Technology is changing the way human interact with each other on a social level and on a consumer based level. This has a deep impact on the Church since it is in essence, a social commerce type of business. If technology is impacting the daily lives of the visitors, it is also having an impact on the Church that are not completely noticeable on the surface.
More and more people are ditching checks and credit cards. Along with that, fewer people than ever are carrying cash, and those that are generally carry less than $20 on their person. When it comes time for tithes and offerings, the Church is still only offering giving methods of the past, while the consumer has less interaction with those giving methods.
The Problem of Today’s World
Let’s put it into perspective. As the offering plate is being passed around, the only way for a person to give is via cash or check. A growing percentage of the population only writes 1 check per month or less and the average person in the congregation has $20 or less in their pocket. The impact to the Church is, fewer people are giving and when they are it is a lower amount of charity.
As a church you have likely noticed this decline in both giving and the amount that is being given. In fact, you may have taken it personal. The fact is, it is not a reflection on your church, it is merely a disconnect between the way people WANT to give and they means of giving offered to them.
How do you fix this issue? To understand the fix, it is important to understand the problem. The reason people aren’t using checks and cash is because we live in a digital age. People use credit cards, online banking and online payment options like Paypal.
As commerce moves to a digitalized World, so does the means of payment. This means the Church needs to start offering digital based giving options.
Even in the most traditional churches, some aspects are already modernized through technology. It might simply be the accounting software. Why not take advantage of the technology to not only increase tithes and offerings, but also make it easier to give?
Technology Inspires Giving
As proof, a digital giving software company by the name of SecureGive did a survey of churches that placed ipad giving kiosks in guest services. According to the churches that had implemented this technology, 20% saw an increase in giving, with the average tithe and offering being $175.
The real essence of the survey came down to the number of first time givers. 27% of the offerings came from first time tithers. This is a big deal for a couple of reasons. First, it shows us that people want to give, they just cant with the payment methods they have on hand. The other takeaway is that people enjoy giving when they can give with no pressure.
This is the most difficult aspect for many churches. We think it takes a devotional to get people motivated to give. That is a false assumption. People need to be able to express their worship of giving in their own way.
You see, these iPad kiosks are usually setup in the foyer/guest services area of the church. People walk by them before, after and sometimes during a service. They can simply interact with the church through the iPad, input their giving information and be on their way.
The barrier of entry to a modernized giving system has never been lower. It is time we as churches began stepping outside the box and offering our visitors and members easier methods of giving; methods that line up with their ability to give. It is only a matter of time before we are forced into this. Don’t wait till your tithes and offerings drop off completely.