Generosity

6 Myths About Online Church Giving

Generosity

6 Myths About Online Church Giving

Online church giving and superstition go hand and hand.

Not really, but there are still plenty of misconceptions and fallacies surrounding the mystic arts of digital giving and the church.

However, in the year 2017, most of these old wives tales have been debunked. Still, it’s always good to drag some of these myths about online church giving out into the light and discuss them honestly.

1) It’s a Fad

Online and mobile giving isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It’s actually growing. There was almost a 9% growth in faith-based online giving from 2015 to 2016. And if the statistics are any indication, that figure will online continue to go up.

Look at how the rest of our society is heading. People are cutting cable in favor of Netflix. They get their news from Facebook instead of a newspaper. We are in the middle of a shift from analog to digital. It only makes sense that our charitable giving habits will follow the same pattern.

There are plenty of fads that come and go — but rest assured that online giving is not one of them.

2) It’s Difficult to Do

One of the biggest arguments against giving online is the technology barrier. You mean I have to remember another password? How do I turn on the computer again?

However, Tithely and dozens of other online giving services make online giving easy. These services knock down all of the technological hurdles to make it simpler for your church members to give online. They can opt to donate on their mobile device, via text message or automated withdrawal.

Technology will always be an obstacle for some, but custom services built specifically for online giving remove most of the excuses for even the most hardened technophobes.

3) It’s Only For Millennials

Sure, online donating is primarily targeted to younger generations. They’re the most connected generation and are most likely to give online. Nevertheless, Millennials aren’t the only ones who are taking advantage of giving to their church online.

But millennials are far from the only generation using the internet. Online church giving applies as much to Generation X and Baby Boomers as it does to Millennials. We all face the same limitations with in-person giving, and should restrict online opportunities only to those under 40.

Millennials and Generation Z will lead the way with digital giving, but they won’t be alone.

4) It Shouldn’t Be Automatic

One of the biggest differences between online giving and in-person giving is that connection you feel by dropping your hard earned cash (or check) into the offering basket. And there’s something to be said about keeping that connection alive.

Still, don’t make the mistake in thinking that donating to the church on the internet removes all meaning from the gift. There are some who argue that you should automate the important. Setting up a recurring tithe gift removes any chance of forgetting or temptation not to give.

Does giving online make you forget why you give in the first place? Does tithing mean as much if it doesn’t hurt when you make the contribution? Maybe for some. But more often, making the process automatic and seamless shows a higher sense of priority.

5) It Replaces Offline Giving

Encouraging online gifts or setting up a text-to-give option at your church does not mean a death to the offering basket. Even placing digital as a priority shouldn’t eliminate the opportunity for members to make a contribution in person.

As the percentage of online giving continues to increase, there will always be a segment of the congregation that prefers to donate during worship or through the mail. Denying them that opportunity would be insulting to them and ignorant of the church.

Digital giving has a place in your church, but so do the offline ways to give.

6) It’s Blasphemous

In 2 Corinthians, Paul describes giving to the church through a machine as a form of sorcery that should be considered an abomination. Just kidding. Online giving isn’t actually mentioned in the Bible at all — they were still a few years away from a broadband connection back then.

In fact, Paul does talk about supporting your local church. Rather than focusing on how we give, he compels us to “ excel in this grace of giving.” We are to give “according to [our] means” and out of the goodness of our hearts.

Donating to the church is more about the heart behind the gift, rather than the means of giving. Whether online or in a basket, the most important thing is submitting ourselves and our finances to God.

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Still have any apprehensions about online giving? What’s your biggest concern with giving online at your church?

Expert Tips on How to Effectively Launch a New Online Giving Tool

01
Make it accessible so people can give in the way that is most comfortable to them. Don't make it hard for people to give money.
Some people like to give online, some like mobile, some like text. Whatever they like, let them give in that way if you can.
02
Brady Shearer
www.storytape.com
Talk about it every single week. Consistently promote it on every platform. 
Be patient. We all resist change.
03
Michael Lukaszewski
www.churchfuel.com
Launch it to your staff, your leaders, and your volunteers (in that order) and help those groups use it before you launch it publicly.
04
Teach it in your new member class.
Allow for people to sign-up right on the spot via their mobile phone (or through a laptop or iPad for those that don't have a mobile device handy).
05
Justin Dean
www.thatcc.com
On launch weekend, have volunteers and staff accessible with iPads to walk people through how to set up an account and get recurring giving configured.
06
Daniel Irmler
www.churchhero.com
On a regular basis, tell stories from members who are using and loving it. 
You don't don’t need a big production value shoot. Keep it simple by using an iPhone (horizontal) and a decent mic.
07
Invite your congregation to take out their phones and download the mobile giving app right in the service.
08
Nik Goodner
www.crtvchurch.com
Explain the why behind the change and highlight the benefits of the new system. 
People like to be "on the team".
09
Kevin Ekmark
www.church.org
I always tell people, "you need to clean your house before you invite friends over". It's crucial that your giving platform is easily found, whether it's on the web or in the church. 
On the web, making sure that your website is mobile friendly (Google and Bing both recommend mobile responsive design) can be a huge help. You can also incorporate bots from Facebook or a service like Intercom to help walk people through online giving on your website. When necessary, a human can jump in and help too. This helps complete the process from being found online to completing the online giving.
10
Logan Fields
www.theappguys.org
Tell them the real reasons. Giving members are concerned with what's best for the church and not just what they individually prefer. Transparency.
"This platform will allow us to better manage finances and spend less staff time on the books and more on people." etc. The temptation is to treat members like consumers who we need to impress instead of team members. Treat them like equals who you assume are interested in what's best for the church/ mission and people will likely rise to it.
11
Kenny Jahng
www.kennyjahng.com
Launch a $3.16 campaign. Ask people to all give just $3.16 to a weekly or bi-weekly blessing fund. Then, pick one person or cause to bless IN TOWN and go give that person all the money collected.
  • It could be the all volunteer firefighter squad in town. "We'll take all the $3.16's collected and go buy a meal or treat and drop off for the firefighters who volunteer."
  • It could be a widow the church knows about - bless her with something new for her home or hobby or pets.
  • Single mothers - supply them with a night out. Or pay for a house cleaner or a handyman for a couple of hours.
  • Special needs families - pay for evening out for the parents and child care for the special needs kids so the parents get a break.
  • You can ask for "sponsors" in the future, getting people to nominate good causes (let the youth do this!) and let them deliver the blessing and report back each sunday.
  • You can ask for "sponsors" in the future, getting people to nominate good causes (let the youth do this!) and let them deliver the blessing and report back each sunday.
This works incredibly well because you are teaching generosity / outward posture to your people on a consistent basis and getting people to give on mobile- while making it about PARTICIPATION vs AMOUNT. You'll have people regularly trying out the mobile option as well as pre-register them in the system.

There you have it! Some amazing tips, right?

Which tip stood out the most to you … or looked to be the craziest?! Share with us in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you!

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6 Myths About Online Church Giving

Tithe.ly

Tithe.ly powers mobile, text, and web giving for
churches and ministries.

LEARN MORE
Sign Up