During the pandemic, churches have played a critical role in communities, providing food for people in need and support to members and neighbors. But these months have been tough. Without the ability to physically gather, many churches are struggling to survive. Others, though, have managed to thrive. In fact, nearly 55% of churches reported receiving increased or consistent donations during COVID.
At Givelify, a mobile and online giving app used by more than 45,000 places of worship and nonprofits for growing generosity that I founded, we looked at our own data and surveyed more than 400 faith leaders and 300 congregants to better understand how church giving has changed during the pandemic and what the future holds.
Here’s what we found out.
Digital engagement is essential for survival.
The report, Giving In Faith: How Coronavirus Widened the Digital Divide, found that churches with online engagement in place fared better financially during COVID, while those without a digital presence are struggling to survive. During the pandemic, places of worship with mobile giving in place saw a nearly 10% increase in the size of donations. Churches on Givelify with a strong digital presence (website, live streaming, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube) saw 533% more donations than those without.
Providing members and supporters the opportunity to give and engage digitally is critical. As one congregant explained: “Online giving has removed the excuse NOT to give when you are not physically present at church.”
This is exactly why we created Givelify.
Givelify was born out of a passion to make the world a better place and the frustrations we felt trying to do so in the same old ways. We launched our mobile giving app in December 2013 with a simple goal: bring joy and passion to online giving.
When COVID hit, we doubled down on this mission. We’ve always known that when we make giving as easy as tap, give, and done, people delightfully support the churches that support them, and that’s how generosity is amplified. It is the only way to ensure that places of worship are able to continue to thrive and support their communities, despite the challenges we face.
A new future for places of worship.
Of course, we know that going digital is not just about surviving the pandemic; mobile and online giving is essential for churches that want to grow and support their communities for the long term.
Consider the fact that 1 in 5 donors currently gives to more than one church — and that number continues to increase. As one of the faith leaders said in our survey:
“More people are giving online. People who are not members have been giving because it’s accessible.”
Dynamics are changing — it’s no longer a requirement for donors to be there in person to be part of a community. Adopting mobile and online giving also means you can raise more money because people aren’t limited to giving only one day of the week. Plus only 2% of donors report giving less online/on mobile than in person, and nearly 20% give more.
The good news is that mobile giving and online engagement is easier than you think. In our survey, 92% of donors said they will continue to donate primarily online and mobile after the pandemic ends and 94% of faith leaders believe online and mobile giving is here to stay.
The pandemic has emphasized the critical role that places of worship play in helping us heal and find solace — and underscored the generosity of everyday people. But the growing digital divide suggests that many of our churches — particularly those in Black and Latino communities — may struggle to keep their doors open while grappling with a global health crisis and economic upheaval. At Givelify, we’re on a mission to make sure that doesn’t happen, by helping every place of worship seamlessly adopt mobile giving tools, and giving generous people easy ways to support the organizations that matter to them.