Let’s face it, we live in a world that is increasingly moving towards technology. How many of you who are reading this carry over $100 cash in your wallet? How many carry their checkbook around? Ten years ago, these practices would be more common. Now, how many of your churches still pass around a collection plate which requires cash or a check…in a time when a high percentage of people are used to using a credit card?
Let’s further explore the numbers from Experian. Currently, an estimated 24% of U.S. citizens make all their purchasing using cash. In other countries, such as Mexico, it accounts for 90% of consumer transactions. Debit cards, credit cards, and e-commerce adoption is growing. Reports show as many as 86% of Americans say they sometimes use cards to make purchases.
Cash payments are also declining. Cash will represent 11.2% of the U.S. GDP by 2021. That number was reported to be 12.6% in 2016. This represents a gradual decline.
So why, in many cases is the collection plate where cash and check are the only methods of payment the sole means of taking donations at so many churches?
Let’s look at some technologies that can be used to enable giving:
Text-to-tithe – Online giving is now the norm for many church members. You’ve probably saw this advertised on TV when there is a natural disaster where you can text to a number to make a donation to a disaster relief agency.
Text-to-tithe can give those who may be unprepared with cash or check an opportunity to give through their phone. While the specifics can vary from program to program, this generally works by texting to the Church’s 10 digit number and entering the amount of donation and pressing send directly from where they text in their phones.
Fun fact: An estimated 73% of American Adults text! That’s much higher than the percentage of American adults who pay with cash!
Generally these services will charge some combination of a monthly fee and/or a certain percentage of your donations. This is something that you’ll want to look closely at when selecting a service provider.
Giving Kiosks – These are physical stations that provide a digital portal to your Church website. They host services such as giving solutions, event registration, and other ways for visitors and members to interact with your church. Kiosks provide another path to tithing by letting people give with credit cards and e-checks. They can be as simple as a tablet that connects to a secure giving app or site. They can be as complex as a dedicated stand with a screen built-in.
As I mentioned in the description, they can have other uses too such as event registration.
Church App – A Church App is a platform that is created to help you engage with members and the community. It can enable members to take interactive sermon notes, listen to messages on the go, access small group material, check prayer list, engage with real time church news, and give donations.
And the best part is there is no need to have programming skills. There are plenty of pre-built apps out there that you can sign-up for and customize for your church!
Online Giving through your website – Do you already have a church website? Add a donation form to make giving simple for your members to give to the church!
As I work in IT, I must mention security. Credit card numbers are considered sensitive data and you do not want to write these down or have people email them to you. Reputable vendors that perform the services that I mentioned earlier will have security and PCI Compliance built-in. Security and PCI Compliance are key factors that you need to look at while choosing a vendor to work with.
In closing, if you are looking for creative ways to modernize your giving, then you’ll want to further explore some of the methods that I mentioned. Not sure which to pick? There are some services out there that you can subscribe to that have multiple of these methods included in one price!