The company also found that one-third of faith-based organizations reported an increase in donations during the 2020 pandemic—specifically, ones with more of a digital presence. Churches with YouTube channels, Instagram pages, and prominent websites saw 533 percent more donations than those without.
Technology like this can help churches of all kinds, but it has been a lifeline for some smaller and more rural churches, which have been more vulnerable in the pandemic.
Over the past year, I’ve worked with dozens of churches, non-profits, community groups, and various religious organizations and congregations on tech and marketing issues discussed here. Some are large, most are small. I’ve worked with predominately white congregations, predominately black congregations, and a mixture of both. Some of that work was setting up a website for the church or group, lots of that work was to implement an online giving option that was either new or much easier to use than a previous solution (especially on mobile devices), some of that work was marketing strategy and how to survive Covid and still keep services and ministries going amidst lockdowns and economic crisis.
What has struck me about all of this work is that the churches and groups that “leaned in” (I’m not a fan of that term, but it works here) to the situation with a realization that this was going to be a long term situation that would change the nature of congregating for a long time found their communities more engaged, their donation numbers rise, and new opportunity to provide ministries and services became clearer. Those who sought short-term budget options to “get through this” and “make our way back to normal” are the groups that struggled in 2020 and are only now coming back to me for help with the long term.
I hope more churches begin the hard, but fruitful, work of reconciling the current landscape with the realities being faced by congregants. Numbers are important, but a church is made of people. Churches that recognize and uplift that in their outreach, leadership, and message-telling are the ones that are “finding a Way through.”