What would you say to having one place where you and your members can send and receive email blasts, communicate frequently via social media, share videos and online sermons, post volunteer opportunities and track schedules, and donate from anywhere in the world?
Well, you can have all of that if you create a mobile app, or use a suite of them for your church. If you’re not yet convinced, here is a list of some of the top things that a mobile app will do to improve your church:
1. Increase in communication/more active members
If your church leaders want to communicate with church members, and members want to communicate with each other, a mobile app provides them with many different methods that are more likely to receive a response than handing out leaflets or posting fliers on your church bulletin board. Apps provide members with push notifications—short messages that notify users when there’s something new from the church—and members also get access to social media posts and profiles, are able to send messages to each other through the app, and can keep up to date with the whole church community easily. The app will allow you to share schedules of programs and events, service hours, contact information, news and updates, verses, and anything that is fitting to your church. Think about it—time spent on a mobile device by the average US consumer is 2 hours and 42 minutes per day—apps are in the lead, taking 86% of the average US mobile consumer’s time (2 hours and 19 minutes per day). This makes it clear that applications are completely taking over mobile. A church that fails to provide their church with an app is clearly missing out on growth opportunities, and many others as well. In fact, there are tons of examples of churches that use mobile applications to grow their congregation. Here are some great solutions to help your church go mobile with an app:
- Mobilesalt—This is a mobile solution for churches and ministries—they will take your information and use it to build your mobile site, and then provide you with a web app. Their plans start as low as $19/month.
- MyPocket Church—MyPocketChurch will develop your church app for you—some features include direct messaging to all church members, listing of all your church information, social network integration, church event listing, donations, images, sermon notes, and an online Bible. Their prices range from $39-$79/month.
- Bridge Element—Bridge Element will design a website for your church and help you customize, launch, and manage it. Some features include online giving, blogs, analytics, document manager, sermon archive, and 5 GBs of storage. They charge a one-time fee of $199 and then $29/month.
These two lists by FaithVillage and UM Communications both include some good church apps for church leaders for things like reading the Bible, taking notes, leadership resources, and memorizing scripture verses.
Mobile apps are a great way to ask for donations, or to have members share donation links to their social networks. Mobile applications let you find different and unique ways to engage your congregation in using different outlets for fundraising. 39% of young practicing Christians donate to a church at least once a month online—11% of all young adults donate to a church or faith-based organization online. Setting up a mobile app for your members to donate to your church is a great way to make fundraising easier for your members, which will in turn increase the number of donations that you get. Some good mobile donation apps are:
- GiveEasy—GiveEasy is a mobile application whose goal is to make giving a daily habit—they build apps for charities or churches and can also optimize a donation page for your website. It is free to download and use.
- mGive—mGive essentially manages your mobility so that you can acquire and retain donors as well as volunteers. They offer several different programs, including text to give functionality. They have fees around $500 for sign-up and $400-$1,500 per month.
- Qgiv—Qgiv helps your organization or church to increase fundraising—they offer different packages that include things like website customization, recurring gifts, and event registrations. Qgiv’s pricing starts at $199 for a setup fee, and then transaction fees that range from $0.25- $0.50 depending on the payment type.
3. Video sharing
For those church members that are unable to make it to certain events or services, video sharing capability is really helpful—videos can be shot, uploaded and shared, allowing members to connect, stay in touch and listen to sermons, even if they’re out of town or unable to attend the services or the event. While most Americans would prefer to hear their pastor giving his sermons live, 37% of young adults don’t have a preference as to whether the preaching is live or by video, as long as they get to hear it. 54% of practicing Christian young adults watch online videos about faith or spirituality as well. Tools/apps for video shooting and sharing:
- Vine—Vine lets users film 6 seconds of video, and then turn it into a video version of a tweet.
- Klip—Klip is an app that lets people receive and post video messages, as well as share an unlimited number of clips with friends.
- Montaj—Montaj is an app that allows you to shoot clips, shake to edit, and then share them.
- Viddy—Viddy allows you to record clips, and then add different effects to it afterwards. You can share your videos with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Tumblr.
- FiLMiC—FiLMiC allows you to shoot videos right from your phone and share your videos on your social media sites.
4. Increase in charity work/volunteering
When you communicate to your members about volunteer and charity work opportunities, you can get more participation and send out reminders to engage them and keep them interested. You likely have a lot of members that would commit to volunteering when you make the offer during services, or at church events, but that may lose their motivation over time. If you have a mobile application, you’re bound to keep your members interested and enthusiastic about the opportunities you’re providing, even when they’re not at church. Through the application they can see pictures of events, messages about opportunities, discussions about other ways to volunteer and do charity work, and even opportunities to donate to charitable causes. According to a post on the Elexio blog, of those who sign up to volunteer, only 20% actually follow up and do the work. Maybe this is due to a lack of member communication or church involvement with all of their volunteer opportunities—maybe there isn’t enough being done to keep your volunteers inspired and encouraged to work hard. This is where having a mobile app comes in. Here are some mobile apps for managing and keeping track of your volunteering:
- VolunteerSpot—VolunteerSpot offers an app called Sign Up—this takes you straight to VolunteerSpot’s website, which is an online signup and scheduling tool that simplifies your participation in your volunteer opportunities. You can look at all of your activities in one place, as well as track your volunteer hours.
- Reward Volunteers—Reward Volunteers is a free and easy way to keep track of how much time you spend volunteering—and it allows you to earn rewards for volunteering as well.
- YourVolunteers—is a solution that allows you to schedule, manage and track all of your volunteers for free.
5. Support between church members
Members often discuss their hardships and provide support for each other when they need it. Having a mobile app can make supporting each other much easier; they can even allow your members to submit prayer requests, and view others that are posted as well. Based on a survey from Christian Web Trends, the social/community feature involved in a church app was considered important by 57% of those surveyed, and 75% found alerts, like prayer request alerts, to be one of the most important app features as well, coming in as one of the top four important features in a church app. Apps for receiving and sending prayer requests:
Know of any more great ways an app can aid your church, and any good apps to get started with? Add them in the comments below!