By the Subsplash team
The offering plate makes its way down the row, and a church member digs through her purse, trying to find her wallet. And then she remembers: it’s still on the kitchen table, where she left it when she was scrambling to get the kids out the door.
She was so excited about donating to the hurricane relief fundraiser, but her donation will just have to wait until next week.
This woman isn’t alone — you can count on a large part of your community experiencing a similar scenario regularly. While it’s easy to think they’ll remember to give next week or the week after, the truth is, giving via traditional forms of payment — cash and check — is rapidly decreasing.
If your church relies solely on cash and check donations, it might be time to consider digital giving solution.
Checkbooks have bounced
As little as a two decades ago, paper checks were the preferred form of payment for everything from groceries to charitable giving. But they soon went from being the most popular payment method to declining by 50%, and falling far behind other forms of payment like debit / credit cards and ACH.
One reason for this? The greater part of the millennial generation — over half, in fact — has never written a check. Even for generations that still use checkbooks, remembering to write the check ahead of time or bring the checkbook to church adds complexity to the giving process and makes it harder for them to give when they want and how they want.
While checks themselves are a secure way to handle payments, taking a physical offering is not. Transferring the cash and checks from the offering plate or box to the church office, and then to the bank, leaves opportunity for funds to get lost, stolen, dropped or misplaced.
Manual accounting issues
Your volunteer or staff bookkeeping team might be the best around, but manual accounting systems are prone to human error and take your team’s valuable time as they enter each donation into your accounting software or spreadsheets.
Have you thought about online giving?
In the past decade, all forms of digital payments have increased, thanks to
Online giving alone increased almost 8% from the previous year for all types of nonprofits. For religious organizations, nearly 50% of their transactions were made with a debit or credit card.
Even more surprising? Six in 10 (60%) of Americans are willing to use digital giving to make their donations. So, if you aren’t offering online and mobile giving because you don’t think your church will use it, there’s a good chance they actually prefer this method, and you’re definitely missing out on donations.
Use technology to move your community to action
Providing the option to give online removes pressure from your community to carry a checkbook or cash to church with them. Accepting offerings through your church app or website allows for in-the-moment, spontaneous giving, while people are thinking about it. Whether you pass an offering plate in your service or send a push notification reminding your community to give, your people can give instantly and while it’s on their minds.
Simplify your accounting
Online giving also simplifies your accounting. Transactions are automatically recorded, so you have a record of each donation. With online transactions, most of the manual work your bookkeepers do is no longer necessary. The best digital giving providers will offer integrations with popular church management software programs, making bookkeeping a breeze, while also making tracking donor gifts and sending tax receipts at the end of the year much simpler.
Keep your funds secure
Online giving is also more secure than traditional giving methods. Instead of gifts passing through several hands and having to be physically handed to the bookkeeper, funds are automatically transferred from the giver’s account to your church account. When looking for a digital giving provider, make sure to find one that is PCI-certified. This will help ensure all your donor transactions are secure.
Getting the most out of your online giving
Wondering where to start? It’s simpler than you think. Here are some ways to get the most out of your online giving:
• Choose the right online giving partner. Here’s a good resource for questions to ask in the selection process: www.subsplash.com/hiddenfeesexposed
• Create multiple funds for specific needs — like disaster relief, fundraisers, outreach and more.
• Offer the same experience on your website and mobile app
• Use motivating calls-to-action on your giving page — example: “Spreading the gospel starts with you. Donate now.”
• Send push notifications to remind your community about current or upcoming fundraisers.
Based in Seattle, Subsplash [ www.subsplash.com ] is an innovation leader in mobile SaaS, church engagement software and digital giving solutions. As a design-centric company, we are dedicated to creating software experiences that inspire and delight our clients, as well as the people that use our products every day.