Is your church maximizing giving with a digital offering experience?
When is the last time you wrote a check—a real one with pen and paper? What about the last time you used cash for a transaction over $20?According to credicards.com, plastic overtook both checks and cash transactions combined way back in 2006, but the practice of passing an offering plate in churches has remained. Why? Because there is something inspiring about a shared giving experience. Many churches have addressed this by providing online giving options via their website, while still passing the plate during a service. The challenge is that fewer and fewer of us carry cash or checks anymore, giving them up in favor of online banking, PayPal and debit cards. To address this issue, a number of software companies are providing text-to-give options which support real-time donations via your cell phone. This can be done via SMS (text) or an app that worshippers access via their smart phones. Firms like mGive, EasyTithe, Kindrid, Txt2Give and PushPay provide options for digital donations while maintaining the offering plate experience. “We launched text-to-give in Feb 2015 and have seen growth each month,” shares Jacob Paukoviz, Executive Finance Assistant of Hope Fellowship in Frisco, Texas. “About 8% of our total giving is from text-giving and it is a great option for individuals that just don't carry cash or check but want to give right then and there. We have also seen that around thirty percent of those trying Kindrid are 1st time givers.”At Hope Fellowship, the introduction of the idea to the congregation is simple. During the offering, they explain that this portion of the service is for members and regular attenders and they share that there are three ways to give—in the offering plate, via text or online. A visual on the projection screens reinforces the idea and includes some instructions. Other churches are also finding that the text initiated giving concept is effective. Wyatt Johnston, Tech.Arts Director of Fellowship Bible Church in Topeka, Kansas offers, “We have just completed our first year using PushPay for a Text2Give solution. We have seen an increase in online transactions from about 780 per month to about 1150 monthly. Giving online overall has increased about 40% since we introduced the PushPay platform. Prior to PushPay, we offered online giving via web through our church management solution.” “We used a product that worked with Shelby (Arena) called Mobile-Axept—mainly because it worked so easily with our database,” says Dennis Choy, Communications/Technology/Production Pastor of North Coast Church in Vista, California. “What we found is that when we set up our app and added mobile giving through PushPay, it eliminated the need for Text to Tithe. There is still a small percentage of people with phones that DON’T have web capability but not enough to effect the benefits of one system for giving digitally.” Paukovitz advises, “When launching, ensure your entire team is on board - from the Lead Pastor to the youth intern. When leaders are talking about it and sharing its purpose, the greater acceptance the organization will have. And hopefully it’s not just a transition from one source of giving to another, but capturing new givers that have never tried giving.”Pricing for solutions can vary greatly from product to product, and not all platforms interface with all church management systems, so you may have to do a little research to find the solution that is exactly right for your church. Paukovitz adds,” When we first launched, we had our system set up pretty quick. We linked Kindrid to our church management system (FellowshipOne) so all donations would be tracked with the rest of our giving options (online giving, check, cash). We also set up keywords for designated funds. But it was fast and simple. I would say we were ‘live’ in about 20-30 minutes.”
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