More and more churches these days are offering online donation options on their websites. It’s true that there are many factors to consider when doing this: security, payment methods (credit/debit cards or PayPal), accepting donations via text messaging or a mobile app, and more. This is not a technical article. This is about more of the fundamental mindset behind online donations. That is: why? Should your church even provide such an option?

Even if you are a small or relatively low-tech church, I believe that you should strongly consider offering online giving. The technical aspects can be worked out once you and your church leaders have come to a decision that online can giving can benefit both your church and your congregation.

1. People can give on days besides Sunday

There’s definitely power in corporate giving, just like corporate worship or prayer. Offering online giving options is not intended to take away from tithes and offerings given on Sunday morning. If a church member is not able to attend one week, or is simply motivated to give and it’s not a Sunday, then having a donation button on the church website provides an easy solution. Some people might prefer to give their tithe on payday, which likely is not a Sunday. Online giving enables these people to give right away, rather than having to wait till Sunday. This not only makes it easier for the one giving, it also gets the money to the church faster than waiting for the once-a-week donations.

2. People don’t use cash or checks as much anymore

The socio-economic and moral implications of a society that relies primarily on digital money instead of hard cash is a topic for an entirely different article. But whether we like it or not – and whether you as a pastor encourage it or not – the fact remains that fewer and fewer people use cash or checks on a regular basis. Credit cards, debit cards, electronic transfers through banking services like PayPal – this is how a lot of people handle money. Many churches do have offering envelopes with space to write credit card information, but this can be tedious. Keep your envelopes for those who use them for cash and checks during the service. But for those who want to pay electronically with just one or two clicks, an online donation capability helps them to stay connected to the idea of giving.

3. People from all over the world can give

Some churches have a national or even international reach simply because they offer the sermons online or they have a powerful presence on social media. If your church’s mission has prayer support from people all over the world, then the next step is to make it possible to receive financial support. Also, some churches have members who have moved away, whether short-term for a job or military deployment, or permanently. Even if these people regularly attend a church closer to their current location, many still love the opportunity to continue to support other churches and ministries where they once attended.

4. People are encouraged by ease and convenience

See point numbers one and two. Convenience is a major factor in many people’s decision-making process, and that includes their decisions about tithing and giving to the church. For those who are accustomed to moving money around digitally – whether it’s traditional online shopping on retail websites, or buying apps and music on their phones – they want it quick and easy. If someone is moved to give, the easier it is to do so, the more likely they will be to actually follow through on their generous impulse. Many people have the best of intentions, but there are so many factors in today’s society that can derail even the most generous person: they were late to church that day and missed the offering, they forgot the checkbook, they stopped to get gas and used up all their cash, and so on. Online giving options help to remove some of these hurdles so that people can give quickly and easily whenever they are inspired to do so.

Final thoughts

Widening your church’s giving options benefits both your organization and the people you serve. The easier it is for people to donate to your church, the more likely they will be to do so. Your church can receive donations from many different sources on a constant basis.

If you have decided to take your church to the next level with online donations, then take the time to research the various technical aspects of this, as well as budgeting for the cost. Even with an initial time and money outlay to get your website set to receive donations, the long term results will benefit your people, your mission, and your organization.

Author: CMM Staff

8 Responses

  1. Barn

    I love that you pointed out people being able to give all over the world! I hadn’t even really connected the dots there, but it is so true.

    The convenience factor is key. I don’t even know where my check book is, let alone when I used it last. Being able to give at any time – even when the giving porting of service happens – is so nice. It’s something we get feedback about all the time.

    Thanks for helping to further the conversation around mobile giving!!!

    Barn
    http://www.tithe.ly

  2. Roxanne Jones

    Hi Grace? What apps would you recommend to collect offering online? Are there apps you can also add to your church’s Facebook page? Thanks so much!

    • Grace Robinson

      Great question, Roxanne. PayPal is a reliable electronic payment program that many people already use on a regular basis, and it can be integrated into a website to collect funds. My church uses something called “EasyTithe” on their website. Another donation site I’ve seen used is “JustGive.org”. As for apps that are specifically designed for Facebook integration, I’m not sure. You can add an app such as Woobox to your Facebook page, which enables you to then create special tabs on your Facebook page which could be used for a donation site. Also, Facebook pages have a new feature called the “call to action” button. There isn’t an option specifically called “donation” or “offering”, but you could use it to promote online tithing and make the process easier.

  3. Dan Eubanks

    Grace; I am surprised that you did not mentioned how on snow days, where church has to be canceled due to bad weather, those who have set up auto giving do not miss the time to tithe. Some churches are living offering-to-offering. These churches can be financially devastated by a bad winter where church is cancelled. The more members that are signed up for online giving on a recurring basis, the softer the blow to the church finances when church is called off.

  4. Stephen Feild

    I also like that it allows me to set a regular monthly or weekly gift amount and it will automatically draft. I never miss tithing and I can budget effectively putting giving first.

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