Keeping Congregations Connected: Navigating Giving During the COVID-19 Crisis

By Mary Frances

We tend to expect charitable giving to go up during a national crisis, but then the COVID-19 crisis isn’t your typical crisis.  It’s hitting us in multiple places at once. Health, home, employment and financial security, both short- and long-term, all feel very much at risk right now.  So we might expect that congregational giving could go down at this time. Amazingly, people have the ability to rise to the current challenges. The Center for Disaster Philanthropy and its partners have been tracking donations since the start of the COVID-19 crisis.  As of March 26, 2020, people and corporations have donated over $2.9 billion dollars to disaster- and health-related organizations. People are still giving.  

Of course, those giving numbers are national and perhaps even reflect some international donations.  What can you expect at the local level? Can you expect your congregation to continue giving at the level it has in the past?  Can you expect giving to increase? The Neighborhood Missional Intelligence Report (NMIR) from FaithX can provide you with some answers.  This two-page report contains over 40 data points and several of them can guide your expectations and planning in a time like this.


The annual employment data in the NMIR not only shows how many people in your geographic area were employed (or unemployed) pre-COVID-19, it shows how many are professional, working class, or in the service industry.  As much of the country is shut down, this could provide you with some idea of how many people are now unemployed, furloughed or working at home. (Since unemployment has been increasing rapidly during this crisis, you will want to supplement this data with information from local and national government sources, such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, to get an up-to-the-minute picture.)


The income section has data on both median household income and median disposable income.  Combine this with housing expense data to ascertain the folks in your area who are now at risk versus able to continue giving during the Covid-19 crisis.


This section has data on both charitable giving and volunteerism over the last 12 months.  People who have a history of charitable giving are more prone to continue that pattern as they are able.  People who have a history of volunteering are looking for a way to stay connected and giving offers them that option when they can’t show up in person to help.

None of these data points can take the place of you directly asking for continued giving and providing a safe, simple way for people to do that online.  The data can give you an idea of what to expect in return and where you may need to respond with support for vulnerable populations.

The Neighborhood Missional Intelligence Report is available to congregations at a 10% discount to help with giving during the COVID-19 crisis.

This post is part of an ongoing series. Future topics may include:

  • Online worship at a distance Part 2: Communion at a Distance
  • Online Outreach Part – 2: More tools and strategies.
  • Social Vulnerability: A new tool for predicting at-risk neighborhoods.
  • Things people can do to create a sense of community with their neighbors and neighborhoods.
  • Tools and strategies for hosting online fellowship.
  • Tools and strategies for facilitating online bible study and formation. 
  • Tools and strategies congregations can use to locate and reach populations most vulnerable during the COVID-19 crisis. 
  • Tools and strategies by which judicatories can resource their congregations

Want to help your congregation more effectively engage the neighborhoods it serves?

Click here to schedule a
no cost preliminary missional intelligence discussion
and receive a sample Neighborhood Missional Intelligence Report
for your location

Those who engage a full Neighborhood Missional Assessment or other consultative program from FaithX will receive a complete NMIR in interactive (dynamic HTML) format.

Important Note: A Neighborhood Missional Intelligence Report can also be a useful tool for identifying the prevalence of at risk groups within your membership and ministry areasand a Neighborhood Missional Assessment can help you identify the neighborhoods where they are most prevalent.

We have reduced the cost of NMIRs and NMAs by 10% for the duration of the COVID19 pandemic.

Want to help your judicatory identify emerging missional opportunities and challenges within its boundaries?

Click here to schedule a demo/discussion
of MapDash for Faith Communities
for Strategic Missional Planning

Important Note: In the days ahead Datastory will be adding COVID-related data to MapDash to all current and future subscribers (including incidence of COVID-19, hospital locations and capacity, Twitter feeds, location of doctors).

FaithX is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and Ken’s faith-based consulting practice at FaithX is carried out under an extension of ministry from the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.