THE VIBRANT PARISH NEWSLETTER

COMMUNICATING THE GOOD NEWS

Reasons Parishioners Aren't Giving

5 Reasons Your Parishioners Aren’t Giving Regularly

It’s a perennial problem for all Catholic parishes: financial stewardship. Rare is the faith community whose leaders are always completely confident in the consistency and level of its members’ financial gifts. According to Nonprofits Source, 37% of regular church attendees don’t give any money at all to their church, and tithers only make up about 10 to 25% of a normal church congregation.

While this is a common statistic, it doesn’t need to be an ongoing problem within your faith community. Here are some common reasons why even faithful churchgoers aren’t giving to their parish on a regular basis.

They forgot to Bring their Cash, Check or Envelope

How many of us have realized, just as we see the basket being passed at collection, that we left our checkbook or offertory envelope on the kitchen counter? Chances are that means we will also forget to mail it in at some point that week. Financial giving can often be “one more thing” on the to-do list of busy parents and professionals, so it’s important for parishes to make it as easy as possible for parishioners to get their money to the church. This means prioritizing and highlighting alternative giving options by using programs like WeShare, which can set up recurring or one-time donations using a variety of devices.

Programs like these also appeal to more technology-literate generations who rarely carry cash or utilize checkbooks, and the ease of use makes it more likely for donors to set up a recurring gift that they don’t have to think about.

They Aren’t Members ... Yet

In 2009, The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University found that about 37% of American Catholic parishes regularly serve a significant population of Catholics who are not registered at their parish. A later, related study found that this number is more likely to include younger people born after 1981 and Asian or Pacific Islander Catholics and Hispanic or Latino Catholics (due to cultural norms in their country of origin). Those who are not members are less likely to financially support the parish.

Prayer

They Don’t Feel a Connection to the Community

This problem could stem from a number of sources. Are your parishioners aware of what your parish has to offer them, whatever state in life they find themselves in? Are they feeling welcomed, included and invited? Do they understand the importance of parish membership and the sense of belonging to a faith community they can call their own? Do they understand exactly where the money goes? Is there adequate education (from the pulpit, in the bulletin, on social media) about the good your parish is able to do in the community because of the generous financial support of its parishioners?

They Don’t Know Why They Should

It’s simply a fact of modern life that religious affiliation has declined, and with it the sense of stewardship over a local parish church. According to Nonprofits Source, giving overall is at about 2.5% of a family’s annual income these days, compared to roughly 3.3% during the Great Depression. Additionally, the Church has suffered from damaging publicity in recent years due to the clergy sexual abuse crisis. Many parishioners do not differentiate between “the Church hierarchy” that they read about in the news and the men and women — ministers, teachers, and administrative staff — who rely on their local parish for their salaries.

They Don’t Feel Their Donation Would Make a Difference

This can be especially common in parishes in geographic areas that have earned the reputation for having wealthy residents. Is your pastor and parish leadership doing a good job of emphasizing the parable of the widow and her two coins? It doesn’t matter what the socioeconomic reality of a parish population is — if the parking lot on Sunday morning is filled with expensive cars and the tickets to the annual dinner auction are beyond a family’s normal monthly entertainment budget, they may be embarrassed about the amount they are able to give on a regular basis.

Need some help getting your parishioners to give? Check out the WeShare Engagement Campaign — FREE for all customers. Find out more and sign up today to double your donations.


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5 Reasons Your Parishioners Aren’t Giving on a Regular Basis

It’s a perennial problem for all Catholic parishes: financial stewardship. Rare is the faith community whose leaders are always completely confident in the consistency and level of its members’ financial gifts. According to Nonprofits Source, 37% of regular church attendees don’t give any money at all to their church, and tithers only make up about 10 to 25% of a normal church congregation.

While this is a common statistic, it doesn’t need to be an ongoing problem within your faith community. Here are some common reasons why even faithful churchgoers aren’t giving to their parish on a regular basis.

They forgot to Bring their Cash, Check or Envelope

How many of us have realized, just as we see the basket being passed at collection, that we left our checkbook or offertory envelope on the kitchen counter? Chances are that means we will also forget to mail it in at some point that week. Financial giving can often be “one more thing” on the to-do list of busy parents and professionals, so it’s important for parishes to make it as easy as possible for parishioners to get their money to the church. This means prioritizing and highlighting alternative giving options by using programs like WeShare, which can set up recurring or one-time donations using a variety of devices.

Programs like these also appeal to more technology-literate generations who rarely carry cash or utilize checkbooks, and the ease of use makes it more likely for donors to set up a recurring gift that they don’t have to think about.

They Aren’t Members ... Yet

In 2009, The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University found that about 37% of American Catholic parishes regularly serve a significant population of Catholics who are not registered at their parish. A later, related study found that this number is more likely to include younger people born after 1981 and Asian or Pacific Islander Catholics and Hispanic or Latino Catholics (due to cultural norms in their country of origin). Those who are not members are less likely to financially support the parish.

Prayer

They Don’t Feel a Connection to the Community

This problem could stem from a number of sources. Are your parishioners aware of what your parish has to offer them, whatever state in life they find themselves in? Are they feeling welcomed, included and invited? Do they understand the importance of parish membership and the sense of belonging to a faith community they can call their own? Do they understand exactly where the money goes? Is there adequate education (from the pulpit, in the bulletin, on social media) about the good your parish is able to do in the community because of the generous financial support of its parishioners?

They Don’t Know Why They Should

It’s simply a fact of modern life that religious affiliation has declined, and with it the sense of stewardship over a local parish church. According to Nonprofits Source, giving overall is at about 2.5% of a family’s annual income these days, compared to roughly 3.3% during the Great Depression. Additionally, the Church has suffered from damaging publicity in recent years due to the clergy sexual abuse crisis. Many parishioners do not differentiate between “the Church hierarchy” that they read about in the news and the men and women — ministers, teachers, and administrative staff — who rely on their local parish for their salaries.

They Don’t Feel Their Donation Would Make a Difference

This can be especially common in parishes in geographic areas that have earned the reputation for having wealthy residents. Is your pastor and parish leadership doing a good job of emphasizing the parable of the widow and her two coins? It doesn’t matter what the socioeconomic reality of a parish population is — if the parking lot on Sunday morning is filled with expensive cars and the tickets to the annual dinner auction are beyond a family’s normal monthly entertainment budget, they may be embarrassed about the amount they are able to give on a regular basis.

Need some help getting your parishioners to give? Check out the WeShare Engagement Campaign — FREE for all customers. Find out more and sign-up today to double your donations.


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How to Invite your Parishioners (Safely) Back to Mass

We’re all ready for Mass and our parish communities to feel a little more “normal” again — but what normal looks like, and when it will arrive, is going to vary from diocese to diocese, and maybe even from parish to parish. Whether your parish has begun holding public Mass again or is still in the planning stages of its return, the reality for many churches is that turnout is lower than expected. Here are some things to consider that may help your parishioners feel welcomed, safe, and encouraged in their return to public Mass.

Organize a Welcome Back Campaign

A Welcome Back Campaign can serve as an umbrella initiative to ensure that all communications, protocols, and engagement efforts have a uniform feel and a united message that fits with the mission statement of your parish. This campaign could be entrusted to an existing committee at your parish, or it could be overseen by a group of volunteers that represent a wide variety of stakeholders — like members from the liturgical, administrative and custodial staff, the parish governing bodies, and any healthcare professionals your parish includes.

In addition to addressing the logistics of a return to Mass, the Welcome Back Campaign can serve as the public face of the parish’s reopening. This pandemic has increased feelings of isolation and alienation within our communities, and it will be the Welcome Back Campaign’s job to reach out (in a socially distanced manner, of course) to a parish body that has fallen out of the habit of engaging with one another. An important component of the campaign will be putting the all-important human touch on the communications effort with parishioners, by sending postcards, email, and text messages that lay out the necessary information and direct them to where they can find answers to any questions or concerns they have.

Web Page

Communicate Protocols Clearly

Fear of the unknown is a big obstacle for many who struggle to feel safe in gathering publicly for Mass once again. Many may fear not only infection but will feel overwhelmed at the uncertainty of a post-COVID Mass experience. Tackle that issue head-on by clearly outlining what Mass attendees can expect when they return. Set up a page on your parish website that lays out the protocols for masking, distancing, and disinfecting that you will use to keep the faithful safe. Consider including a Frequently Asked Question section that addresses issues people may be curious about — Will the congregation be dismissed as a whole or pew-by-pew? How will Communion be handled? Should I use a designated entrance or exit? Is the parish cry room still open? What about the bathrooms?

Utilize Your Pastor

We call them “Father” for a reason: recognize and harness the power of your pastor as the shepherd of his local flock. His leadership of the parish as a whole is important, but especially in these times of prolonged isolation and loneliness, it’s important that his parishioners feel he is interested personally in their well-being.

Many pastors who are able have made it a point to call individual parishioners during periods of lockdown and quarantine, especially the elderly and the homebound, to ensure they are being looked after both physically and spiritually. Consider how your pastor can issue a similar “personal invitation” back to Mass. This will look vastly different in every parish — for smaller communities, perhaps a personal email or phone call for at least the elderly and homebound parishioners would be possible. For larger communities or clustered parishes, consider other avenues — a video of Father inviting parishioners back to Mass or addressing frequently asked questions that can be posted to Facebook, or a mass email that comes from his personal account.

Looking for additional ways to engage and inspire your parishioners? Check out our Vibrant Parish Toolkit blog for new ideas to share the Good News.


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How Church Connection Cards Can Help You Grow Your Parish

Church Card

No doubt, your parish welcomes a variety of visitors each week. And while you can’t always spend a great amount of time introducing yourself and asking where they’re from, it’s essential to somehow capture their information so as to form a connection with them down the road. A great way to do that is with church connection cards.


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AT-A-GLANCE

Online Giving

Increase Your Online Giving

With the WeShare Engagement Campaign, remind the members of your faith community just how much you rely on their generosity. This FREE quarterly campaign uses targeted messages that will easily triple the growth rate of donors and double recurring online donations for your parish!

Product Demos

Build Your Vibrant Parish from the Ground Up

From online giving to church websites and apps, we have the solutions you need to engage and grow your church. Register for an upcoming product demo today and see just how easy it can be when you have LPi on your side.

Product Demos

Webinar Series on Demand!

Our FREE webinar series are created to help parish staff and leaders ignite and renew their parishes like never before. Spend your spring break catching up on some on demand videos hosted by Tracy Earl Welliver, and discover new ways to engage your faith community.

WeCreate

Digital Catholic Art & Content

With WeCreate, you’ll find the latest in stock photography, clip art, prayers, Gospel reflections, children’s art and activities, and more!

More resources

  •  LET LPI GUIDE YOUR PARISH DURING COVID-19
    Discover fresh ideas and free online resources to help keep everyone in your parish community connected during COVID-19.
    Click here to learn more.
  •  DIGITAL CATHOLIC ART & CONTENT FOR EVERY WEEK
    With WeCreate, you’ll find the latest in stock photography, church clip art, Catholic prayers, weekly Gospel reflections, and more to make your communications engaging and vibrant.
    Learn more
  •  STRENGTHSFINDER: A TOOL FOR SELF-DISCOVERY
    The Clifton StrengthsFinder is one tool that helps us understand our self in terms of the person God created.
    Click here to learn more.
  •  THE STEWARDSHIP OF THE GOOD SAMARITAN
    Are you and I required to respond to the daily call of Jesus Christ? No. True stewardship requires nothing of us because true stewardship is all about giving of oneself freely. ”
    Click here to read more.
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