It used to be as simple as passing the offering plate down the pew, and the church would exceed its budget twofold. But many factors—an uncertain economy, fluctuating attendance, and growing obsoleteness of checkbooks—have made giving a challenge for both members and the church.
Although contributions may take a dip, people still expect premium coffee in the foyer, and staff still need to be paid. This can lead to a difficult balance of covering costs without being perceived as a financially-driven church.
While you can pick and choose what expenses are important to your church and where you can cut corners, why not give your church the best chance to thrive financially so you can focus on ministry?
Here are a few ways to make it easy for your church community to give and practice good stewardship:
1. Giving Kiosks
Giving kiosks are increasing in popularity as people continue to trade in their cash and paper checks for plastic.
Many solutions allow users to designate contributions to a specific fund and pay with either a credit or debit card. They can log into their account to give, and when integrated with the church database, their giving record will be updated. Or someone who is visiting from out-of-town or does not want to be identified can quickly give anonymously.
Touch-screen kiosks are easy for anyone to use and can make connecting with the younger generation much simpler.
2. Mobile Giving
Always on the go and looking for the easiest way to accomplish every task, people are now paying for even their morning Starbucks through a mobile app. If they want such convenience for the sake of a macchiato, certainly they’d like the option to tithe from their smartphones.
A mobile app can allow your church community to give to the fund of their choosing as well as pay for an event upon registration. They can give whenever they remember from wherever they are—even from their seats during the offertory.
3. Online Giving
Many people now pay their bills online and would prefer to take care of their tithing the same way. Online giving allows donors to save their payment information—whether it’s a debit card, credit card, or bank account—and even set up recurring giving. Allowing people to set up an online account can mean more consistent giving for your church.
Online giving can also save a significant amount of time for your staff. When integrated with the church database, your people can view their giving history online and even print their own statements.
4. Recurring Giving & Bank Account Withdrawal
It’s easy for your people to remember to drop their offering in the plate as it passes, but what about when they’re sick at home or on vacation?
When they set up recurring giving, contributions will be consistent even if summer attendance isn’t. And while many people prefer to give with a credit card, you may want to encourage them to sign up for auto withdrawal from a bank account instead—it will allow your church to retain a higher percentage of those financial gifts.
For the most part, your church community does want to give, but it has to be easy and they need to remember. Help them give generously by suggesting these changes.
5. Financial Processing Services (FPS)
Another way your church may be able to keep more of the contributions it receives is by making a change to your merchant account. Your members may be giving ten percent, but how much of that is actually coming back to your church?
If you’re an Elexio client, switching to our Financial Processing Services (FPS) could save your church a significant amount on monthly processing fees. Cutting out the third party, Elexio can offer churches great rates and make reporting much faster and easier. It’s simple to sign up and make the switch, and your information is secure.
As technology advances, churches are adapting to maximize giving opportunities for their communities.
How is your church getting creative to foster consistent giving?
Image Credits: istockphoto