In the next two to three years, what church technology will be strategically important to your parish?
63% of parish leaders participating in our 2023 State of Church Tech Catholic report named Catholic CHMS and Donor Management as the most important ministry tools for the future of their parishes. What’s more is that 47% prioritize online giving, reflecting their reliance on digital platforms for financial contributions.
Priests accounted for a majority of survey participants, while others serve their parishes in business/finance, communications, administration, and development. The results of the research are broken down into five themes—evangelization, connection, acceptance, transparency, and community.
A noteworthy overall takeaway is that as leaders look ahead, traditional tools of the past won’t be enough to meet their needs in the future. They’re making room in their parishes to add digital tools that will support their ministry. Livestreaming and digital giving were necessities at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, but as the world reopened and parishes adapted, they’re embracing, exploring, and aren’t afraid of experimenting to find the right balance of giving and livestreaming technology that could help them in refining hybrid worship experiences and practicing their faith in the future.
Fr. Agustino Torres, CFR, who contributed the foreword for the 2023 report, shared that the world is in a time of grace, and encourages leaders to persist in their journey with technology—but parishes often don’t know where to start and how deep to go.
That’s the motivation behind our free State of Church Tech Catholic report. It’s designed to help parishes navigate those challenges by bringing together the latest insights, trends, and future expectations from their peers across the country and distill their feedback into one comprehensive report.
We share several key insights and real-world stories of parish engagement strategies throughout the report, but three key trends in parish giving stood out.
1. Leaders want fewer tools, but giving tools are growing in popularity
Parishes used fewer tools in 2022 and say that they would prefer to use even fewer tools in the future. They’re no longer in a rush to just add on any tech as they did during the pandemic. So rather than overwhelm staff and parishioners with a multitude of digital tools, their focus has shifted to implementing a select few that align with their parish’s mission and strategy.
While the trend is moving toward streamlining their technology, comprehensive Parish giving tools are on the rise. Church, Donor Management, and Online/Mobile Giving top the most satisfied and most popular tech categories.
That’s likely because digital giving tools on the market have evolved and their capabilities have improved since 2020. Pushpay hasn’t stopped innovating either. Leaders are learning that a user-friendly product built specifically for parishes should be one of the first critical steps towards increasing their offertory.
Fr. Anthony Stewart from Mother Teresa Catholic Church in Tennessee describes the Pushpay difference:
“(In a previous parish) When you went to give, it was difficult. (Parishioners) had to sign in and remember their password. If people want to give, you need to make it as easy as possible. (In his current parish) I love the ease of Pushpay and how easy it was for people to give. It was an exciting experience to do that. Those are my experiences of what not to do and then being able to implement something that’s state-of-the-art.”
A mobile app strategy gives parishes an edge on engagement and opens up a new segment of their community to giving consistently through recurring giving. This feature helps parishioners stay connected with their parish through their mobile app, schedule volunteer and financial stewardship commitments to their home parish, and equip them with a user-friendly system to follow through on their time, talent, and treasure commitments.
2. Using more digital giving tools reinforces the need for more security—and more say that security concerns are important
This year, 45% more leaders are discussing security with their parishioners. Data security is no longer a feature that parish leaders overlook. It’s a concern as they explore digital options in the future but, according to our report, their knowledge on the topic remains limited.
When looking for any new church software product, protect your parish and ask your provider about these security features:
- Are you fully PCI-DSS Compliant?
- Are your employees trained on data security and how often are they required to complete training?
- Do you have a dedicated team of privacy and information security professionals?
- Do you conduct third-party testing?
- Are there monitoring systems and advanced fraud detection systems in place to alert your team of any suspicious activity?
Be transparent with your community about the steps you’re taking to ensure that their personal information is protected. It’ll be an important step to building trust between you and your parishioners and might make their transition to your new digital parish giving software a little easier.
3. More parishes are livestreaming—and that creates new financial opportunities
Social media is the most popular livestreaming solution, but we’re seeing a growing enthusiasm for custom church solutions. Read the report to explore all the solutions your peers are considering in the future.
Livestreaming Masses and other worship services brings so many opportunities for a parish, including new ways to connect with current and potential new parishioners. If your parish is actively engaging with people online through vibrant liturgies, well-managed ministries, consistent curated content, and personalized communication, then chances are that they will become more involved, feel more connected, and give more to support their parish family.
Pushpay Is Here To Help You Gain Traction In 2023 And Beyond
You won’t have to navigate another year of shopping for Parish giving software on your own. Our 2023 State of Church Tech Catholic report is your guide to valuable insights from parishes all over the country. 170 parish leaders participated, with 23% more priests and pastors involved this year compared to our inaugural report. Learn about their priorities in evangelization, connection, transparency, acceptance, and community.
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