By Doug Braun
Just as our churches’ mission is more than simply soliciting donations and spending the funds collected, digital giving kiosks can play an important role beyond the monetary.
We’re called to be good stewards of our congregations’ resources. As such, we should explore the fullest use of the technologies in which we’ve invested. In the case of digital giving kiosks, that means investigating how they can be used to expand the connectedness of our congregations and proclaim our mission and message to everybody who comes in contact with them.
To this end, let’s look at what can be done with a smart giving kiosk, beyond donations.
Visual impact and storytelling
There’s a great deal of truth in the adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Depending on your digital giving kiosk’s capabilities, you might be able to present vivid visual presentations on its screen — of your church family, recent events, or even the church’s history. This makes the kiosk a spot members visit to view a video of the church picnic, pictures of your newest members, or a multimedia presentation about the upcoming capital campaign (and the new building it will fund). For example, our iGIVE™ kiosk lets churches remotely create, upload and schedule all kinds of visual content as the default on-screen presentation using a simple, web-based interface.
Website access and media menus
Your church website is a valuable point of entry to the life of your church. Most likely, your congregation has made a significant investment in creating a highly informative, engaging and interactive online home. For many members and visitors, a church’s website is the go-to resource for information on a church’s schedules, events, groups and services.
However, this invaluable asset isn’t always readily available at church — where members and visitors might browse the information it contains or reference items mentioned during services, activities or meetings.
As such, many of our clients have made their websites the first thing users see when they approach the digital giving kiosk. Not only does it build awareness of the church website, but it also provides anytime access to the information it contains.
Alternately, some digital giving kiosks enable the display of on-screen menus of selectable content. Ideally, a wide spectrum of content types should be made available — videos, PowerPoint presentations, PDFs and other printable items. By attaching a printer or enabling one wirelessly, churches can make applications, fliers, meeting minutes, pledge cards and other materials available on-demand.
Registration and purchasing
Because of their ability to accept payment and record user information, digital giving kiosks might also be able to perform additional tasks, including event registration and ticket and study materials purchases. Incorporating such functions makes registration and purchasing easier for members, and also improves record-keeping by digitally capturing participation and purchase information. Some digital giving kiosks even let users receive printed or e-mailed receipts.
And here’s where we come full circle. While all these functionalities are wonderful, perhaps the greatest benefit to increasing visibility of and interaction with your church’s digital giving kiosk is the obvious: increased opportunity for giving.
Doug Braun is senior vice president at Clarence, NY-based inLighten, a provider of digital media solutions — including giving kiosks — for the church market.