Online Giving [Infographic]


Giving is an important part of the Christian faith for both the Church, as it relies on those funds to operate as well as impact the local and global community with the love of Christ, as well as for individuals in sacrificing a little bit of themselves, centering their hearts on God and truly relying on Him in everything they do including their time and finances.

But are we missing out with only passing the offering plate and not providing for online giving?

Here are three key points from the infographic below:

  • Outside of the church, Americans are writing less checks and paying bills online more.
  • With online giving, you can reach this generation of checkless and paperless people as well as set up automatic, recurring donations.
  • Only 14% of Protestant churches in the U.S. offer online giving, but churches with online giving actually earn more money.


[HT | Image via]

How do you do giving at your church and what are your thoughts on online giving?


Jeremy Smith

Jeremy Smith is a Christian first, husband and father next, and then a blogger, writer, and social media realist. Besides helping churches Level Up their digital marketing platforms and church tech ministries through the blog and direct consultations, he loves to spend time with his family and serving in the church with infant daycare and marital and pre-marital counseling. He is currently an outpatient clinician at a Colorado Community Behavioral Health Center and previously worked at Youth for Christ/USA as the Social Media Specialist as well as a Youth Ministry Director over the span of more than ten years. He has received his Masters of Arts in Mental Health Counseling from Denver Seminary, Masters of Arts in Family Ministry from Winebrenner Theological Seminary, and Bachelors of Science in Computer Engineering from Ohio Northern University.

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  1. says

    I am all for online giving. I pretty much never use a check and almost all of my giving is dones online.

    But I do not think that “churches with online giving actually earn more money” is probably a real fact. The numbers below show that the larger the church, the more likely it is to have online giving. That is for the simple reason that me more people that will use it, the more likely it is that the church will set it up.

    So large churches (the ones that have more money) are the most likely to set up online giving because they have enough people willing to give online that it is worth the effort. There is some cost to online giving in time, effort (and maybe processing fees). So it may not be worth it for all churches.

    • says

      Actually, another study, somewhere on Churchmag that I wrote before stated that churches who implemented online giving actually did receive end-of-year giving was higher than the previous year. While they were still working on why this was, the surveyors believed it was due to two things:

      1. People do not carry cash anymore
      2. People can be consistant by setting up reoccurring monthly or weekly giving and therefore not depended upon being at the church to give.

      • says

        hmm…Maybe it is a real thing. But having more this year than last year is a pretty low bar. Most churches most of the time would have that.

        But I can see those two reasons would be a valid reason why people give more when they have the option to give online.

  2. says

    I realize you got this from elsewhere, but there is very little attempt to think through deeper concerns about online giving. The “reasons your church should not offer online giving” was not an attempt at addressing issues but frankly rude to those that are undecided. I think it is telling that online giving increases with church size. Smaller churches are likely to be living month-to-month and have already invested in technology for an offering collection system: a couple plates or a box in the back. The median church size in the US is 75 people (according to this, so we can infer that there’s a huge number of small churches in this country for which online giving is not an option.

    More importantly than asking “are we missing out” is what are the theological implications of removing the tithes and offerings from the worship service? I can imagine having a card reader attached to the collection plate that is passed so you can hand in physical cash or check or swipe your card – maybe someone is doing that already. But for many traditions this is a component of the worship service – collectively giving offerings of our income to God – and online giving essentially removes it. What about removing the visual aspect of giving

    There are some great reasons given here to offer this service and it should be considered, but this is not a comprehensive look at the issues involved.

    • says


      While I understand that there are deeper theological issues that could come with online giving, that wasn’t the intent of this article. I only wished to highlight the data on this infographic. At the same time, I think that you are over analyzing this WAY too much. I never once said that online giving should replace traditional ways. In fact, to do so will probably completely eliminate ways for congregation members to be able to give to their church. Thus, your argument above is void.

  3. says

    I used intemperate language and directed my frustration at this infograph at you. I must apologize and ask your forgiveness.

    I see your point that you’re referring to adding it as an option and not as a replacement. Again, I must apologize – this time for not reading carefully – and ask your forgiveness.

    However, my frustration with the graphic comes from a lack of attempt to see any downsides, and that’s what I’m trying to bring to the conversation. I’m sure there are churches and denominations out there that believe offerings are only given during worship, connecting it with the old testament offerings and sacrifices. I’m sure there are churches that can’t invest in the infrastructure even if they wanted to. I wonder about the effect on my children (and myself) if they see very few people give something during the service.

    I agree that there are good reasons to consider it. And some of those problems I brought up can be dealt with and overcome (passing a card swipe equipped offering plate for example). But just adding the option has implications that need to be thought through and weighed.

    • says

      I agree that how we do an offering is important to think about. But I think that the traditional pass the offering plate is also problematic in a lot of ways that we do not think about. For instance there are multiple passages about not being seen giving. Mamonadies suggested that you set up a system where everyone gives and takes so no one can tell whether you took money that you needed or gave money.

      Personally, I think while giving is an important part Christian devotion, I am less convinced that it should be a part of a regular worship service and online giving (that you do outside of worship) is a good way to accomplish that.

      Ed Stetzer had a discussion about online giving on his blog

      From my (admittedly brief) investigation I think our modern method of ‘passing the plate’ during worship started in the 18th century. There has always been giving to the church and to the poor. But that has not always been during worship.

      • Lee Nickles says

        I agree with you – there are many ways to abuse what we do now. I won’t claim to know how recent current practice is but suspect you’re right that it is recent in the church as a whole. When something like online giving becomes a possibility, we should take the opportunity to think about current practice and see the good and bad of that as well.


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