2X increase in digital giving in first 6 months
St. Isidore is a contemporary Catholic community in the Archdiocese of Detroit and is exploding in numbers and engagement. It’s one of the largest parishes in the archdiocese with over 3,000 families and 9,000 members. The average in-person Mass attendance is 1,400 to 1,500 each weekend, with another 300 to 400 people joining them online.
A major initiative in the archdiocese is to move parishes from maintaining the status quo to a focus on mission, where the Church is serving Christ and helping people develop a relationship with Him—something that St. Isidore is using technology to help fulfill..
Before Pushpay we were around less than $100,000 a year. After the first year with Pushpay it jumped up to $120,000 a year, then up to $200,000, then $360,000, and this last year was over half a million dollars received through Pushpay. The system does a lot of the work.
Chris Kozlowski, Business Manager at St. Isidore Catholic Church
Reaching people in new and innovative ways
St. Isidore delivers content in five ways: bulletin, website, social media, on-site screen, and through Pushpay’s church app. Matt Kush, creative director at St. Isidore, understands that every parishioner wants to be reached in a different way, and because of that, he added a custom church app as an additional platform to reach people who want to engage with the parish through their phones.
“Part of our mission is to reach others in new and innovative ways and connect with our parishioners,” he said. “The ultimate goal of any church is to stay connected outside of the one hour that we have with them on Sunday. So with technology you can meet people where they are. You can meet them on their screens, and that’s where Pushpay has helped.”
The St. Isidore app is consistently updated with spiritual content, video recordings, invitations to sign up for events, and the latest parish news. Having the ability to analyze app analytics has helped him curate content that resonates, and is encouraging for Matt as the parish’s content creator. The giving button, also within the app, is making an impact on generosity.
“You’re in one app, one ecosystem, and when you open the app you’re met with beautiful rich content that you can scroll through. You don’t have to leave the app,” he said. “When you have to bounce around between websites and apps there’s a certain amount of trust. To have that confidence to stay within the app helps because they see that content from their parish and then immediately act on that by supporting their church.”
Increased giving over five years
Prior to onboarding with Pushpay, St. Isidore used a free tool that they described as “clunky” and “archaic.”
“One of our challenges is making people understand that free is not better, or cheap is not always the best solution. It’s still widely used by many churches in our area which blows my mind because Pushpay is such a better solution,” said Chris Kozlowski, parish business manager.
The parish leadership team believes in removing hurdles for engagement. The free tool they were using made all aspects of engagement difficult, including software adoption and making changes within the tool.
“Pushpay is really completely donor managed,” said Kozlowski. “People can come in and out of it whenever they need to, and it’s mobile-centric so they can use their phone. We field very few calls to our office, which is an important thing to me. The fact that the parishioners can figure it out really quickly or go to Pushpay customer service. The main reason for getting on Pushpay is that it’s hurdle-free and it can easily integrate into website design. We’re really pleased.”
The parish kicked off 2018 with a soft rollout to staff and leadership who were immediately jazzed with the new tool, and then it was finally introduced to the parish community. Staff and volunteers teamed up to help parishioners sign up for Pushpay and answer questions after every Mass. They also gave away free t-shirts to help get the word out, and videos of parishioners describing how easy it was to give through Pushpay.
“From that point forward we started running and then plateaued a little—and then Covid happened. That first couple weeks, we started pitching it again and boom integration went way up. I think for many weeks in 2020 and 2021 we had as many gifts online as we did in-person envelopes and checks,” said Kozlowski. “Before Pushpay we were around less than $100,000 a year. After the first year with Pushpay it jumped up to $120,000 a year, then up to $200,000 then $360,000 and this last year was over half million dollars received through Pushpay. The system does a lot of the work.”
An exciting part of using Pushpay is when people who have never given to the archdiocese before give to St. Isidore. Kozlowski credits their weekly streaming services and how Pushpay easily integrates into what they’re doing and how easy it is for people to jump on.
“Like any household, once you know that your retirement fund is where you want it and your kids’ college education is where you want it, then you can start dreaming about vacations. Same thing for a parish community,” Kozlowski explains. “Once we know that our fiscal house is in order, then we can start imagining more about what we could do for Christ. What can we do in the name of Christ? We don’t have to worry about the day to day. For me that’s a huge part of it. Because it’s a lot more fun to think about how we can engage more people, than how we can get enough money just to keep the lights on. That’s not a fun discussion. It’s a really fun discussion to talk about how we can further engage in the Archdiocese of Detroit and move from maintenance to mission. I think we’re ahead of the game now, so it’s an absolute blessing for our community.”
2X increase in digital giving in first 6 months
After implementing Pushpay, St. Isidore rapidly increased giving and engagement, and five years in, are still seeing steady growth. Ready to start your journey with a platform that supports mission-focused parishes? Talk To An Expert.
In a little more than six months with Pushpay, St. Isidore has nearly doubled its online giving totals.