As online banking grows ever more common, implementing an electronic giving system for your church can help increase generosity by making it easy for people to give.
Consider the following:
- 80% of U.S. households utilize direct deposits, online banking, and or online transactions
- 54% of smart phone users are active mobile bankers
- Millions of dollars are now being donated through onsite giving kiosks
- Online donors are more generous than offline
- The average age of online donors is around 40, much younger than offline donors
If you are thinking of putting electronic giving into place at your church, here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
What are the capabilities and limitations of online giving?
Online giving represents an additional way people can partner with your ministry, but surprisingly only 14% of U.S. Protestant churches offer it. With online giving, you can engage a broader audience than what you may be used to on a typical Sunday morning. In addition, it can give you actionable information about people who might have previously been anyonymous cash-only givers—information you can use to deepen your relationship with these ministry partners. Keep in mind, however, that online giving cannot replace a face-to-face relationship with your church or organization, and it cannot be a substitute for discipling people to become more like Christ in their attitude of generosity.
How can online giving save time for church staff and volunteers?
The primary goal of electronic giving is to expand the kingdom of God, not to necessarily add convenience, but that is a great byproduct. While people can still give offerings onsite as a part of worship, an electronic giving system can allow them to automate their recurring tithe, missions, and other giving. This can shorten the time spent by staff and volunteers counting and depositing funds manually. Good electronic giving software can also automate some accounting processes. For instance, some service providers offer systems that allow funds to be directly deposited into church bank accounts, making funds available quickly.
What factors should we consider when choosing an online giving service provider?
Consider what types of electronic giving you want to offer and giving methods you want to deploy such as text giving, kiosks, website, social networking integration, and updated offering envelopes that point people to the electronic system. Then consider what service provider best fits your needs and is compatible with your current accounting and management systems. In addition, look for a solution that fits your church’s culture.
Can't we just add a PayPal option to our website?
PayPal can be a good first step, but the best options will add value for people and the church and can be customized to look like your church’s website. In addition, good electronic giving software systems offer the capability for both one-time and recurring transactions. There are many service providers with a ministry mindset who offer solutions with features and options that can benefit your church now and down the road. Alternatively, you may give people the option to choose between using PayPal and the church’s chosen service provider.
Who are some of the electronic giving service providers?
To become familiar with the many options available to your church, check out the service provider links below. Please note, this list is for your own information and does not reflect an endorsement by AGFinancial.
Text giving providers:
What else should I consider in this process?
How you implement and communicate regarding electronic giving will play a major role in its effectiveness. Consider getting an outside perspective or a coach to help you develop an e-giving strategy.
Make sure you develop your plan for electronic giving within a larger context of a biblically based culture of generosity. The goal is to develop faithful stewards and to maximize the impact of your church.