July 25, 2013
Mixing Donations and Technology
Increasing ways for people to give
When I stand in line at my favorite coffee shop, I notice many people don't grab a wallet to pay anymore. Instead, they pull out a smartphone and present a phone app to the cashier to pay.
Each year, technology provides more ways to do a variety of tasks. It can be exciting, or possibly even overwhelming with the amount of change, but it's wise to take a step back and consider how and why churches may want to use these technologies.
At the annual National Association of Church Business Administration conference last week, speaker Mark Brooks urged church leaders to notice this trend, and to consider offering online platforms for giving if they haven't already.
Brian Kluth gives another reason to offer a variety of electronic giving options: "The biblical mandate is that ministers collect people's offerings, and churches and ministers need to use whatever methods are available and most helpful to empower their people to be faithful and generous givers."
In the 2013 State of the Plate, Kluth presents statistics on the variety of ways donations are given. In response to these statistics, he writes:
A growing number of people are giving electronically. Churches, ministries, and non-profits need to actively increase the ways they allow people to give. Possible examples include passing the basket/plate; provide a giving box in the back; online donations; electronic funds transfers; stock brokerage accounts; cell phones; kiosk/iPad; mail-in self-addressed envelopes; and envelopes in the pews where people can write their debit/credit card number to make a donation.
Like Kluth, Brooks and other stewardship consultants have urged churches to consider multiple platforms for collecting giving and making appeals to the people in their congregations.
Read more about Brooks' presentation in the Charlotte Observer (Brooks also recently released The Digital Church, an eBook). For more information on church giving, Increase Giving at Church includes more tips and advice from Kluth and other contributors.
Michelle Dowell is the editorial coordinator for the Church Law & Tax Group at Christianity Today.