Church donations have experienced a downward trajectory, despite the emphasis on Biblical principles of giving. Shockingly, members of U.S. churches typically contribute around 2.4 percent of their income. Furthermore, a substantial portion, ranging from 33 to 50 percent, contribute nothing at all. While these statistics may not directly pertain to digital fundraising trends, they paint a grave picture.
The reasons behind this lack of giving might come as a surprise:
- Decreased Attendance: Declines in giving often correlate with decreased attendance at church services.
- Limited Online Presence: In 2015, only 42 percent of churches had incorporated online giving, a stark contrast to the 70 percent adoption rate among other non-profit organizations. Smaller churches were even less likely to offer online giving, with only 20 percent doing so.
As we approach the end of 2018, it’s worth highlighting five significant trends in online donations and church giving apps, setting the stage for potential benefits to be harnessed in 2019.
1. Using Relevant, Contextual, and Personalized Communication
Within a church community, there exists a diverse spectrum of financial circumstances. Congregants range from affluent individuals to modest-income families. A well-designed church giving app should possess the capacity to tailor stewardship campaigns to suit these variations.
For instance, personalized messages could be crafted for a millionaire, focusing on substantial contributions or estate bequests, while a family with limited means would receive a message that aligns with their budget and makes them feel embraced. Utilizing a church giving app can also gather donor information, enabling the app to offer suggestions in line with their preferences.
This application of technology mirrors the practices of platforms like Amazon, and churches can successfully harness it too. Given that your congregation is accustomed to software-generated recommendations, embracing giving software should feel familiar and reassuring. This approach averts the potential discomfort of soliciting significant donations from elderly widows reliant on Social Security.
Church donation management will concurrently evolve into a more agile and sophisticated process. Your messaging will be delivered with assuredness, instilling comfort among members who can trust in your ministry’s clear communication. Consequently, your church’s distinct impact within the community is poised to flourish.
2. Church Giving Can Be Disrupted by Facebook Features
Facebook has made significant changes to its commerce features, including those related to charitable giving. Recently, Facebook eliminated fees for charitable fundraising, ensuring that non-profits receive the full amount of donations made through the platform. This move has the potential to disrupt the industry, particularly affecting platforms like GlobalGiving and GoFundMe, which charge fees.
Facebook is even contemplating a matching fund program for disaster relief efforts, potentially impacting organizations like Volunteer Match. With its vast donor database and advanced AI software, Facebook could even challenge the online donations market for churches. Nevertheless, despite the tools and AI that Facebook offers non-profits, churches might still lean towards using a dedicated church giving app due to its personalized features.
While Facebook can create the appearance of personalized messages, its immense scale limits truly tailored communication. Churches may desire closer control over this aspect of donation management. Furthermore, becoming categorized as a non-profit on Facebook necessitates meeting specific criteria, undergoing a charity verification process, and obtaining certification.
Opting for a sophisticated church giving app bypasses this cumbersome procedure.
3. Focusing on Outcomes Rather Than Overhead Fosters Tech
Churches employ stewardship campaigns and pledges to outline their budgets strategically. These commitments provide the foundation for predicting weekly contributions, eliminating uncertainty. Given this characteristic of church giving, leaders and pastors often prioritize overhead control, especially in administrative expenditures.
Every effort is made to ensure the judicious use of funds down to the last cent. Amidst the prevalence of mobile devices in today’s world, your organization has the opportunity to shift focus away from overhead concerns. This means you can redirect your attention toward your church’s mission, vision, and desired outcomes.
Often, financial teams within churches can become fixated on the cost of activities, inadvertently inhibiting the broad dissemination of the church’s message within the community. Realigning towards outcomes and investing in platforms for church donation management emerges as a more logical course of action.
What Happens Next?
What occurs in the face of dwindling donations? The culprits might include a dearth of vision and impactful messaging. The consequence? Diminished church growth and reduced community influence. When confronted with declining giving, will your church react defensively or strategize proactively?
Churches often opt to slash budgets instead of focusing on bolstering giving. This reactive approach fixates on cost analysis, which can inadvertently immobilize the ministry. Common responses to declining contributions involve:
- Promotion Elimination: Although promotions keep the ministry in the congregants’ spotlight, discontinuing them can lead to dwindling attendance due to lack of awareness, not interest.
- Staffing Cuts: This decision heaps pressure on retained staff, especially the pastor. Overdoing these cuts can imperil the ministry, potentially leading to failure. The alternative becomes relying heavily on recruiting and training volunteers, diverting resources from the crucial task of enhancing giving and engaging both members and the community in your mission and vision.
Fortunately, a church giving app offers an escape from the need to curtail promotions and staffing, steering you toward a more promising path.
4. Marketing Automation as a Digital Fundraising Trend
Equitably distributing time and resources among every member of your church is a challenging endeavor. The aim is to customize the allocation based on the needs of each individual or family. By integrating giving and marketing automation software, your church can craft personalized appeals. This approach guides donors and potential contributors along distinct journeys, ultimately fostering profound engagement with your mission and vision.
5. Nurturing Recurring Giving Via Church Giving Apps
As mentioned earlier, churches commonly depend on pledges to chart their budget for the upcoming year. Transforming weekly contributions and pledges into automated recurring donations yields notable advantages, including stable funds and the capacity to precisely strategize church operations.
Creating a dynamic base of recurring donors necessitates dedication to technology. This must be complemented by an engagement strategy that consistently keeps donors linked to the church, fostering a continuous connection.
Final Thoughts on Digital Fundraising Trends
In the contemporary landscape shaped by digital advancements, churches are compelled to adopt innovative technology to cater to their members’ requirements. While discussions on stewardship might make some pastors and church leaders apprehensive, effective church donation management has become a tangible reality. Furthermore, younger generations anticipate the integration of mobile technology into every facet of their lives.
Formerly, online donations were synonymous with giving via the church website. Presently, the paradigm has shifted, with online donations flowing through church giving apps. Undeniably, churches must confront the reality of changing donor expectations, often catalyzed by digital fundraising trends. In summation, optimal online giving for your church is facilitated through mobile apps.
DonorWerx can help you excel in this area. Schedule a Discovery Call today to learn more.