Church Finances

Date added: 13/04/21

Resonate March 2021 - Church Finances

Last month’s Resonate panel questions were all about the Church and finances, and we wanted to update you on our findings.

This last year has been tough for many, and one aspect of life that has been hugely affected by the pandemic is finances. This has led to some churches and charities facing loss of income and financial stability. We asked people about how their church’s income has changed since the pandemic, and what they anticipate will be the needs and challenges for their church’s finances in the future.

When asked whether their church’s income had increased or decreased since the pandemic, only 8% of respondents had seen an increase in income. A fifth told us that their church’s income had remained the same, but for 72% it had decreased.

Those who had achieved an increase said it had been largely due to concerted efforts to maintain personal giving and converting collections to regular and/or online giving. Some had taken specific practical steps such as re-negotiating rents.

Many had increased their social action through food banks etc and had successfully promoted this to increase donations

Initiated new projects to help those suffering and struggling in the community, which has bought increased income

Some had also found that investment in new tech had enabled maintenance of much of their activities.

Improving the sound & vision system in church to enable the YouTube, Facebook and zoom services to be more easily accessed on line with clearer sound & vision.

Expectations on the future of Church finances were varied, with 45% believing their church’s financial position will return to normal after the pandemic, and 32% thinking it probably won’t. With 13% choosing the ‘don’t know’ option, there’s clearly much uncertainty about how the situation will evolve.

The main reason people gave in the survey as to why finances had decreased in their church was overwhelmingly because their church wasn’t meeting in person, and previously much of the income had been through in-person donations during church services. Some people also mentioned that there had been no weddings or other events which usually brought income for the church.

To gain an understanding of the financial picture for churches, we gave a selection of ways people were encouraged to give in their church (see chart below). The most popular way to give was ‘regular giving’, with 89% saying they had been encouraged to do this by their church. Secondly was by collection, with 55% saying this was encouraged. Other methods included fundraising, gift days and through wills

When asked what people considered to be the greatest need for funds in their church now, the most common answers by far were:

  1. Staff salaries
  2. Building and maintenance costs

Other answers frequently given were evangelism and outreach in the community, and supporting those within the church financially who were struggling.

When asked what people expected to be the greatest need for funds in their church in the future, the answers were very similar. These were:

  1. Staffing
  2. Building costs
  3. Supporting families within the church
  4. Outreach

The situation on Church finances is mixed, with the majority seeing a decrease in income during the pandemic. However, many are hopeful that the financial situation of their church will return to normal once the pandemic is over. We’ll be continuing to monitor how the Church is affected longer term by the pandemic in the coming months and even years.

We always enjoy hearing from you, so if you’d like more information on our findings or have any questions for us, email [email protected].