Electronic Giving for Churches-7 Reasons Why Churches Must Offer eGiving & PDA/iPhone Giving Options

Here are the 7 TOP REASONS why churches, charities, and non-profits must increase the number of electronic giving options they provide for their members, constituency, or donors - - including iPhone apps, Smart Phones, Cell Phones, Facebook, web, EFT
By: Brian Kluth
 
Dec. 7, 2010 - PRLog -- For many years, churches pondered (and even debated) the question should they collect offerings by having a box in the back or by passing the plate?  Today there is a much more important issue that is transforming how people give and how churches collect offerings - - various forms of electronic giving (online, EFT, PDA/SmartPhone/Cell/iPhone applications, and more).

To dramatically illustrate my point, if you went up to the average 28 year old and asked them to write you a check for something, what would happen?  Well, in most cases, they would look at your strangely and say something like, “Checks?  Ahhh, I don’t use checks.”  But the truth is - - whether someone is 28, 38, 58, or 78 – fewer and fewer people are using checks and instead are using various forms of electronic options for all of their financial and giving transactions.

So, let’s take a look at the top 7 reasons your church must offer (more) electronic giving options.

#1 – Scripture instructs ministers to “collect” people’s offerings.

When I have been in other countries, I have sometimes seen churches use VERY LARGE offering baskets (as big as waste paper baskets!) to COLLECT people’s offerings.  People were taught to “give from what they had” - - which often included eggs, bread, rice, money, etc. and the baskets had to be big enough to hold everything people brought.  In some cases, I saw churches that built “tithe houses” so people could bring the best portion of their harvest to the church.  The Biblical mandate is that ministers “collect” people’s offerings and churches/ministers need to do utilize whatever methods are available and most helpful to empower their people to be faithful and generous givers.

#2 – Some of your people do not use checks at all or will not have a check with them in the service.

When you limit giving options to checks only or cash, those without checks will only give you nothing or will only put in a small amount of cash since they don’t carry much cash and mainly use debit cards, credit cards, smart phone apps, and online transactions to handle their finances.

#3 – 25-30% of the people who regularly attend your church are gone each weekend.

If you have a church of 100 people, your average church service is probably 70-75.  In a church family of 1000 people, you likely have 700-750 attending on Sunday.  Sickness, family commitments, sports, vacations, out of town trips, etc. will keep many people away from church each Sunday.  Most people that miss a church service will also miss giving, because the church has limited their opportunity to give to a few minutes during a worship service IF they are sitting in the service.  While some people will give more the next time they are in the service, most people will not.

#4 – 10-15% of your people will be in the building on Sunday but will not make it to the worship service.

Many people that serve in the nursery or a Sunday school class often miss going to a worship service on the weekends when they serve.  There are a number of people that will only be able to get to church for one hour, and will choose to attend their Sunday school class rather than the worship service.  When you limit giving to only happen in a worship service, many of these people will not give at all.

#5 – Electronic giving is a growing trend (that will not go away) that church leaders must respond to positively and appropriately.

Technology donation companies are finding more and more churches and non-profits are turning to them to help fulfill their desire to offer electronic giving options.  Getzy Fellig, CEO of http://www.nadanu.com that offers the eOfferingPlate service says, "Our service is all about providing simple, easy to use, affordable, and accessible donation tools for churches and charities. We make giving so easy that even an 8 year old can do it - - or show parents and grandparents how to do it!" As a growing number of people depend on electronic giving to manage their finances, churches must come along side their people to help them be faithful and generous givers.    Electronic giving is here to stay and it is growing.  While ministering in a church in Australia, I found out from the pastor that over 90% of people’s giving was done electronically (online, electronic funds transfers, and through giving “cards” in the pews that allowed people to give by debit or credit card).

#6 - Electronic giving helps you easily connect with your church members for year-end holiday giving and special offerings during the year.

In every church, there are monies collected for a variety of things beyond the general weekend offerings -- building projects, benevolence giving, missions projects, missions trips, Christmas offerings, faith promises, help for a needy family, pastor/staff love offerings, and more.  When you have electronic giving available, a simple email with a CLICK HERE TO DONATE link is all you need to encourage generosity that will generate significant extra gifts in your church family.  Without electronic giving, your confined to collecting an offering in the church service and sending out time consuming and expensive mailings.

#7 – Churches in America are in the midst of the worst economic downturn in our lifetime.

In our annual http://www.STATEofthePLATE.info research we conduct in partnership with Christianity Today, we are in the midst of a 2 year double-digit decline in church giving never before experienced in our lifetime.  Nearly 40% of churches last year saw their giving decrease from the year before.  I believe that scarcity brings clarity.  We are now at a time when we need to teach God’s Word on finances and generosity and create as many ways as possible for people to be faithful and generous givers to God’s work.  This will mean offering more electronic ways for people to give 24/7/365.

When working with any company that can provide you the ability to give electronic giving options for your people, you want to make sure they can offer you:
 ** Online giving (one-time, recurring)
 ** Electronic funds transfers (where people sign up to have their offerings withdrawn weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly) from one of their financial accounts.
 ** Debit and/or credit card giving options (some churches prefer to only use debit cards)
 ** PDA/iPhone/Blackberry/Cell/Smart phone applications
 ** Facebook fan page donations
 ** Ability to collect and process debit/credit card information on a mail-in offering envelope, sanctuary offering envelope, or registration form for a retreat, conference, event, etc.
 ** Note: While there are some small fees associated with processing electronic giving, the amount you gain will be far, far, far greater than any costs incurred.

In closing, if you are collecting offerings by passing the plate and/or by having a box in the back, don’t stop doing this!  With electronic giving, you are just adding this to what you are currently doing in order to provide people with a variety of workable options for them to be faithful and generous givers to the LORD’s work.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rev. Brian Kluth is founder of the http://www.kluth.org website and FREE eNewsletter for 15,000 pastors and Christian leaders.  He is the author of the bestselling 40 Day Bible devotional  http://www.GenerousLife.org used by over 1300 churches.  His latest book is http://www.GodIsYourProvider.com  In partnership with Christianity Today, Brian conducts annual http://www.STATEofthePLATE.info on church giving.

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MAXIMUM Generosity was founded by Dr. Brian Kluth to provide resources, speaking, and media interviews that inspire greater generosity and increase giving. Kluth is a pastor, bestselling author, speaker, and a leading media authority on philanthropy.
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