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By: Kent Woodyard

As the director of business development for Mogiv, an online and mobile giving platform created for mid-size and growing churches, I spend A LOT of time talking with churches about giving. And, as any pastor who has ever talked to me can attest, it doesn’t take much to get me excited about online giving and the opportunity it presents for The Church.

Now yes, it’s true that it doesn’t take much to get me excited in general. (New breakfast items at Taco Bell?! Sign me up!!) But, even so, new giving technology is an especially easy thing for me to become passionate about. The reason for this is that I’m passionate about the local church. I’ve seen and experienced first hand the power churches have to make dramatic and lasting changes in their neighborhoods, cities, and regions. But, of course, this kind of impact requires resources to implement and maintain. Which brings us back to the subject of giving.

Giving to the church is a complex and many-layered topic, but I truly believe that there is nothing – yes, NOTHING! – that can alter the financial trajectory of your church as quickly and as significantly as an effective digital giving solution. Here are just a few of the things I’ve seen digital giving accomplish at hundreds of churches across the country:

  • Reduce overhead costs. What’s that? Online giving can actually save my church money? Absolutely! Gifts made via cash or check have to be counted, sorted, signed, recorded, driven to the bank and deposited.  And don’t even get me started on year-end reporting! Even if you have a volunteer bookkeeper, all of these processes take time. Online giving automates these processes, thereby freeing up you and your staff to focus on other essential activities.
  • Turn “tippers” into consistent givers. There are people in your church who give occasionally and unreliably. $5.00 one week, maybe $10.00 a few weeks later, maybe nothing for a month. Online giving empowers these givers to automate their giving ensuring that nothing – not travel, illness, inclement weather, or just plain forgetfulness – will come between them and their giving each month. Is it any surprise that a 2013 survey of over 1,000 American churcheslisted “the ability to accept automatic, recurring donations” as the #1 factor shared by churches that were exceeding their annual budget? Plain and simple: it works!
  • Create giving “on ramps” for younger givers. Also unsurprising is the fact that Millennials – typically the least engaged givers in a congregation – don’t use cash and checks. In fact, 61% of people under the age of 24 report that they NEVER write checks. Instead of asking these potential givers to make an exception on Sunday mornings, why not turn the devices they DO use into channels for generosity? Smartphones, tablets, laptops, text messages, apps. These are not challenges for the church. They’re opportunities for increased giving! 
  • Smooth out seasonal dips in giving. Summer is coming! While this announcement is cause for celebration for teachers and students, it often elicits a shudder of dread from pastors. The summer months often bring with them decreased attendance, and – as a result – decreased giving. But they don’t have to! With digital giving, stewardship is no longer limited to Sunday mornings. Whether they’re with you in person or are hundreds of miles away, your members can respond in generosity. Or, better still, they can automate their giving to ensure that the church won’t lose out while the family is off enjoying a long weekend at the lake. 
  • Clear the way for larger gifts. Over the past four years, the average gift given through Mogiv is $164.50. Compare that with what you have in your wallet right now. I’d be willing to bet that your wallet is the lighter amount. And you’re certainly not the only one. In fact, 2 out of 5 Americans say they carry less than $20 on their person. Now yes, it is absolutely true that the amount is not our primary focus in giving. However, if our goal is to challenge our members toward lives of substantial (even sacrificial) stewardship, it will be difficult for them to get there if we’re asking them to do it $20.00 at a time.
  • Increase overall giving. Clearly, this is a big one. All of this talk about benefits and advantages is great, but if online and mobile giving tools don’t actually work to increase the total amount of giving coming in to a church, well, they’re not worth the time I’ve spent writing this or the time you’ve spent reading it. So do they? Does adding online giving actually increase in overall giving? Absolutely! I’ve heard numbers ranging from a 10% bump to an overall increase of 50%. In one year! From doing nothing but provide a new opportunity to give! This infographic does a good job of illustrating why. 
  • Create a “culture of generosity.” This is ultimately what it’s all about. It’s not about money. It’s not about budgets. It’s about discipleship and faith, and the transformative power of generosity. At Mogiv, we talk a lot about creating “cultures of giving” at the churches we partner with. What we mean by this is a congregation where giving is consistent, joyful, and pervasive. Let’s call it “2 Corinthians 8” generosity. It’s the kind of giving that every pastor envisions for his church, and – while technology is only one piece of the puzzle – it is an essential piece.

Online and mobile tools expand the “offering moment” beyond Sunday morning. They empower your members to give anytime and anywhere. Armed with computers, tablets, phones, and whatever crazy device we come up with next, your givers can turn every moment into an opportunity for generosity. If you haven’t already, find a digital giving solution for your church today!

photo credit: featured image rendered from mogiv.com

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