No matter what size of a church you are, giving is essential to your mission. It keeps the lights on and for most churches, it is a vital part of worship. But as our culture changes, many churches have been reluctant to change with it.
My experience growing up was to pass the offering plate at church and to donate using cash or check. I remember it coming by and I’d put a bill in that my mother or father would hand me walking in. Before the late 1990’s, people mailed in a check or put cash or checks in the offering plate.
Fast forward to 2017 and giving now takes on a lot of forms. People donate to non-profits and churches through church apps, websites, kiosks, texting, and more. Some church leaders have bristled at the idea of having a kiosk set up in the narthex where people swipe their cards like an ATM (and who can blame them?). Some churches even feel uncomfortable with the thought of people giving through a church website or a church app. But no matter what their feeling, times are changing and there are some trends creeping up that may take your church by surprise in a bad way.
Did you know that many people do not carry cash or check at all anymore? I’m actually one of them and I’m over 40, but if you go a little younger to Millennials born between 1980 and 2000, you’re going to find that the majority do not carry cash or check. They do all of their shopping, donating, and other transactions from their credit cards and phone. What this means is that these church goers have literally no way of participating in giving on a Sunday morning at a church that only passes a plate. Some churches mistakenly assume that Millennials simply do not give to churches which is actually not the truth.
The truth is, Millennials can be very generous to causes they believe in. But how they give is very different than how my generation grew up. For them, church giving takes place online. And before you jump to the conclusion that I’m about to suggest putting a give button on your website, I’m actually not. While a giving button on your website may be used from time to time, trends are even leaving that behind. What is happening in the near future is that most donations to your church will be electronic and most will come from a phone and not a computer and not a hard piece of plastic. In fact, there’s a good chance that 10% of your church would give if only you gave them a new way of giving.
The means of giving is changing and a church that wants to invite these types of people into the worship of giving need only to do three things:
Set up a Merchant Account with a service provider like First American (first-american.net), PayPal (PayPal.com) or Direct Connect (UDCC.com). These groups allow you to take donations via a credit card or ACH payment via your website or app.
Set up your very own church app using SmartChurch (SmartChurch.com). They are the easiest and most affordable (SmartChurch does not charge anything extra for transactions).
Invite your members to give via your church app anytime and anywhere. Your church will no longer be confined to giving only at weekly services.
If you do these things, some new trends should emerge. If you’re a typical church in the USA, you should see net giving increase by 1.5% or greater (depending on how you use your church app). You will also see first-time donations increase, especially among Millennials. Finally, you’ll discover that having technology in your worship service is not nearly as unusual or awkward as you thought it might be.
For all the necessary information about Church App, Church Giving, please visit the official website of smartchurch.com.