How Guest Giving Tools Can Help Your Church

Guest GivingEven if your church is utilizing technology to provide multiple options for people to give, you could still be missing out if you require everyone to create an account before making any contributions.

Guests and newcomers to your church

Most churches tell visitors not to feel obligated to give—that it’s the responsibility of the members to provide financially for the church. But what about those people that want to show their gratitude for the church’s hospitality or an influential Sunday morning? Maybe they’re simply passing through town or they’re not quite ready to commit to being a part of your church, but they’d like to keep up with their regular giving to a local church.

Don’t make people feel like they have to be insiders to contribute to your church. You shouldn’t alienate the people who feel led to support your ministry, but rather make that process quick and easy. They should be able to whip out their smartphones and make a donation without the hassle of creating an account with your church for a one-time transaction.

Church finance expert Rusty Lewis says that this could even apply to your church website. Online “guests” who are watching your sermons and connecting with your church online—even those who will never step foot inside your physical church location—might also want to quickly give to your ministry.

But it’s not just people who are new to your church that would appreciate the convenience of a simpler giving process.

Members of your church community

According to a 2013 survey by Barna, 79% of evangelicals made a charitable donation in the previous 12 months, and two-thirds of that group gave to their churches—meaning only about half of the evangelicals polled made even a single donation to a church that year.

Another study found that of current members, between 33-50 percent of them don’t make any contributions to the church they call home.

So if you already have a variety of giving options in place but members of your church community aren’t giving, simplifying that process could result in more active donors. Of course, not everyone will immediately start giving to your church, but convenience is a driving factor for many people.

How to make giving easy for first-time givers

Your church can allow people to make contributions through your giving platforms—like an online portal, mobile app, giving kiosk, or text to give—without creating an account through a guest giving option. They can still utilize these tools without limiting major functionality—like the ability to designate gifts to any of your funds.

If you’re not passing the plate, you’re not pressuring guests to give. But having simple options available allows them to quickly give if they truly want to.

According to a recent survey of churches implementing giving kiosks, 27 percent of the contributions they received came from first-time givers. Swiping a card is much faster and easier than setting up a login and entering personal information—meaning first-time givers will be more inclined to take advantage of this tool.

This doesn’t mean you can’t track that giving coming from your church community. With the minimal information you’ve collected, your database can do some of that matchup work behind the scenes if it’s integrated with your giving solutions.

After falling into the habit of giving, those new donors who are members of your church community will likely create an account and become regular donors.

So make it easy for those first-timers with a guest giving option. Don’t make people jump through hoops to contribute to your church.

One Comment
  1. Ellen

    Churches should allow people to give freely without any pressures. I don’t feel that a church is necessarily alienating visitors by not inviting them to give. There may be easier ways to include everyone to choose to give if they choose to do so. I have been to churches in past years where people would approach people directly, which I find kind of intimidating and presumptuous. I don’t feel that I have an obligation to give every time someone asks me to. Whether a person chooses to give or not is a personal decision as no one knows what that person’s life or situation is. When I used to go to church with a friend, I was always pressured or scrutinized whenever I did not go with the pack or comply with something. So, it brings up another point that if a person chooses to give whatever amount or nothing at all, the members in the congregation should refrain from giving weird or dirty looks, or whispering comments to the people next to him. Guests should feel free if they choose to give, but not ever feel obligated to give.

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