Is Fear Impacting Your Ability to Make Giving Easy?
Have you observed how church giving has changed over the past decade? Have you noticed the offering plate makes its quick trip through the congregation and comes back mostly empty? Times have changed. How people donate has changed. Churches must adapt and make giving easy to fund their missions and ministries.
Churches are experiencing what consumer businesses are experiencing—a shift to electronic, non-cash transactions.
Millennials are, of course, leading the way. First Data discovered 20% of Millennials have never written a check and 63% do not have a credit card. If you are under the age of 35, you are most likely doing all your banking online via your smartphone.
According to a recent study by Vanco Payment Solutions, it’s not just Millennials driving the shift to e-giving. Sixty-two percent of adults ages 45-54 and 58% of adults ages 66-74 preferred to give electronically to their churches. These figures are significantly higher than in the 2015 survey.
Setting up a GIVE NOW button on your church website is not the only way to encourage online giving (although that’s a great place to start). It’s about making giving easy, convenient, and accessible. In Generosity Rising, author Scott McKenzie suggests using QR codes, giving kiosks, square readers, and text giving to provide a variety of options to church members.
Providing a variety of options for contributing is essential to making giving easy.
In his book The E-Giving Guide for Every Church, Richard Rogers says although church leadership often raises concern that young families are not contributing, statistics indicate 67% of households give to charities. Rogers suggests young families are likely making donations, but directing them to other nonprofits. Research suggests Millennials are as generous (or more so) than their predecessors. However, churches that have not adapted and made giving easy will fail to benefit from their generosity.
If you want to make giving easy, here’s where to start.
- Your website must include a link to a donation page–on the first page. It is not helpful to bury the GIVE NOW button three pages deep. Motivated donors need to be able to find their way quickly. Once donors arrive on the donations page, the number of steps to complete the process should be kept to a minimum. An automatically generated “thank you” page should appear after the transaction is complete. Your thank you message should be warm and familiar rather than “thank you for your business.”
- One more thing about websites. Optimize your site for tablets and smartphones. Optimization means anyone looking at your website on a mobile device can easily read and navigate through your site without having to squint or enlarge pages. A recent survey by Blackbaud showed a 21% increase in online transactions using smartphones or tablets; therefore, the ability to view your site on mobile devices is becoming increasingly important in making giving easy.
- Often concerns arise about how e-giving members will participate during the passing of the plate. Create laminated cards that say, “I gave electronically” or similar wording. As the plate is passed others will take note of the opportunity to give electronically.
- Giving kiosks provide easy and accessible options for anyone visiting your building. People who are not members but use your building may wish to make a donation! Giving kiosks can be designed to register people for classes, enroll children in Sunday school, and receive donations. Special missions, youth program fundraisers, and annual giving contributions can be received quickly and easily using giving kiosks.
- For churches looking to expand their e-giving repertoire, square readers, QR codes, and text-to-give options are available. Many churches have had success in making giving easy by using some or all of these strategies.
Rogers cautions churches to evaluate the congregation’s ability to adapt before embarking on an e-giving strategy. Wherever your church is on its journey of stewardship, e-giving is an essential tool for the road ahead.