Why Your Church Needs to Offer Online Giving
We live in a world where a lot of old ways of doing things have changed or are moving to new methods that are faster, easier and safer. When's the last time you made a trip to the post office or video rental store? I couldn't tell you the last time I wrote a check. Landline phones are a thing of the past with everyone carrying around hand-held technology that used to fill entire rooms and send rockets to the moon. But all these technology changes didn't happen overnight, and they don't get 100% acceptance without a lot of learning and comfort building. They finally take hold when the realization settles in that they really are better.
Churches are no different; historically they have been the institutions slowest to embrace changes in technology. This is partially due to budget constraints and the difficulty of replacing aging equipment or processes. However, it's more often attributed to entrenchment in traditional ways of doing things; you know the old phrase "We've always done it that way". Church leaders must work hard to balance their commitment to communicating their long-held theological beliefs alongside their recognition of new, more effective methods of running the ministry on a day to day basis. That is increasingly true of their business operational aspects as well, like how they provide channels for giving.
Church leaders are recognizing that their attenders live in a world where nearly everything they might want to purchase or do can be easily and quickly transacted on their computer or smart device. Churches who offer options like online giving make it simpler and more routine to give. They also demonstrate their understanding of how their congregants manage other parts of their lives, which helps promote consistency and generosity in giving itself.
Online giving benefits for your church:
Universal acceptance - The last bank check many of your congregants may have written could be to your church. Outside of the church, congregants have largely accepted and adopted a mostly online way of living much of their life. Paying bills, banking, job hunting, shopping, vacation planning/reservations, giving to charities, managing healthcare/prescriptions - all are easy, secure and pretty much the way we all manage our personal business these days. This is a growing reality with seniors as well, as they continue to increase internet use and smartphone ownership in higher numbers with each passing year.
Stability - How would your church's financial overseers like to see more steady and predictable church income? Or reduce mid-year budget freezes due to revenue dips? Online giving helps with that. Some results you can start learning to love:
- On target cash flow projections
- Reduction of giving slumps during vacation seasons
- Easier budget planning
Security - Imagine the relief of those who bear the responsibility of counting the church offering every week, or those who collect payments for events and fundraisers? Reducing the need to hand process checks or count cash will not only provide more accuracy and speed in that process; it will also increase the credibility of the ministry's handling of congregants' contributions.
Let's face it - our world is geared around making things convenient and much of that is done through online, automated processes. Providing a safe and effective way for your congregants to schedule their giving at any time, with any frequency that works best for them, opens the door to grow their giving and your church's income. Maybe it's time for your leadership team to have an honest discussion about the barriers and values associated with providing online giving for your congregation.
If you'd like to learn more about why and how to set up online giving options for your church, please contact us at FaithCustomerSuccess@blackbaud.com. We'll make sure you get the information you need to evaluate the entire process.
About the Author
Tim Vire has worked in the social good community at Blackbaud for the past 11 years. In his current role as a Customer Success Manager, his focus is partnering with faith-focused organizations to successfully further their missions and drive strategic outcomes. Prior to joining Blackbaud, he spent twenty years serving as a Youth Pastor at churches in Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Indiana.