By Bob Pritchett
As the economic fallout caused by COVID-19 continues to spread across the country, churches, along with all businesses, are being noticeably affected.
Aside from the fact that some church members are furloughed from work and have less financial facilities with which to give, many individuals who prefer to give in-person or depend on being reminded from the pulpit on a Sunday may perceive the lack of in-person church attendance as an obstacle to giving.
But according to new research from church technology company Faithlife, there is hope for churches seeking to stabilize their budget through this pandemic and beyond.
The survey “State of the Church and COVID-19 Report” revealed that beginning the week of March 15, 2020, 21% of churches without an online giving solution experienced between a 10% and 50% decrease in giving, with 25% experiencing a decline of 50% or more.
However, 42% of churches with an online giving solution, compared to only 27% without a web-based system, had about the same or an increase in giving during this time.
This research only validates the truth that incorporating virtual giving options can be key to keeping church operations afloat through not only this present pandemic but also any future disasters that could call for the closing of churches once again.
More importantly, however, online giving is not simply a solution for seasons of adversity. It’s the future of giving among all churches seeking to stabilize their budget all year round.
Through online giving, church members can continue to give whether they are on vacation, on a work trip, or stuck at home as many have been due to shelter-in-place mandates.
Imagine the stability of knowing that unexpected closures or seasons where giving typically goes down, such as summer vacation, wouldn’t cause a significant drop in giving. For most churches, having this kind of consistency in their budget would radically change day-to-day operations.
Aside from the ability to give on the go, mobile giving allows church members to set up a recurring giving option that withdraws a certain amount from their account every month, making it easier than ever before to stay accountable to giving commitments.
With this option available to members, church leaders can more precisely calculate giving projections by asking members to make an annual giving pledge that they can easily meet through the recurrent giving feature.
While all of these benefits of online giving are no doubt valuable, they do not represent the most important part of virtual giving.
Having an online giving integration permits church leaders to dedicate more time to ministry and less time strategizing about stabilizing the budget and how to allocate funds.
Virtual giving options can automate much of the budgeting that takes up church leaders’ time, which permits people part of the church to focus more on conducting local outreach and internal ministry.
There has never been a more opportune time in history for churches to make online giving accessible to all members. If there is anything this pandemic has proven, it’s that the Church needs to stay connected and have ample opportunity to grow spiritually and connect with God.
Knowing that online giving can make all these possibilities a reality, why wait?
Bob Pritchett is the founder and CEO of Faithlife, a church technology company creating integrated ministry platforms such as church presentation software, academic study resources, e-books, mobile giving, church websites and Logos Bible Software, www.faithlife.com.