Top Reasons to Accept Online Giving

LifeWay research revealed earlier this year that only 14% of U.S. Protestant churches offer online giving. That means that although 78% of churches have a Website, an even higher number–86%–of churches offer no method for online giving. It’s most commonly offered in larger churches, and usually has only been in place for one to two years.

While there are equally valid points on either side of the argument, it’s quickly becoming the norm rather than the exception for churches to offer online donations and electronic forms of payment.

Here are a few reasons to offer online giving in your church.

1. Make Giving Easy –

Let’s face it. Very few people are writing checks anymore. In fact, I’d contend that most people only write checks when paying their tithe at church. We are steadily heading towards a time where people don’t carry cash and using a debit card is just easier.

2. People Spend Money Online, Why not Give Online?

The boom of ecommerce sites in the late 90s wasn’t a fad. In fact, it was a glimpse of what the future had to hold for us. The days of a brick and morter store surviving on their inventory alone are gone. With the rise of online shopping, the consumer is now in charge. We are able to shop an available inventory of potentially thousands of products.

People are already spending money online, and comfortable with it. Make it easy for them to give to your ministry online.

3. Stay ahead of “slump” times of giving –

It’s a given that churches will go through seasons where giving slows down. This generally is around secular holidays and summer. People are on vacation, out of town or just get busy. Also, there are times throughout the year when weather makes it impossible to get to church. Chances are, there are only a few faithful givers that will make up the gifts they missed because they were unable to attend. Offering online giving options makes that simple.

4. It’s Easy to have the giving conversation –

We all know that money sermons are often ones that make us uncomfortable. Most pastors will avoid them, and even when they do approach the topic, they tread lightly. Online giving options make those talks non-confrontational. Write an article about the reasons to give, engage people online, send an email reminder or newsletter. Oh by the way, remember to include the link to your online giving link in that conversation. It’ll be a good ice-breaker.

5. Stamps are expensive –

Who knows how long the USPS will stay in business. With the cost of stamps going up, people are looking for alternatives to send documents and such. Can your out of town members, visitors, family members easily give to your ministry? Don’t you think they’d rather hop online and make an electronic gift instead of using a stamp?

6. It’s easier on your financial team –

Volunteers are great. Having a team available to count donations from your service is great. However, anytime people are involved, mistakes can be made. Counting cash, recording checks, counting envelopes, there are any number of ways that someone could make an error. Not to mention the threat of stealing.

7. It’s a hedge against embezzlement –

I know, I know, your church is immune. No one would steal from you, you have complete trust in your team. That’s the same thing most people said before they were the next victim in a long list. A transaction directly from the givers account into the churches account is the safest transaction that can happen to receive money. Now, use a good system to manage that money to keep it safe under your control.

8. You’re limiting the amount people will give –

This one is a small stretch, but studies have found that people will tend to give more when doing so electronically. Offering the ability to give online adds another option for giving and may increase the amount you will receive.

If you’d like to know more about how your church can get started offering online giving, we have tools to get you setup. It’s really simple and easy. Contact Us Here to find out more.

Preparing for the Summer Cash Flow Lull

Let’s face it, summer is a tough time to do church.

Historically, summer brings a lull in cash flow for churches. Children and Youth programs are in full daily swing as VBS, Camps and Trips send your staff and kids into a frenzy of action. With that also comes a cash outflow that you need to manage well.

Outside of your church events, summer is time for families to travel, vacation and spend time doing things that take them away from the regular schedule of your ministry. Let’s just call it what it is, when people don’t attend, they generally don’t give.

I realize that is a broad generalization and there are faithful saints that give to your ministry regularly without fail, right?

Here are some ideas for you to consider to manage cash flow during the summer giving lull.

1. Offer Online Giving –
If you are not offering an opportunity for your congregation to give electronically, you are missing a huge opportunity. I put this at number 1 because it really transcends a summer issue, and really is an issue you should consider regardless of the time of year. Here in the midwest, we had 2 major snowstorms that happened to hit on Sunday mornings. Most churches cancelled services on those Sundays and from the giving records we manage, most experienced a low week in giving. Some things to consider with online giving:
– Can you setup ACH recurring payments?
– Can you setup multiple giving income accounts?
– Can you see Cash flow forecasts?

we have a solution and company that we’ve partnered with that offers the best bang for your buck that we’ve found.

2. Communication is Key!
During the summer when schedules are crazy, consider several modes of communication. Because your attendance will be intermittent, consider alternative means of getting information out about your church.
– This is a great time to start a WEEKLY newsletter. Keep people in the loop about what’s happening at the church so they can stay connected while they may be out of town. I’m reminded of an old marketing tactic about keeping yourself Top of Mind…

– Consider adding a short video to email, social media or blog post on your website. You’ll be surprised at how many people will take a few minutes to watch a short video message about what’s happening at their church. Webcams and online tools make this simple and almost free.

– Prepare this communication. Let people know what they can expect from the summer before hand, keep them connected while is happening, then recap as thing are winding down back into the fall.

3. Develop Spending Habits to Match Summer Giving.
This takes a bit more time investment and planning but you will see huge benefits in taking the time to set things up. Take a look at your budget and see what expenses can be lowered, delayed or eliminated during the summer. Budget for your larger expenses in the fall or spring. Watch your expenses every 30 days throughout the summer and make adjustments as needed.

4. Encourage and Be Open about Giving Needs
We all know that giving talks are one of those uncomfortable discussions we all need to overcome. Make it a priority to change the giving culture of your church by being open about what the Bible says about giving. Take it a step further, lets add some practical stories and tid-bits to your messages about giving. Share practically what tangibly has happened for your church because people gave. Share about transformed lives that were made possible because the church had the resources to reach out. Put these stories into short video clips with the people involved sharing from their perspective. You’ll be shocked at the results.

5. Finally, Don’t let the summer slump be a mentality
I’ll admit, its even hard for me to maintain energy through the summer. We know that summer will be a down time in giving, but let’s reframe the conversation and commit summer to be a great time for giving. Keep the mission and vision re-inforced through your communications and let people know its the perfect time for creative and strategic outreach opportunities.

Take a few steps to make this summer the catalyst that kicks off your fall ministry schedules. Start planning now, so summer ministries are successful.

If you’d like help in budgeting or planning your summer finances, get in touch and we’ll help out!

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It’s time to change the way we talk about giving in church!