There’s no question that online giving has made tremendous strides with churches in the past half-decade. Unfortunately, as one recent study reveals, churches still lag far behind other nonprofits when it comes to the adoption of this important technology. Currently, only 42% of churches offer online giving. Compare this with the roughly 70% of non-church nonprofits who offer an online option and you’ll see that we still have a ways to go.
After a few years working for a church giving provider, I’ve grown familiar with many of the reasons offered by “the other 58%” for why their church doesn’t need online giving at the moment.
Cost is a big concern for many churches. Demographics is another one that comes up often. (i.e. “We’re an older congregation. No one will use it.”) Some pastors are worried about complicating the administrative process. Still others are concerned about the controversial—potentially unbiblical—nature of these new giving tools. “Ruffled feathers” and “rocked boats” are mentioned frequently.
Valid or not, reasonable or not, underlying each of these objections is the same comment: “I don’t believe it.” The pastor or leader simply does not believe that the claims about online giving are true. And without that conviction, the conversation will never move past “maybe some day.”
Perhaps this is the position you find yourself in at your church. Maybe you’re already sold on the value of online giving but you’re up against a leadership team, Elder board or Deacon committee who is unconvinced. Or, maybe you’re on the fence about online giving and are looking for something to push you to one side or the other.
Well, consider this article just the “nudge” you needed.
Because if you (or your leadership team) are not convinced that digital giving is a good and necessary tool, then your congregation won’t be convinced of it either. Even if you’re going through the motions of introducing some new giving options. If you don’t believe in them, your givers won’t believe in them either.
A Case for Online Giving
So let’s talk about it.
Let’s acknowledge the reality that digital giving is continually linked to increases in overall giving. These increases can be as high as 20%. Or more! (Think about that. What added impact could your church have if you were getting an additional week’s worth of giving every month?)
Let’s marvel at the fact that, on average, 25% of online givers are first time givers!
I’m not unrealistic. I know that certain situations and seasons will arise where conversations around digital giving need to be tabled. But let me be direct:
Unless your church is currently transitioning between pastors, remodeling your sanctuary, splitting with your denomination, or enduring some other season of upheaval, you should be actively seeking to find the right digital giving solution for your church.
If the comments and statistics above still haven’t convinced you of that fact, let me offer one more study. In 2012 The Rocket Group, a church stewardship consultancy, surveyed 1,078 churches with questions about their finances. This survey found that 14% of churches were exceeding their annual budget for tithes and offerings.
The Rocket Group then analyzed these high-performing churches to identify the factors contributing to their financial success. They identified 5 key “giving practices” that these financially secure churches share. Number one and number two are below.
- The ability to accept automatic, recurring donations.
- Offer some kind of online giving.
Maybe your church teaches about financial stewardship a couple times a year. Maybe you include regular financial updates in your bulletin. Maybe someone on staff delivers a moving exhortation to give before the offering each week. All of those things are great. But if you church doesn’t offer online giving, you’re missing out on the two biggest things you can be doing to improve the financial health of your ministry.
Which begs one final question:
If now’s not the time for digital giving, when is?
(Final Note: Not sure where to start with your online giving research? I’d encourage you to checkout Mogiv. Mogiv’s simple and secure online giving form allows your attendees to create one-time and scheduled gifts right from your church’s website! Not only that, Mogiv also offers the flexibility of an integrated text giving solution – allowing your members to respond in generosity anytime, anywhere, and in any amount! And best of all? Mogiv does not require ANY startup fees, subscription fees, or contracts. All you pay is a small processing fee. GO HERE to learn more!)