By Rachel McCall
Cash and checks are quickly becoming a thing of the past as younger generations push to use debit and credit cards — a result of more online and mobile interactions. It’s no wonder, then, that more and more churches are contemplating online giving.
Recently, NonProfit Times reported that churches and faith-based groups experienced an increase of more than 16 percent in online giving last year. And, that figure continues to rise.
While the topic of whether or not to embrace online giving can be an uncomfortable one, it can (and should) be an essential piece of your ministry outreach today. Here’s why.
1) Online giving works around any schedule. Fifty years ago, church attendance was much more consistent. David Olson, author of The American Church in Crisis study, estimates that less than 18 percent of members now attend church regularly. This is partly because families are more mobile than ever — for work, recreation or kids’ activities.
Given a lack of consistent attendance, having an online giving system is critical. Offering your donors giving options online gives them the flexibility they need while still allowing them to give. Recurring donation capabilities, credit and debit card choices and electronic check capabilities meet donors where they’re at, individually, and gives them options they want to use.
2) Technology has changed the game. Technology has changed people’s behaviors — even the ways they worship and receive the Word. Members no longer have to physically attend to engage in a worship service; with widespread live-streaming, many now choose to worship from the comfort of their own homes, at coffee shops or even on the road.
The same thing is true of electronic payments. From tithing, to paying bills, to buying movie tickets, technology has given us the freedom to pay for anything online with a few clicks of a button. Having a user-friendly online giving system works the same way, and it’s simply an extension of what donors are already doing online. If you haven’t made it easy for donors to give to your organization online, you run the risk of losing them to others who have.
3) Electronic giving gets results. Providing a custom-designed, easy-to-use experience and flexible giving options will drive generosity in ways you never expected. An online giving page allows anyone who has access to your website the opportunity to give on the spot, without having to write and mail a check. Donors across the country — or even across the world — who don’t attend your church might be motivated to give electronically. Let them!
Additionally, our research shows online donors are more generous, with average online donations coming in at $120 compared to $80 offline.
And the results aren’t just on the donor side: Church staff will experience a reduction in personal time it takes to make trips to the bank, manually enter donor data into a management system, and reconcile transactions. Automated functionality easily ties transactions to bank deposits and donor information, making reconciliation and reporting a breeze.
A win-win proposition
We’re passionate about online giving because we see the results a quality giving solution can bring to churches every day. It provides a built-in channel to better tell a church’s story, mission and how it’s impacting lives in a way that’s inspiring.
Communicate with your donors about online giving. They’ll soon see how their generosity is moving to grow the Kingdom, and be left striving to do more.
Rachel McCall is Marketing & Communications Specialist at MinistryLINQ, a Division of The CashLINQ Group, in Spokane, WA.