Beyond online giving

digital giving

What executive pastors need to know

By Jayson D. Bradley

You know you need a digital solution for giving at your church. But with all the options out there, online giving is becoming old-hat.

How do you land on the right solution? And once you’ve found it, how will you get your church to actually use it?

We’ve helped many executive pastors navigate these waters. Here are three steps that you can take to get your church to decide on (and actually use) a digital giving solution.

Step 1: Prioritize your online giving options

You need to really consider all your giving options and prioritize them based on their future potential and how they’re being used now.

For instance, consider the cash and checks you take during a church service. There’s a good chance that this makes up the lion’s share of your giving, so you don’t want to discontinue this practice right away. But when you consider that about 50 percent of people carry less than $20 in cash at any given time, and that 38 percent say they never use checks, it might not be wise to make the Sunday offering the center point of your giving.

Get the tool you need to start

If you’re ready to learn more about mobile giving and how to get started, download a free copy of Mobile Giving Done Right.

It will help answer your questions about how to get started, and what common pitfalls to avoid.

Online giving is an important option because it allows people to give from your website. But since more people are using mobile devices to surf the web, your approach to digital giving can’t stop here. (I mean, have you ever tried to fill out an online form from a cell phone?)

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Text-to-give addressed a lot of these issues in recent years, but it really pales in comparison to mobile app-based giving. When you consider that people downloaded 25 billion iOS apps and 50 billion Android apps in 2015, you know that even grandparents are using their phones to get stuff done. The ability for someone to open an app like Pushpay and give in seconds or sign up for recurring giving makes mobile giving a trustworthy priority — one that a good executive pastor should champion.

Additionally, echurch’s Total Engagement Package creates your own church app where people can hear or watch sermons, keep up-to-date, and generally stay more engaged with the life of the church. Since it comes bundled with Pushpay, people feel like they’re giving to your church, and this makes it an even bigger win.

Step 2: Get your leadership on board

One of the problems that executive pastors run into is getting their leadership behind them. It’s not enough to get leadership to sign off on a new online giving option; they have to get behind your rationale for prioritizing it. They need to understand why you’re prioritizing certain giving solutions and deprioritizing others.

Once you have them on board, you can start moving your church toward adopting the solution you’ve chosen. Your whole leadership team needs to be aligned not only on the new tool, but also on the way you will roll it out to your congregation.

This is important because adding a new giving solution without communicating how you’d prefer people to give is a mistake. Instead of making giving easier, it becomes more confusing for your church members. It also puts a strain on your treasurer, who will have to juggle money coming in from multiple sources.

Step 3: Get your church to adopt it

Breaking your church out of its comfort zone isn’t easy. If congregants have been in the church for a while, they’re probably at a point where the offering is seen as an important Christian tradition. You can’t assume that they’re going to immediately rally around a digital giving solution without some effort.

You’ll want to talk about making the change as often as you can, using all the channels you have at your disposal. Talk about it from the pulpit, send emails, and discuss it in Bible studies and small groups. Make it a centerpiece for your membership class.

Start reprioritizing giving. As you talk about giving, you create more opportunities to champion your new giving solution — and to get your people to sign up for recurring giving (which should really be your ultimate goal). You can download a free copy of our ebook, Teaching Your Church to Give [ ], which will give you a lot of tools to make your church more generous — and get its congregants to use your mobile giving solution.

Of course, the right team makes all the difference. That’s why we set up Pushpay churches with a dedicated representative who works closely with you to get your church to use it. And it works: Pushpay generally has an adoption rate that’s 10 times higher than the average church using mobile giving!

Jayson D. Bradley is a writer and pastor in Bellingham, Wash. He’s a regular contributor to Relevant Magazine, and his blog,, has been voted one of the 25 Christian blogs you should be reading.


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