New digital opportunities create a stewardship shift

By Bill Simmons

How one South Carolina church used a strategic plan to make giving easier.

Like many churches, Spring- Well Church, Taylors, SC, has experienced the challenge of winning the unchurched while struggling to reach our financial potential. Since our launch in 1995, many attendees have been inconsistent with their tithes and offerings. This has caused us to be an under-giving church. Our weekly giving has historically been sporadic at best and completely unpredictable.

We came to the conclusion that handing out offering baskets or placing giving boxes in the back of the auditorium was not enough. We needed to provide new ways to give that matched the culture and lifestyle of those in our church.

Affected by technology
The world around us has been changing at lightning speed and our lives are radically affected by technology. Many people under 30 do most of their banking from their mobile device and never carry cash or use a checkbook. I personally never carry cash and use my debit card for almost everything (I’m 45). Money is no longer paper; money is digital.

I use these digital tools in my life every day. Why not make them available in the church? I researched both ministry focused products and tools used in small businesses. At the end of the day, we recognized a unique opportunity to leverage digital giving as a way to engage those in our church to give consistently and faithfully: Online, on-site and on-the go.

  • Online: Give securely from our website
  • On-site: Place kiosks in our lobby for credit/debit card giving
  • On-the-go: Leverage mobile devices to give and interact during service

Since becoming the executive pastor at SpringWell in April 2008, we have shifted the way we communicate about giving and have turned up the volume in training personal financial management from a biblical perspective. Communication and training was certainly needed and has been beneficial. But leveraging digital giving has helped us the most in finding consistency and balance on a weekly and monthly basis.

As I researched options for our church, I quickly became frustrated with the inability to integrate web-based tools with our existing church management software. We were using the online giving tool but they did not offer a kiosk or mobile giving application. These tools were in discussion and development but not available in our time-frame.

At the end of the day, SecureGive was the best choice for SpringWell. It provided us with all three digital platforms that integrated with each other and our accounting software. Prior to May 2011, we averaged just under 20 percent of our weekly giving through our online tool. Since shifting to SecureGive we are averaging just under 40 percent. The combination of online, on-site, and on-the-go has helped us have one of the best summers in years. We are also experiencing a much smaller difference in offerings from week to week. Consistency and faithfulness have simply increased.

Successful campaign
We also partnered with Casey Graham and Giving Rocket when we launched our digital giving emphasis. Casey offers a campaign called Automate the Important. This resource was able to be adapted to SpringWell and we used it to communicate why digital giving was beneficial for both the giver and the church. The success of this campaign was made clear when we ended the summer without a devastatingly low offering week.

Providing digital options to give has helped our church overcome a long history of inconsistent giving. We are very pleased that nearly 40 percent of our weekly giving is digital. Our next goal is 50 percent by the summer of 2012 and by the end of 2013; we want it to be 75 percent. The culture we live in is increasingly digital and our church is prepared to leverage the opportunity in front of us.

Bill Simmons is executive pastor of SpringWell Church, Taylors, SC.


Online giving resources

Giving Rocket:


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