Study Finds More Churches Are Relying on Online Giving as Donations Drop in the Pews Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Churches across all denominations are now increasingly turning to online giving as a majority of them report reduced giving in the pews amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to Ministry Brands.

The trend was highlighted in results from an online survey of 1,400 church leaders conducted by Ministry Brands, a provider of software, services, and information platforms for churches and ministries, from July to September and published Wednesday in the report Coping with COVID-19: Insights from Church Leaders.

“Overall, almost 60 percent of respondents indicated that a reduction in giving income is one of the top challenges facing their church. This was particularly noticeable among Catholic churches, a full 67 percent of which expressed concern about reduced giving,” said the report which attributed the reduced giving to fewer in-person services.

Churches are now ramping up their ability to collect donations online and congregations that never offered this option before must now help their members adjust to the virtual offering plate.

“Churches and parishes with robust online giving options established before the pandemic have had the greatest success in inspiring their members to continue and even increase their giving. But many churches are now using online giving for the first time and must confront the need to help members better understand the importance of making online and recurring gifts,” the report said.

The survey found that across all denominations, 74% of responding churches reported holding some combination of online services and in-person, socially distanced gatherings. Some 83% of Catholic parishes reported offering in-person and online services, while 64% of Protestant churches said they offered both forms of worship.

As COVID-19 guidelines allow for increased capacity in church facilities, a majority of leaders (57%) said they were also struggling to find options for coronavirus contact tracing and communications as well. Some 80% reported using social media to engage with their members.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair