Church Giving During COVID: Reasons for Optimism
God’s people are still giving, churches are learning from this pandemic, and God is still faithful.
October 26, 2020
This greeting was the first text message sent in 1992. Since this inaugural text was sent more than 20 years ago, there are now more than 18.7 billion texts sent every day.
Text messaging is no respecter of persons, either. From 18 to 55 and older, the vast majority of people living in the United States send text messages. From what we can see in the data, the number of texts sent is only going to increase.
Grasping the significance of text messaging is essential for your church. By leveraging this form of communication, you can make it easier for your church to give if you offer a text-to-give option.
To help you get started, we’re going to share the following in this post:
Let’s get started!
To make sure we’re on the same page, let’s talk about what we mean when we refer to text giving.
Here’s what you need to know:
Text giving is the ability to make a church donation with a text message.
If someone knows how to send a text message, they can securely give any amount to your church in seconds.
Know what else?
With Tithe.ly, you can add flair to your text giving experience by allowing donors to use emojis to give. For example, after someone sets up their account, they can text the below emojis to set up emoji giving:
Sending emojis to donate may not be what the Apostle Paul had in mind when he talked about cheerful givers (2 Cor. 9:6-7), but this seems like an appropriate application.
The way people give is a personal preference.
In your church, you may offer a variety of ways someone can give, including:
For your church, it’s a good idea to provide multiple ways people can donate. By providing text-to-give for your church, you’re encouraging people who prefer text giving the ability to do so.
If you don’t provide this option now, you’ll need to consider it in the future.
Based on fundraising statistics, every year, more and more people are expressing a preference to donate online or with their mobile device.
Not only is this case, but as I pointed out earlier, many people prefer texting and text-to-give is also an easy way you can take up one-time offerings.
We’ve already hinted at a few reasons why your church needs to offer text-to-give. But let’s dig into why your church should provide a text-to-give option.
Per a study by the Pew Research Center, the vast majority of Americans own a mobile phone—95 percent.
Know what else?
It’s highly likely that people—including yourself—always have their phone with them. On the other hand, carrying cash or a checkbook isn’t nearly as common as it used to be.
Since people are more likely to have their phone with them, it makes sense to provide a giving option that allows them to use their phone.
Well-known non-profit organizations, such as the Red Cross, prominently display text giving pleas during natural disasters. As a result, many people are familiar with the concept of text giving and are more likely to trust it as a secure way to give.
Here’s how easy it is to use text giving.
Let’s say John gets paid every other Friday and wants to tithe right away to keep from spending his money. Text giving is an easy answer for him.
Susan might travel often for work and therefore isn’t always at service to put her tithe in the offering plate. Text giving is something she can use from wherever work takes her.
In fact, text giving is an option you can include on your church’s website and in live-streaming sessions so viewers can quickly give as they watch the message.
Also, with text giving there’s no need for givers to download an app or even visit the church website. They can quickly text the gift amount to your church’s dedicated number, enter their card information, and receive an email receipt within a few minutes.
First-time visitors might not be ready to download an app, but if they want to give they can do so via a text-to-give option.
Pastor Antonio Vincent of Dream Chaser Church shared, “Once we walked people through it, giving via text message is now like second nature to them. People are even starting to use text-to-give outside of Sunday services.”
When you receive cash and check donations (or even credit card information written down in an offering envelope), that means your accounting team has to count, prepare the deposit, charge the credit/debit cards, and record the donations. When you enable people to donate via text message, that reduces the workload for your accounting staff.
Donors receive an email receipt right away, their card is charged immediately, and the funds are deposited into the church’s checking account within a few business days.
A good text giving provider—ahem, Tithe.ly—also offers an online portal for your accounting staff to view transactions and even upload the data into the church accounting software.
“Text giving has made counting at the end of service much faster since people are giving electronically,” remarked Paula Torres of Oasis Family Life Church. She added, "It helps individuals control their giving (updating expired cards, etc.), cuts down on back-office work, and provides donors with the ability to check their own giving statements.”
What happens to an offering envelope that includes someone’s name, address, phone number, and credit card number (along with the expiration date and security number)?
Hopefully, it’s kept in a secure location within the church office until the donation is processed and then it’s shredded.
When people give, they’re expecting you to handle their financial information carefully and in a secure manner. With strict security protocols in-place, text giving provides greater security for donor information.
According to Barna Research Group, “Nearly one out of every 10 of all Millennials say they text to donate at least once a month, which doubles among practicing Christian Millennials to two out of 10.”
Millennials and those coming up after them don’t know a world without the Internet or mobile phones. They rarely, if ever, write checks and tend to pull out their debit card before any cash.
By offering a text giving option, you’re meeting them where they’re at when it comes to how they prefer to give.
When you meet people where they’re at by using a tool they carry with them 24/7, you make it easier for them to consider giving throughout the week.
For example, Joe might see your church’s Facebook post about an upcoming outreach to lower-income families and decide he wants to help. He can quickly text a gift amount to your church’s designated number to make a donation.
By providing text-to-give, you’re capturing people's attention and providing them with a convenient way to give in the moment. It makes being a generous giver part of everyday life instead of something they only consider on Sunday morning
Text giving is very convenient for your congregation.
They can give when they’re in service on Sunday morning, but they also have the flexibility to give at any time from anywhere.
In fact, Tithe.ly’s research indicates that 67% of giving happens Monday-Saturday.
Consider this: You may dread the summer months of lower attendance since that also means a reduction in giving. However, after reviewing the giving data from over 2,000 churches, we’ve found that churches that offer a variety of giving options experience steady (and sometimes even increased) giving during the summer months.
Text to give enables people to give even while out of town. Plus, if they’ve set up recurring giving, those tithes continue to occur whether they’re watching a service from a hotel or are in their usual seat at church.
Not only is text to give a simple concept to grasp, but it’s also easy to get your church using it right away.
Here’s how it works.
For the text giving provider you choose, be on the lookout for someone who offers you the features you need and provides a secure giving platform.
After you sign up for text to give, you’ll receive a 10-digit text giving number (it looks like a regular telephone number). Here’s one example:
The first time someone gives via text, they’ll be asked to one-time to share their giving information. After this step is complete, they’ll be able to give at any time by texting.
Here’s a short video that breaks this down a bit more:
Finally, all you need to do is let people know they can give via text. Don’t worry about being flashy—just be informative.
For promoting text giving in your church, there are multiple ways you can spread the word, including:
For additional ideas, check out 9 Proven Strategies to Increase Online Giving in Your Church.
Text giving is one way to give you should provide your church.
In the words of Pastor James Crocker, “We need to create avenues for people to do what God calls them to do in the realm of generosity.”
Text giving is one such avenue.