People are already abandoning cash and checks in favor of debit and credit cards. And, the tools they’re using now could be obsolete in 10 years. So, choosing a ChMS that stays current with giving technology is crucial.
By Mark Kitts
Churches that employ alternative giving methods collect more contributions more consistently than those limited to traditional giving only.
Many church leaders don’t realize the great impact that technology can have on giving; if they did, they’d be more intentional about pursuing options for their church community.
Because people want to give, but the process has to be frictionless.
Online — Through their ChMS, churches should at least provide the capability to make contributions through the convenience of an online portal via ACH, debit card or credit card.
Mobile — Incorporating mobile giving tools isn’t just about reaching the younger generation anymore. More than half of American adults now own smartphones, and they expect the church to keep up.
Many churches have already found the value in a mobile app that allows their people to access a directory, register for events and catch up on the latest sermon series. But it’s also a great tool for giving. Churches can simplify giving and allow people to access their giving history anytime, anywhere through a mobile app integrated with their ChMS.
For guests and those who don’t want to install an app or create an account, text to give is simple, quick and convenient. After setting up initial payment information in under a minute, people can give with a simple text message in a matter of seconds.
Kiosks — Because giving is an act of worship, some churches want to keep it within the service. So, they station touchscreen kiosks in the auditorium as a replacement for passing the plate. People can quickly swipe a card to donate, and others will see that giving is active in the church.
Online, mobile and kiosk giving can all address a different crowd. Each church community is unique, but providing options that are integrated with the ChMS will boost donations and simplify contribution management.
Underused ChMS giving functionalities
Churches often see a dip in giving during the summer months — but, they can maintain consistency in contributions year-round with recurring giving. Online giving allows people to schedule contributions, providing convenience for the donor and steady contributions for the church.
Having separate accounts for the general fund, mission fund and building fund can cause confusion for donors and extra work for the church. But, allowing people to quickly give from a kiosk or to text in a donation to the fund of their choosing will decrease the reconciliation workload for church staff.
Ensuring all these tools are optimized won’t happen organically; churches need to realize that making this change is worth the time investment. For giving technology to have an impact, senior leadership has to commit to changing the system and regularly promoting these tools.
Churches will see the best results if the pastor demonstrates on Sunday morning — text in a contribution or give within the mobile app from the pulpit. It only takes seconds to make a difference.
They can include an image on the service loop, instructions in the bulletin, an explanation in the newsletter and details on the website.
Using these giving tools within the ChMS equates to more resources in the church that allow them to grow more disciples.
Mark Kitts is Lead Software Architect at Elexio Church Software and lives in North Carolina.