Churches around the world lose more money to fraud, theft, and embezzlement than they give to missions. And you can bet that every single one of those churches thought it would never happen to them.
When your congregation generously entrusts you with the money God has given them, they’re expecting you to steward those resources carefully. It’s your responsibility to protect those resources and ensure they get used where they’re needed most.
That’s why most churches today already use some or all of these security measures:
Security cameras in the counting room
Multiple people counting the offering
Background checks on money handlers
But even when churches take steps like these, their money is vulnerable. There are still too many opportunities for fraud and theft to happen.
Here’s why digital giving is more secure.
1. Money doesn’t physically change hands
It’s easy to think that because the offering plate is passed so publicly, there’s no opportunity for theft to occur. Unfortunately, that’s simply not the case. You have cash sitting in the open, and the possibility that at any moment everyone will bow their heads and close their eyes. And you don’t have to look hard to find examples of ushers or other church members pocketing the offering.
With digital giving, the transaction happens without money physically being in the church. Nobody has to touch it. It’s not sitting out in the open, potentially tempting someone to steal.
2. Nobody can miscount it or misplace it
Sometimes a church’s money issues are simply the result of human error, not outright sin. People are fallible, and it’s all too easy to miscount your church’s money or simply lose it somewhere on the way from your congregation to the bank. When your congregation gives digitally, they set the amount they want to give, and that amount goes straight to you, automatically counted.
Which brings us to the next point.
3. No one has to physically take money to the bank
At some point, someone in your church has to go to the bank with a bag full of cash and checks. This is another prime opportunity for something to go wrong. Imagine if after you’ve counted every penny your congregation gave, someone stole it all in one go? Even if your staff takes every possible precaution, they are transporting a lot of money, and that always comes with risk.
Digital giving means you don’t have to worry about this weekly hurdle, either. Money goes directly from your church members’ accounts to yours. (And that means it’ll probably get there faster, too.)
4. Every time someone gives, they get a receipt
Most digital giving platforms automatically generate a receipt and immediately send it to the giver. Why is this important? Not only does it make the transaction feel more legitimate, but it ensures that no one accidentally gives more than they intended to.
When someone hands you their bank account or card information in an envelope, the last thing you want to do is accidentally drain their account. And with handwriting (and dozens or hundreds of transactions), it’s all too easy to put a decimal in the wrong place or misread a number.
5. Digital giving platforms have to be PCI compliant
One of the main things people fear with digital giving is that it makes them vulnerable to cyber fraud. But the reality is that with legitimate platforms, you’re a lot less likely to experience digital theft than physical theft.
The organizations that facilitate digital giving are at least as worried about cybersecurity as you are. In order to do what they do, they have to comply with the Payment Credit Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS), which regulates all organizations that accept payments via credit or debit card.
These organizations have as much to lose as you do. Their whole business model is built on the security of their platform. If their clients lose money through electronic fraud or theft, their whole business falls apart. In fact, many giving platforms use enterprise-grade encryption and pay people to try and hack their systems—so that they can discover any exploitable weaknesses.
Keep your church’s money secure
Your congregation trusts you to keep their money safe. Physical giving is still the norm for many churches, and that’s why fraud continues to cost churches more money every year. There are simply too many opportunities for mistakes or mischief to occur.
But making the switch to digital giving isn’t easy, either. It takes a dedicated, intentional effort to change the way your congregation thinks about the offering. Whether you already have digital giving options or you’re looking to get started, our free ebook will help you make a smooth transition.