As the COVID-19 virus spread across the world, churches were not exempt from the shut down. Federal, state, and local guidelines imposed restrictions on in-person gatherings. Over weeks and month the physical doors of many houses of worship closed.
Navigating unchartered waters, church leaders had to pivot—and fast. It was a time when worried members needed spiritual guidance and support more than ever. People needed encouragement and fellowship. But, how could they get it? Like schools and other institutions, churches had to figure out how to keep ministering to their parishioners—and stay afloat financially.
Maybe this was your story.
For most of us, it took a “miracle” called the internet to make it through! First, people began to use digital methods—like email, texts, chats, and social media—to stay in touch. Then, services went online so worshippers could attend from the safety of their own homes. Finally, with online donation platforms like Givelify, churches continued to receive weekly contributions, safely and securely.
Read on to learn more about how churches financially survived the pandemic.
How Did Churches Continue Their Work?
Churches found both low-tech and high-tech solutions as both worshippers and clergy had to adapt.
Some churches created service kits that included a church bulletin, wafer/juice, and a print-out of the service to follow. Each kit was delivered with no contact. Families then held their own service in their homes.
In some areas, outdoor movie theaters and church front porches were used to hold “drive-in” services. Worshippers stayed in the cars at a safe distance and honked their horns to say “Amen!”
As the pandemic wore on, high-tech solutions gained momentum. These included the use of online meeting tools that businesses were already using. Services could even be live-streamed on social media platforms. While these solutions helped the services themselves survive, there was still the issue of tithes and offerings. How could a church pass a digital plate?
The answer was online giving apps like Givelify. Using the same device they watched the services on, church members could use Givelify to contribute, even if they were not super tech-savvy. Since it’s online, it’s completely no contact.
The world of virtual worship was a success! Within a few weeks of churches being told to shut down, online service attendance soared to record levels. And, the churches were also able to meet their financial responsibilities with online giving.
How are Churches Transitioning Back?
As restrictions continue to lift, many churches are able hold in-person services. The services may look a little different, such as worshippers stopping at a hand sanitizer station before heading up to receive communion. In some places, worshippers are continuing to socially distance with only every other pew filled. Peace greetings are made via a wave instead of a handshake or hug.
There is no way to tell when all restrictions will be fully lifted, and some churches may continue with some precautions.
Whatever the “new” normal looks like, church member will still appreciate the ability to donate easily and safely with online donation platforms like Givelify. Supporters won’t even have to remember to give; they can set up a recurring donation. If their ability to donate changes, they have complete control over how much and when they give.
Givelify is an affordable solution to your donor management needs, and there is a support staff to help. There are also video tutorials on the Givelify site to learn from. It’s easy for you, and it’s easy for your supporters. In fact, it’s easier and quicker than getting out the pen and checkbook.
How Will Lessons Learned During the Pandemic Help the Future?
Naturally, there are many takeaways from the pandemic that you should keep in mind for the future.
People should still be taking precautions. Anyone who feels sick should stay home out of an abundance of caution. Even if it is just a common cold, it makes sense not to expose others. Churches can still offer remote options for those who are ill, in nursing homes, or away on vacation.
In the case of bad winter weather, services do not have to be canceled. They can be held online so no one has to risk an accident.
Since you already have the equipment, why not continue to offer online services every week? You may reach new audiences and encourage more giving. Services can be recorded and made available for worshippers to watch at their convenience.
While most people will prefer in-person worship, the virtual world will always be intertwined. The online option to support the church makes it easy and satisfying for the donor—whether meeting in person or joining virtually.
Technology Helped Churches Financially Survive the Pandemic
When the world shut down, the support of faith networks was essential to help people deal with the pandemic. Churches also needed support from their members. Modern technology helped clergy and parishioners stay connected and endure the worst parts of the pandemic.
We learned a lot about the positive aspects of virtual worship and giving. Even going forward, churches will find the donor management tool, Givelify, is a cost-effective way to receive donations in a safe way. Givelify has low fees, helpful tools for churches and donors, and a knowledgeable support team ready, willing, and able to help you get started.