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10 Reasons to Implement Online Giving in Your Church


10 Reasons to Implement Online Giving in Your Church

Not too long ago, certain “old-timers” thought it odd, if not borderline sacrilegious for someone to put a check into the offering plate instead of cash. The concept of putting checks instead of cash in the giving baskets was new and the leadership needed to get used to this “emerging trend”. Often times when something new comes up in the church it is treated as suspicious and probably not as good as the old way. The 7 most deadly words concerning church growth are “we’ve never done it that way before”. Today’s emerging trend is online giving!

According to a recent report by the American Bankers Association and Dove Consulting, shoppers in 2005 used cash for 33% of their purchases and checks for only 11% while debit cards accounted for 37% of all transactions. Even more notable is that the trend towards paperless transactions is increasing sharply each year. Cash, and particularly checks, are rapidly dropping in popularity as the preferred medium of exchange, as debit is easier and provides better tracking and security than cash or checks. Some employers are even beginning to pay their employees by reloadable debit cards instead of checks, so the idea of online giving to the church should not stretch the imagination.

Today you can now use a debit card to do about anything... eat out, buy groceries, pay your bills online, shop at a flea market or Bloomingdales, or for a milkshake at McDonalds. Most adults now prefer to use their debit card for purchases, and most are quite comfortable with, and prefer to, pay their bills online. House payments, car payments, insurance, etc., can all be scheduled and paid via the Internet. In fact, it would be hard to find a bank that didn’t offer free Internet checking and online bill paying.

According to a press release from comScore Networks, 53% of online banking customers at the nation's leading banks use online servicing capabilities, such as transferring money, setting up recurring payments, or re-ordering checks. So, while every other aspect of our society has moved to this new way of exchanging money, there seems to be one segment of our society that seems to resent this trend. As you might have guessed that huge market segment is the church and it’s slow adoption of online giving.

Do you know what is wrong with online giving in the church? Nothing - except its not being implemented very quickly, as many churches are unaware of the benefits. People should be able to tithe in the same effective and reliable way they do with all other aspects of their life. There are reasons why the rest of society has moved to this style of commerce. The church is being slow to understand and implement online giving as a method of receiving contributions. While slow to get started, there is a huge groundswell of churches adopting the program, and for good reason. A quick Google search will show the large numbers of churches that have implemented this, Willow Creek & Saddleback churches.

Giving is an important doctrine of the gospel. It would behoove the church and bless the members to make giving as easy and regular as possible, to try to remove as many stumbling blocks as possible. Online giving provides a number of benefits to both the members and the church.

10 Reasons to Implement Online Giving in Your Church

1. It is easy, convenient and time efficient for your members. All very important factors in this busy time in which we live.

2. Tithes, offerings, and special funds (like building fund) can all be contributed to on a regular or one-time basis by members through a their web browser.

3. It provides a very good audit trail of giving for giver and church.

4. Your members can give “first fruits” by scheduling payments on or the first day following payday.

5. Allows members to give, even when absent. Whether on the golf course or on vacation, the giving will come in as if the member were there.

6. Makes fulfilling pledges much easier for members. If your church has an annual pledge, once members make their commitment, they can set it up on-line for the year and it is done. Special pledge programs, such as a church building fund or stewardship campaign can be handled the same way.

7. Reduces time, effort and risk associated with handling money. Less money to count, fewer checks to process along with less risk from someone taking a large deposit to the bank.

8. Reduces the chance of impropriety, someone dipping into the offering basket.

9. It can smooth out the giving pattern for the year, making cash flow predications easier.

10. Simplifies your accounting. With the right accounting software, payments can automatically be posted to church accounting and giving records.

Large or small, the three things that most churches tell us they do not have enough of are; workers, time and money. Make more effective use of the time and people that you have and provide more money to the church through online giving in the church.

About the Author:

In addition to leading his church through a building and capital stewardship campaign, Steve Anderson is a church building consultant, seminar speaker, past contributing editor for Church & Worship Technology Magazine and author of the eBook, "Preparing to Build": Practical Tips & Experienced Advice to Prepare Your Church for a Building Program.

To download the book, or for more information on church building and related topics, visit the web site at  www.ChurchBizOnline.com

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