It’s time to make digital giving a priority

by ECCU

Mobile Gift

June 13, 2019

Stop just talking about digital giving.

Now is the time to implement it!

It’s been rightly said that statistics can be used to prove just about anything. But sometimes statistics are simply too compelling to ignore. If concerns about declining revenue have you wondering whether your church should begin (or continue) a conversation about digital giving, here’s some statistical food for thought:

  • 74% of Americans don’t write more than one check a month.
  • 80% carry less than $50 cash.
  • Almost 10% carry no cash at all.

Now if you let these numbers sink in, one big implication is that it’s simply unwise to view passing plates, bags or baskets at weekend services as the best way to encourage generosity in your congregation. Yes, for a very long time, cash and checks were how most people bought things and paid bills and gave money. Not anymore. These statistics reveal what our own behavior as consumers confirms. Thanks to technologies like mobile wallets, online direct debit and peer-to-peer payments, we find it easier, more efficient and less costly to give digitally.

For church leaders like you, this means that providing and promoting digital giving to your people is no longer optional. For most of them, digitally is already the way they expect to spend money. So if you keep expecting them to give by cash or check, you should also expect to see a steady decline in donations.

The good news is that today there are proven ways to not only implement digital giving but also make it the most normal giving channel at your church. The steps you need to take to get started are simple, but strategic:

Get your staff on board. As the key influencers in your congregation, staff and lay leaders are the ones to flip the proverbial switch. So it makes sense to start by showing them why digital giving is the way to go. Many of them probably already know it. So start by calling a meeting where you lay out the reasons the church needs to move in this direction. Coming out of that meeting, you want your leaders to:

  • Philosophically support the shift in priority
  • Be able to kindly respond to negativity with a clear explanation for the changes
  • Learn how to use the digital tool(s) and be willing to train others to use them
  • Prioritize digital giving themselves
  • Creatively come up with ways to transition to digital giving in their own ministries or areas of influence

Pick the right digital tool. Talking about digital giving as an abstract concept won’t get people to use it. People need to know exactly what you want them to do. That means choosing an option that works for your church. You’ll find plenty of options available, and you may even choose to offer several to your people. But one of them needs to be promoted as the preferred giving channel.

Make digital a big deal. A brief shout-out from the platform during announcements isn’t going to get people engaged. You’ll want to set a kick-off weekend where you introduce the new giving paradigm, explain why you’re promoting it and show how it works. Many churches set up stations around the lobby where volunteers can walk people through the process on their own devices. This kind of hands-on training demonstrates how seriously you take this change.

Category: Ministry Matters