“Once you get onto a platform like Pushpay, people are giving on a weekly basis or a monthly basis, and their support doesn’t waver. So that’s huge. Based on the statistic that most people only attend their own church 40 times a year, that’s a 20% gain right off the top.”
St. Isidore Catholic Church has been a vibrant part of the Macomb, MI, community for decades. Driven by a commitment to serve others, the church regularly cares for the needs of those inside and outside of its faith family. Just recently, St. Isidore gathered close to 500 people to pack more than 10,000 boxes of food for distribution to the needy around the world. They also packed boxes of supplies for military personnel serving overseas. Plus, the church’s food pantry helps feed the community’s hungry on a weekly basis, and the church’s baby pantry provides supplies for new parents.
As a church dedicated to providing a welcoming place for people to connect with God and their communities, St. Isidore has long been a forward-looking congregation that engages multiple generations.
Despite the church’s reputation as one of the most innovative local Catholic churches, nearly 90 percent of the church’s giving came from people over the age of 50. Chris Kozlowski, the church’s business manager, recognized that the church had to provide a better digital-giving experience in order to engage younger givers.
“We have a weird challenge,” Kozlowski said. “We have this great beauty of lifelong givers, but the next generation doesn’t give the same way that those people gave. They don’t carry checks and cash the same way that my parents did.”
Previously, the church used an online giving vendor that specialized in tuition payments for schools. Though Kozlowski says it worked fine, the platform wasn’t user-friendly.
“It was web-based, which at the time we thought was great, but we realized it was more important that it was mobile,” Kozlowski said.
At a meeting of the church’s finance council, Kozlowski mentioned that he’d like to consider a different giving solution. Then he explained why the church needed to switch to Pushpay.
Kozlowski started with the company’s five percent guarantee. If the church fully worked the Pushpay plan and didn’t grow its giving by five percent in the first year, they’d get all their money back.
“It’ll pay for itself,” Kozlowski told them. “We really have nothing to lose.”
He also pointed out Pushpay’s low abandonment rate (the percentage of people who start making a donation, but then quit before completing it). Typically, mobile payment/donation apps with complicated interfaces have higher abandonment rates because frustrated users quit before making the transaction. Most giving apps have an abandonment rate above 14 percent. Pushpay’s rate is between two and three percent.
The finance committee also appreciated that mobile giving would provide an opportunity for people to give on weeks they didn’t attend mass. Kozlowski pointed to critical statistics showing that most Catholics only attend mass in their parish 40 of the 52 weeks every year.
“Once you get onto a platform like Pushpay, people are giving on a weekly basis or a monthly basis, and their support doesn’t waver,” Kozlowski said. “So that’s huge. That’s a 20% gain right off the top.”
In late 2017, St. Isidore officially became a Pushpay customer. Right away, the church focused on smoothly rolling out the platform to the congregation. They even posted a team of staff members outside of worship services to serve as a help desk to show people how to use the app. The church also created a video where the church’s priest, a long-time employee and a parish member, described how easy it was to give through Pushpay.
In a little more than six months with Pushpay, St. Isidore has nearly doubled its 2017 online giving totals. Despite the increase in digital giving, Kozlowski believes there’s considerably more room for growth.
Also, for the second time in the church’s 61 years of existence, St. Isidore reached (and exceeded) its fundraising goal for the annual diocese fundraiser. Part of that success, Kozlowski says, is because it was much easier for people to give to the campaign thanks to Pushpay.
Kozlowski realizes that continued growth in giving will offer the church more opportunities to engage the community. He imagines a day when, thanks to more people in the parish donating to the work of St. Isidore, the church will be able to help more people in Macomb Township and around the world.
“I hope this becomes a partnership that I get to deal with for the remainder of my career,” Kozlowski said. “Because we want to do so much in the name of Christ here. Having a professional organization like Pushpay support you in that drive is a crucial step in our success.”
Statistics show that only 20 percent of regular church attendees regularly give financial support. Why are the other 80 percent getting lost? There are lots of possible answers to that question, so w...