I was reading an article yesterday that featured people who were not planning to vote in the presidential election this year. There were a variety of reasons ranging from "don't like either candidate" to "not going to bother". I was fascinated that a number of people had an opinion about who they would like to have serve as our President but were not planning to vote.
At the other extreme we have volunteers in both parties who are fiercely focused on their cause and are fully engaged in the campaign of their preferred person.
This sounds to me like a cross section of any given parish and the attitudes of the parishioner base. We have a group of parishioners who are committed to the parish and the cause and are involved deeply in the community of the parish. And we have many who are not engaged and don't plan to bother.
I think the difference is in how the parish appeals to the gifts, priorities and needs of parishioners. When people have a cause they care about, they become active and engaged. When there is conflict or emergency or perceived urgency, we find ways to respond. Kind of like election times.
I have seen a couple interesting reports in the past few weeks that provide pertinent information. The first, from CARA, indicates the distribution of ages of who attends Mass:
When we are appealing to parishioners in the pews, we must consider
their experience base. The age groups represented have been accepting
Online Giving but also are comfortable with offering envelopes. The 9%
millenial group has a very different view.
The second report indicated trends in tools used for contributions:
So we see strong acceptance of Online Giving types of applications, approaching the use of envelopes. Has this been the experience at your parish?
Our OSV data indicate that 10% is a pretty good expectation for the number of parishioners who use Online Giving as their preferred method. So taking a lesson from the behavior of people for this years election, maybe we need to find the motivation for people to use Online Giving.
Here are 3 points that you can use to motivate parishioners:
1. It is simple for them. Once they set it up it is easy to change at any time. Contributions recur automatically
2. It helps the parish. Overall giving increases because of consistently scheduled gifts and a more thoughtful contribution from the parishioner. Staff time and money handling is reduced.
3. Access is convenient. Parishioners can contribute from any location with internet access at any time.
Its time to vote in the election. While we are at it lets show our vote for our parishes and give online.