By Richard Bauer
Dropping cash or checks into a collection plate at church is a giving tradition, but digital giving options have fast become the alternative for most churchgoers. Bringing new giving technologies into your church can be exciting and can help improve how you serve your members and the missions you are passionate about.
But, moving forward from comfortable norms to unknown giving options can also be intimidating.
We get it. Having worked with more than 20,000 churches over 20 years, we’ve designed eGiving solutions that are simple to understand and easy for any church to adopt.
Our research shows that 62 percent of churchgoers of all ages prefer to give electronically. And the State of the Plate Research verifies that only 14 percent of churches find envelopes in the pews useful anymore. By blending digital options into your giving program, you enable church supporters to make donations through the methods they are most comfortable with, and prefer.
Making eGiving a successful part of your church community’s donation habits is easy, fast and uncomplicated. Churchgoers are already using digital options in their everyday lives to pay for gas at the pump by swiping a card, or by clicking into a mobile app to pay for their coffee.
Digital giving is just as easy. In addition, your overall donations can increase by more than 25 percent when you offer a combination of digital options, such as online giving through a home computer, text giving through a cell phone, and giving kiosks where donors can slide their debit or credit cards. Not only will your church reap amazing benefits by using digital giving solutions, you’ll also maximize your donation potential while spending less time managing your giving processes.
Churches that are already using digital or eGiving solutions are some of the biggest advocates of these products. They have seen that the benefits of adding different types of giving technologies far outweigh any assumed challenges. Consider these experiences from our church clients:
“Gifts from using the text-giving option now account for 20 percent of total giving to St. James — money that the church wouldn’t be getting otherwise.”
— William E. Hall, Pastor, St. James Community
“Digital giving choices result in less work for you and more options for
— Lukas Iwanski, Director of Finance and Personnel,
St. Jude Catholic Church
“People are excited to have an e-giving option. We’re at 60 percent to 70 percent of our new parishioners signing on for e-giving instead of envelopes. And e-giving accounts for about 30 percent of total donations.”
— Stephanie Nolet, Pastoral Associate for Administration,
St. Mary’s, Crescent
“Giving has gone up amazingly. Some Sundays, ACH giving is higher than our [cash and check] offering.”
— Sara Martin, Church Administrator,
Lexington Park United Methodist Church
“When Faithpoint first offered online giving, about one-quarter of church members took immediate advantage. That number has grown to 70 percent today, and monetary contributions have increased by 20 percent.”
— George Wasson, Senior Pastor and Founder,
Faithpoint United Methodist Church
As technologies outside church communities continue to advance, our team continues to pursue next steps in digital giving for the church communities we serve. We heard that churches needed a flexible solution to collect set-dollar amounts at various events and locations. We answered that need with our newest giving option, GivePlus Sidekick. This giving technology is very similar to the credit / debit card machines vendors use to slide your cards through when you go shopping or out to dinner at a restaurant — but without any of the cords attached.
Sidekick runs on a built-in, secure cell phone connection that can be powered by plugging it into a traditional electrical outlet or a battery pack. With this flexibility, you can pre-program the donation amount and take Sidekick with you to the morning coffee bible study for offerings. Then, you can quickly change the programed dollar amount to reflect the donations for an outside baseball game — and then switch it again to take it to the evening dinner social.
Giving technologies are very effective donation and offering tools that can work in ways you might not expect. We know that when churches offer digital giving products and provide a variety of giving options to their members and guests, it not only alleviates church administrators’ workloads, it also encourages churchgoers to give more, and give more often. Our consultants help church teams determine the best giving options for their churches and will answer any general questions you have about giving technologies.
Richard Bauer is an eGiving Ambassador for Vanco Payment Solutions.