Report Finds Church Membership Active Technology Users

Lori Halley 09 January 2012 0 comments

Close to a year ago, we reported on a Pew Research Report - The Social Side of the Internet – which focused on “the overall impact of the internet on group activities and accomplishments.”

When these researchers asked Americans “about their membership in 28 different kinds of organizations and clubs...religious and spiritual organizations topped the list,” with “40% of Americans say[ing] they are active in a church, religious, or spiritual organization.” This led the Pew researchers to “explore more deeply the characteristics of those Americans active in religious organizations and spiritual groups, including their technology profile.” And the result is the recently released: The civic and community engagement of religiously active Americans report. 

This research found that “religiously active Americans are more trusting of others, and they are more involved in groups and in their communities – they also feel better about their locales.”

Key research findings:

Attitude & Involvement:

“Those who are religiously active are more likely to participate in all kinds of groups and more likely to feel good about their communities. Those who are active in religious groups seem to be joiners.”

  • 38% of religiously active Americans believe that they can have a major impact on their communities, compared with 27% of those not active with religious groups
  • 41% of those active in a religious or spiritual organization are highly engaged, devoting 6 or more hours per week to various organizations or groups compared with 5.4 hours for those not active in a religious group.
  • 53% of religiously active Americans believe that other people are generally trustworthy, compared with 43% of those not involved with religious groups
  • 45% of religiously active view their community as an excellent place to live, compared with 34% of those not active with religious groups

Technology Use:

There is no sign that “digital technologies are pulling people away from communities and richer social spheres.” In fact, church-going Americans are MORE likely to be active users of many technologies:

  • 79% of Americans who are active in religious groups are Internet users, compared with 75% of those not involved with religious groups
  • 86% of Americans who are active in religious groups are cell phone users, compared with 80% of those not involved with religious groups
  • 75% of religiously active Americans are email users, compared with 68% of those who are not involved with religious groups.
  • 46% of these religiously active Americans use social networking sites such as Facebook, compared with 49% of those who are not involved with religious groups.
  • 9% of these religiously active Americans use Twitter, compared with 10% of those not involved with religious groups

You can view the entire report - The civic and community engagement of religiously active Americans here.

What’s the significance of this research?

Having fresh insight into the attitudes and technology use of spiritually active Americans can be beneficial for churches and other religious groups as well as for non-profits looking for volunteers and supporters.

Non-profits looking for volunteers or donors should take note of the fact that this group is highly active, believe they can make a difference and are willing to commit their time and effort – so they should be actively sought and recruited.

Religious groups are realizing that they need to engage their current and prospective congregation members through a variety of traditional and online channels. This research confirms that spiritually active Americans are receptive and in fact looking for interaction via the Internet, mobile phones as well as social media. This means that now, more than ever, churches and religious groups should ensure their existing congregation can stay connected, update their information, participate in events as well as donate and pay their dues online.

We can help

Wild Apricot is an example of church management software that can help simplify many tasks, including:

  • Updating a church website, including posting bulletins, pictures and more
  • Managing and promoting community events
  • Creating and sending email newsletters
  • Taking donations online

Religious community leaders looking for ways to use technology to engage their community can try Wild Apricot's instant free trial which includes full phone and email support  even during the trial period.

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Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Monday, 09 January 2012 at 9:30 AM

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