Technology has fundamentally changed the way we interact with each other, businesses, and the world around us. Access to information online is the expectation, and an e-commerce society has enabled consumers to purchase nearly anything with the single click of a button on their smartphones. Speed and convenience are priority. Baby boomers have learned to adapt, whereas millennials have never known otherwise. In fact, they are the first completely digital generation, living almost entirely on their smartphones. This is their norm. So when they’re looking to purchase from a brand, or engage with a community, they expect a level of simplicity and convenience. But wait, that doesn't need to apply to their experience at church, right?
I know some people reading this are already thinking, “this doesn’t pertain to us, our church appeals to an older demographic.” Which is great! But the reality is, millennials currently make up nearly 26 percent of the U.S. population. And they, known as Generation Y, are a tech-savvy, curious, generous, and socially-conscious generation. They are now leaders in today’s workforce and are contributing a significant amount of time and money in the communities where they live and work.
Whether your church currently targets the millennial demographic or not, as you develop a strategy for long-term growth and engagement, you need the right tools and resources to remain relevant—not only for today’s generations, but beyond. But don’t take my word for it, let’s dive in and let the data tell the story. Here are the top four reasons why your church needs an app.
1: They read the Word, online
We all know that there’s been a shift to online church and that churches across the nation are trying to figure out ways to engage and connect with their communities to spread the Word of God beyond just their Sunday service. A recent Barna study found that seven out of 10 of practicing Christian Millennials (70%) read Scripture on a screen, and specifically one-third of all Millennials said they read Scripture on a phone or online. So, how are you serving up content and scripture for your community? Wouldn’t it be great if their go-to resource was your church app?
2: Millennials are generous
As a generation, millennials will reach their peak earning age around 2020, and by 2025 they are expected to generate 46 percent of all U.S. income. So, not only are they at an age of being active contributors to society, they are a generous group that enjoy supporting organizations that align with their personal passions. According to last year’s charitable giving statistics, 84 percent of millennials gave to charity, donating an annual average of $481 per year. Beyond that, millennials value giving time as well. They are socially conscious and want to invest time in people and organizations that matter to them. Are you making it easy for them to find, research, and sign-up for volunteer opportunities on their mobile devices?
3: Millennials don’t carry cash or write checks
According to the recent 2019 Digital Giving Trends report, more than one-fifth of all millennials have never written a check. And 38 percent of Americans wouldn't mind if cash disappeared completely. As your church leadership team evaluates opportunities and ways to increase generosity, consider the options you have in place for people to give. If you haven't explored mobile giving, there’s a huge opportunity to not only add convenience for your congregants but for your finance and operations teams as well.
4: They literally give more, digitally
On average, digital givers donate 33 percent more than non-digital givers. What’s more interesting is that those who give digitally donate 44 percent more often than non-digital givers*. In essence, this ties into your recurring giving strategy. Do you have a system in place to help your community easily set-up recurring gifts? Are they able to do that from their mobile devices? If not, your leadership team is in a great position to consider and evaluate which tools make the most sense for your community.
So what does this mean? How should churches use this information? In short, it means that in order to maintain growth, your church must be ready to reach a diverse, tech-savvy, and curious generation. They want to give and contribute to a cause bigger than themselves. The question is, are you ready for them?
Written by Troy Pollock, Chief Ambassador at Pushpay. Pushpay provides a donor management system, including donor tools, finance tools and a custom community app, to the faith sector, non-profit organizations and education providers.