November 14, 2022 // Diocese

COVID, Computers, and Coffers: Online Giving Grows Across Diocese

The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend is not new to online giving. Jeffery Boetticher, Secretary of Stewardship and Development, has served the diocese for 16 years, five in his current role. He shared with Today’s Catholic that online giving grew steadily prior to the COVID-19 shutdown, but the pandemic accelerated its development. “All parishes have it in one form or another,” he stated.

Betsy Quinn, Director of Stewardship and Engagement at St Pius X Catholic Church in Granger, shared that her parish has used the Our Sunday Visitor Online Giving platform for more than nine years. She noted, “Over time, people have recognized that online giving helps them follow stewardship principles of giving of their first fruits rather than what is ‘left over’ after other expenses.”

She remarked on the effect of COVID-19, “With the shutdown of public Masses in March of 2020, many of those who were still on the fence then decided to participate. We have heard from many that they are grateful to finally take advantage of this opportunity to prioritize their parish giving equally with their other financial commitments.”  

Boetticher noted that in a “generational shift,” confidence boomed in online giving. Boetticher commented, “Nationally, there’s a security issue with loose cash, and online giving helps parishes sidestep a lot of that.” Quinn shared that the St Pius X parish business office has enjoyed a reduction of administrative costs with fewer checks to post in the parish database, with online giving accounting for 60 percent of the weekly offertory.

Giving online, members of the diocese enjoy an increase in control of both how and when they give. Digital collection grants users more flexibility with scheduling and choosing between parish versus diocesan appeals. “If their situation changes,” Boetticher explained, “Givers can pause the gift or reschedule it.”

Quinn shared that parishioners found it easier than ever to contribute not only to the offertory but also special collections, mission appeals, and the parish capital campaign. Boetticher emphasized that on a diocesan level, online giving made a remarkable difference for the Annual Bishop’s Appeal and the Pentecost collection for seminarians. “When I first started [five years ago],” he shared, “we averaged around $200,000 to the Annual Bishop’s Appeal. Last year was the first time online giving alone went over one million dollars.”

Regarding the future of technology in the Church, Quinn shared that St Pius X is in the early stages of exploring popular, “instant” financial services platforms like Cash App and Venmo, and Boetticher remarked that there is no shortage of innovations being marketed to the diocese and parishes. He told Today’s Catholic, “These things can all be helpful, but they’re all efforts at ministry: to get to know parishioners, facilitate communication about ministries, and build better, stronger relationships.”

Quinn and Boetticher agreed that online giving has yielded spiritual fruits. Quinn explained how online giving altered her parish’s liturgy: “Rather than passing the basket during the Preparation of the Altar, the congregation can focus on prayer.”   

* * *

The best news. Delivered to your inbox.

Subscribe to our mailing list today.