3 Reasons Your Church Needs to Offer Online Giving | npENGAGE

3 Reasons Your Church Needs to Offer Online Giving

By on Dec 4, 2018

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We live in a world where a lot of old ways of doing things have changed or are moving to new methods that are faster, easier and safer. When’s the last time you made a trip to the post office or video rental store? I couldn’t tell you the last time I wrote a check. Landline phones are a thing of the past with everyone carrying around hand-held technology that used to fill entire rooms and send rockets to the moon. But all these technology changes didn’t happen overnight, and they don’t get 100% acceptance without a lot of learning and comfort building. They finally take hold when the realization settles in that they really are better.

Churches are no different; historically they have been the institutions slowest to embrace changes in technology. This is partially due to budget constraints and the difficulty of replacing aging equipment or processes. However, it’s more often attributed to entrenchment in traditional ways of doing things – you know the old phrase, “We’ve always done it that way?” Church leaders must work hard to balance their commitment to communicating their long-held theological beliefs alongside their recognition of new, more effective methods of running the ministry on a day to day basis. That is increasingly true of business operational aspects as well, like providing various channels for giving.

Church leaders are recognizing that their attendees live in a world where nearly everything they might want to purchase or do can be easily and quickly transacted on their computer or smart device. Churches that offer options like online giving make it simpler and more routine to give. They also demonstrate their understanding of how their congregants manage other parts of their lives, which helps promote consistency and generosity in giving itself.

 

Online giving benefits for your church:

  1. Universal acceptance – The last bank check many of your congregants may have written could have been to your church. Outside of the church, congregants have largely accepted and adopted a mostly online way of living much of their life. Paying bills, banking, job hunting, shopping, vacation planning/reservations, giving to charities, managing healthcare/prescriptions – all are easy and secure to do online, and pretty much the way we all manage our personal business these days. This is a growing reality with seniors as well, as they continue to increase internet use and smartphone ownership with each passing year.
  2. Stability – Would your church’s financial overseers like to see more steady and predictable church income? Or reduce mid-year budget freezes due to revenue dips? Online giving helps with that. Some results you can plan on seeing are:
    • On target cash flow projections
    • Reduction of giving slumps during vacation seasons
    • Easier budget planning
  3. Security – Reducing the need to hand process checks or count cash will not only provide more accuracy and speed in that process, it will also increase the credibility of the ministry’s handling of congregants’ contributions. Imagine the relief of those who bear the responsibility of counting the church offering every week, or those who collect payments for events and fundraisers!

Let’s face it – our world is geared around making things convenient and much of that is done through online, automated processes. Providing a safe and effective way for your congregants to schedule their giving at any time, and with any frequency that works best for them, opens the door to grow their giving and your church’s income. Maybe it’s time for your leadership team to have an honest discussion about the barriers and values associated with providing online giving for your congregation.

Learn more about best practices in church giving by visiting the Blackbaud Faith Solutions content hub or emailing FaithCustomerSuccess@blackbaud.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tim Vire has worked in the social good community at Blackbaud for the past 11 years. In his current role as a customer success manager, his focus is partnering with faith-focused organizations to successfully further their missions and drive strategic outcomes. Prior to joining Blackbaud, he spent twenty years serving as a youth pastor at churches in Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Indiana.

Comments (31)

  • Karen Stuhlfeier says:

    Interesting article. I know that the Churches I’ve attended seem to be in the dark ages when it comes to technology.

  • Sunshine Watson says:

    This is so true and makes me appreciate that the church I give to has an updated online system.

  • Linda McMillan says:

    My church has been offering this for several years…and each year more people take advantage of it.

  • Claudia says:

    I’m starting to see more churches offering this option, which is great.

  • Daniel Yu says:

    good points..

  • Karen says:

    Nice article. Is there a possibility in the BB faith sector will look at congregations of Sisters or Brothers or Priests?

  • David Lyle says:

    Good article. Something we have struggled with in our church. Some members feel the expenses associated with online giving are too much, but we are beginning to be able to explain the costs a bit better.

  • Linda Mikelson says:

    Interesting.

  • L Roberson says:

    Our church offers online options and text to give. This allows recurring gifts as well without having to break out the checkbook. I believe more churches will add online options in the future as more people rely strictly on electronic transactions.

  • Heather says:

    I didn’t know this was even an issue… great read!

  • Alicia Barevich says:

    So true! It’s amazing how it seems to still just be pass the basket at most churches.

  • Andy Schroeder says:

    Thanks for sharing!

  • John Mercer says:

    It would be interesting to track in person vs. online giving and see if the offering increasing over the course of the year. I think it’s a great idea to offer online giving.

  • Karina says:

    Great article. I know I would be giving more to my church if they went electronic.

  • Jenn says:

    I have thought this for so long. Our church doesn’t want to take on having to create a website for donations and manage it. I agree with the article!

  • Amy Dana says:

    I personally struggle with this because putting cash in the basket is a good way (for me, anyway) to model giving for my kiddo. But online would be WAAY easier, especially since I rarely have cash on me.

  • Shelly Gammieri says:

    Interesting observation, but I don’t know… maybe it’s because I’m in a thriving, bible-belt metropolis, but the churches here are often pushing the needle forward on fundraising any way they can. Would love to see some real data here to know for sure.

  • Susan Chomsky says:

    My synagogue has a robust online tribute program. Making giving easy and seamless is the key.

  • Donna Clute says:

    Meeting people where they are is very important. However, making sure that the church does not take away other options is equally important.

  • Sage says:

    Accuracy and speed is essential most certainly during calendar year end. Thanks for pushing the concept of meeting people where they’re at!

  • Twila Moore says:

    Yes! My church recently started online and text to give options. 🙂

  • Carlene says:

    Can’t agree more that this needs to be available within faith communities!

  • Barb says:

    This will become critical as more and more congregants are of generations that never knew life without technology.

  • Angie Stumpo says:

    Great tips!

  • Gillian Armstrong says:

    I had never thought of this!

  • MJK says:

    This is a great idea.

  • Barb says:

    Oh so true!

  • Sarah says:

    Lots of things I had never even considered, thanks for posting!

  • Cherry R. Fiske says:

    Thanks. My church has online giving and I don’t know how we would work without it. I never have cash on me and forget carrying a checkbook. I just let it happen. Its great!!

  • MK says:

    Great idea. Earlier this year my church showed a video appeal for the first time ever. If they could have directed us to a website to give, I’m sure they could have increased their results.

  • Joan Perry says:

    So true. We support our church through online giving. However, not all the churches in our Diocese offer this for many of reasons mentioned. Even those that do, don’t promote the option enough. Looking forward to sharing this article!

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