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Parishes that offered mass online in 2020 had significantly higher giving than those that did not.

June 24, 2021

According to a Washington Post article, based on a study from the Villanova Center for Church Management, while most parishes experienced a significant decline in giving in 2020, those that streamed mass online had a decline of 20% less than those that did not.

Here are some fascinating key findings from the study.

Online Mass matters – 72% (121) of parishes offered Mass online – either recorded or livestreamed. While the ones who offered Mass online had an average drop in collections of 5%, parishes who did not offer Mass online had an average drop of 12%. If you annualize that over 12 months, it’s a statistically significant 20-point difference in collections (annual average decline of 19% with online Mass compared to 39% without online Mass).

Parish type does not matter – while there were slight differences in the change in collections between rural, urban, suburban, and seasonal parishes, those differences were not statistically significant.

Parish size does not matter – using parish collections as a proxy for parish size (<$250k, $250k- $500k, $500k – $750k, $750k – $1,250k, $1,250k+), while there were differences, those differences were not statistically significant. Surprisingly, many smaller parishes outperformed mid-size and larger parishes.

Geography does not matter – there was no statistically significant difference in change in collections from parishes in the Dioceses of Fall River, MA, Camden, NJ or Raleigh, NC.

“The parishes that were able to survive adopted digital technology immediately. … The ones that didn’t are in bad shape — very bad shape,” said Matthew Manion, the center’s faculty director. The center does academic research and also trains church leaders. “For some, you can’t go to Mass, and there isn’t much for you to do online.” But “if there is ministry online and outreach programs,” he added, that’s different.

Manion said the main point researchers took away from the study, which centered on dioceses in New Jersey, Massachusetts and North Carolina, was “this doesn’t have to be a disaster. And if you’re not reaching out to folks, start doing that. Don’t wait six months.”

To learn more about best practices for online streaming and giving, check out our FREE Parish Catalyst Webinar Library.

Read the entire article here: Washington Post Article

Read the Villanova study here: Villanova Study

Featured image courtesy of @grantwhitty

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