will truly go down in the history books as one of the most disruptive events in modern history. Almost overnight, “normal” life became distance, separate, and highly digitized. As a result, churches have had to contend with a whole new way of operating.
Whereas many people attend church for that community and feeling of closeness, the pandemic means churches have had to go from personal, vibrant services to video calls that can seem cold, bleak, and tainted by technical difficulties. Moreover, the church groups that many communities depend on as social outlets and as a way to engage with the mission have all but shutdown.
Undoubtedly, the changing face of churchgoer/church interaction has impacted giving, to the point where many churches are struggling to find and maintain the funding they need in order to operate.
Uncertain Times Call for Proven Measures
While it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the uncertainty that currently surrounds us all, it’s important that your church stays focused on what you can control. Now more than ever, your community needs you to be a positive light to guide them through these tough, unsure times.
From financial struggles and job insecurity to health concerns, the pandemic has changed life as we know it. And, out of these changes and challenges comes the opportunity for churches to emerge anew and reimmerse themselves in people’s changing routines and lifestyles.
Focus on Engagement
There are many downsides you could be looking at as a nonprofit organization right now, but there are also many new possibilities to pursue. For instance, people’s new at-home lifestyles means they have time–and a real need–for engaging conversations. What better time to call up some churchgoers who may be in need of an invitation to get involved again?
Additionally, over half of all pastors surveyed by Barna recently declared that digital church attendance was up. That’s great news because it means, with newfound free time, more people are reconnecting with the churches in their community. Give them a platform for doing so by making sure you have a strong and interactive online presence.
Be Consistent With Follow-Up
There’s no reason why your church cannot continue to grow through the pandemic. In fact, more people than ever are in the position to revisit the church or consider it for perhaps the first time. With proper digital outreach, you can help people find their way amongst this stress and confusion.
As an example, hosting a digital “bring a friend” day for your next virtual service can lead to your churchgoers sharing the invitation to come to church. Get active on social media and get people talking. Have them share the important role the church plays in their lives. You’ll begin to see engagement grow if you do this.
Get Involved In The Community
Your community needs you now more than ever. This means it’s time you shift your mission to the truly local level. You need to think about the special needs people have right now. Families are out of work and they may be struggling to put food on the table. Can you collaborate with a local food bank to boost donations or help distribute?
There are many other ideas your church should consider as well. Think of finding unique ways to support children who are out of school and staying at home. They need things to keep them busy. Think of creating at-home bible study packets or even just sharing some nice printable games. At a minimum, send some ideas to the parents in your congregation. This can go a long way.
The point is, your church should be actively seeking ways to get involved with the community at every level, branching out beyond those who typically attend church and thinking about your town or city at large. Everyone is struggling right now, from healthcare workers to the homeless. Ask yourself: What can your church do to make a big impact?
Share Your Work
Good deeds should not go unnoticed, especially with people in dire need of positivity right now. By sharing the good work your church is doing, you will help inspire others to get involved, whether directly or indirectly. Likewise, sharing your church’s efforts will provide a good basis for reminding your congregation of the importance their donations hold.
Asking for donations will not be the easiest thing at this time. Many people have too many job and financial insecurities. Still, your church is very much in need of monetary support. This means you should not be afraid to ask for assistance when it is needed. Show exactly how you’re putting those donations to work. People need to know you’re helping their neighbors and community. This will give donors extra motivation to take the leap during these times.
Pursue More Digital Giving
It doesn’t matter whether you actively asked for digital gifts prior to the pandemic. Either way, digital giving surely has gained importance within your church in recent weeks. Of course, we work with many organizations that have always struggled with the pursuit of asking for donations. Too many fear coming across as greedy or pushy.
The topic of collections is certainly a tough one for many church leaders. Still, it is an absolutely essential practice. Fortunately, there are many excellent ways of going about this. Many of these strategies will never leave your congregation feeling anything but good thoughts about your church. Still, asking for gifts virtually is a whole new feat. It’s yet another challenge churches have to overcome right now.
That’s why DonorWERX offers coaching to help church leaders find and sustain the funding they need. Even (and especially) through uncertain times like this pandemic, this is vital. With the right coach by your side, your church will never struggle to find the best words to ask for and inspire donations amongst your congregation at large.
Interested in learning more? Click here to read about the DonorWERX coaching course and get in touch with us to see how a coach can help guide your church through the pandemic and beyond.