This week we visited a landmark in the town, mainline denominational church.
The architecture was historic and beautiful. As expected, almost everything inside felt like a time warp. Homage to tradition and legacy. But not much evidence of evolving and contextualization with current culture.
There’s much sadness when stepping into these ministries that seem destined to become museums as this last generation of booomers and older disappear.
One of the things that I always look for is signs of the church giving its congregation options for giving.
Well there was no mention of text to give, mobile app given, or other mobile directs option to give immediately, the service bulletin did make reference to an online donation button on their website. “YES!” at least they do take donations online.
The next step would’ve been to make it easier for people to give in the service, not on the web. Finding the donate button on the church website and going to the process of giving online was tedious. This time consuming. And unnecessarily distracting from the worship service anyone would be sitting in.
That said, this church did have a bulletin insert which featured an option for people who do give electronically. You could use that quarter page insert to place into the offering basket as a symbol of your commitment to support the church financially.
I’ve seen this in a couple of churches before. There are two perspectives on how you can look at this practice:
The first way is to knowledge the awkwardness of receiving the offering plate and having other people see you pass it along without contributing anything. While you should not be concerned about how others perceive you, especially if you are actively giving to the ministry, there is a part of you that wants to make sure no one mistakes you as a slacker in the community! You get it, right?
The second way is to think of it from a very positive participation point of view. I think it is an interesting way to physically involve everyone that is giving during the offering time in the liturgy.
There is something to be said for the physical ritual of everyone putting something into a shared plate that gets passed around to every single person that’s part of the church body and membership. There is sort of a “Book of Acts beauty” to such as shared participation activity by everyone in the community.
Personally, I might consider using some sort of simple open ended question form that captures a prayer or space for encouragement to the ministry that people can write on the card that they drop into the Offering Plate during the physical giving time via check or cash.
In the end, I am encouraged that this church is offering some sort of digital giving solution for other people.
Let me know if your church does something similar or if you have seen this in the past elsewhere.
LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW TO SHARE WHAT YOUR CHURCH enough church leaders are talking about the nuances of embracing online giving with details such as the online giving placard for the offering plate.
One of the most common comments or hesitations that I hear from church leaders regarding adopting credit card giving pertains to credit card transaction fees.
Typically the price you pay for being able to take credit cards is usually about $.35-$.50 per transaction plus somewhere around 2.9% of the actual transaction amounts.
Ask any CFO, they hate that much money leaving the church without any other options.
Today, I had a chance to visit another church in my area.
They had a woman host the announcements and offering part of the Order of Service.
This church does offer texts to give as an option, but curiously did not push it or even mention it from the stage. So that’s not the part that they are doing well.
But I did hop onto their giving page which was printed on their giving envelope available in the back of seat pockets.
There, they had a FAQ list that stuck out when I was scanning the page:
WHAT THEY ARE DOING WELL
The question they decided to include asked:
Will 100% of my online giving go to the church?
And then they used that opportunity to explicitly list their transaction fees for taking credit cards online.
I think this is a great tactic to help address the internal concerns that usually come up arguing that by offering online giving, you will end up giving up a significant chunk of it to fees unnecessarily.
SIDE NOTE: This base argument is a fear-based and scarcity minded approach. Experience shows that overall giving increases as soon as they pull the trigger in offering credit card based giving options. You will receive more giving incrementally than the 2.21% utilized to receive funds through that channel.
WHAT THEY CAN DO BETTER
While it was great to be transparent about the transaction fee so that some supporters will proactively use other methods to maximize every penny of that goes to the church directly, I don’t believe it is then only or best counsel they can provide.
Pushing people to go to a physical check or cash methods in order to eliminate 100% of transaction fees seems odd and very shortsighted.
Instead I would reword that FAQ to contrast credit card giving versus ACH giving (giving via echeck). For this church, that’s only a 0.64% fee. Saving over 71% of potential transaction fees.
PLUS, most leaders don’t consider the cost of collecting cash and checks, sorting, counting and sending someone to physically deposit them. It doesn’t seem that you could do that for less than 0.64% of the cash & check collection amounts in most cases.
So I would also use it as an opportunity to reinforce the option of recurring. electronic giving.
Regardless, the tactic to appreciate here is how they explicitly shared the specific transaction amount credit cards would trigger.this allows them to present the options in the way that’s not guilt infused and puts the options in the hands of the giver.
I don’t know about where you live, but I have been seeing pumpkin spice infiltrate the beginning of September where it has no place of belonging.
It seems like retailers everywhere are injecting pumpkin spice into anything they can.
People have jumped the gun. This isn’t good. There is a time and season for everything. Pumpkin spice should be reserved for October.
There ARE things you should be thinking about NOW regarding events that happen later in Fall. Like on November 28, 2017.
It’s called #GivingTuesday.
There’s so much potential with Giving Tuesday, which is the first MONDAY AFTER Black Friday. This year, it falls on November 28.
If you’ve never thought about involving your church in a #GivingTuesday campaign, think again. Just take a look at some of the giving-related stats for GivingTuesdayin the past and you’ll soon be convinced you need to consider it this year.
We’ll be talking about #GivingTuesday here on the blog. Let us know if you’ve started planning for it.
Type YES in the comments if you have. Type NO if you haven’t thought about it at all yet.