Giving in your church can be a source of stress.
From the tools you use to the announcements you make, there are many moving parts involved with receiving donations.
Making it easy for your church to give is key. And making it easy to set up recurring giving is even better.
But, for many churches, this sounds easier said than done, and it’s easy to get discouraged. That’s exactly the situation Berean Baptist Church found themselves in recently.
Berean Baptist is a multi-generational, multi-campus congregation located in metro Minneapolis, Minnesota. More than 50 years old, Berean was named as one of the 10 fastest growing churches by Outreach Magazine in 2017.
But that growth didn’t come without growing pains. One area that presented a challenge to the church’s leadership was keeping up with the giving system. Thankfully, they were able to find a solution that gave them more structure and helped grow their repeat giving.
Too many giving options
Like so many churches, Berean used to have many separate options for donating to the church—online, paper and pencil, text-to-give, and a kiosk. Each option had a different system. Each one had to be managed manually and took up quite a bit of the church staff’s time.
“It was just confusing to communicate how to do them all,” said Kelly Kurz, a financial associate at Berean Baptist. “We wanted to give people choices so that they could pick which one worked for them. But in the process, it just confused and complicated things—having too many options.”
Keeping track of all the separate logins and monitoring giving across channels was an administrative nightmare. For church members, knowing which giving platform to use was a confusing mess. There were too many choices that didn’t seem to fit together. And this mess made it more difficult than necessary for members to give on a regular basis.
So the church leadership set about to find a new giving solution. They wanted a platform that integrated all of the different options together—a solution that would alleviate their staff from having to perform manual data entry.
Most important, they wanted a product that would be easy to communicate to their congregation. With a multi-generational church, the solution needed to be easy to use for a wide age range. The solution would also need to make recurring giving easier.
“That was important—that this was going to be easy for them to use,” said Kurz. “How user-friendly it was for our people was crucial. We didn't want it to be intimidating or complicated.”
The church looked at a few different giving platforms to provide this solution, but they ultimately decided on Tithe.ly. One of the deciding factors was that Tithe.ly offers the option for a custom church app, which gives church members a way to engage beyond just giving.
Making the transition
Transitioning to a new church giving system can be daunting. Church people aren’t generally known for their fondness of change. But for Berean Baptist, the transition to the Tithe.ly platform went smoother than expected.
The Berean leadership was worried that closing out recurring givers from one system and asking them to re-sign up for another would result in a drop-off in giving. Thankfully, it didn’t. There wasn’t a dip in giving during the transition process at all. Church members went straight from the old systems seamlessly into the new one.
“There was never any lapse in giving,” said Kurz. “That just speaks to how easy it was to make the switch happen.”
The church utilized Tithe.ly’s template emails to send out messages a month prior to the transition. They announced the change during worship services. The communication was a team effort from the entire church staff. Thankfully, the church members got the message.
Prior to using Tithe.ly, online giving accounted for about 30% of the church’s income. The other 70% was from cash and checks. In adopting Tithe.ly, the church has seen online giving increase to over 42% of the total offering.
The larger impact
With Tithe.ly, the church staff now spends less time devoted to the manual entry of donations. That time has now gone to thanking those who have given. For example, they now send out thank you notes to church members quarterly.
The offertory time during worship services used to be reserved for explaining how to use the various giving options. WIth a simpler system, they can now use that time to explain the impact of the congregation’s gifts.
The church has also increased their focus on recurring giving. With Tithe.ly, it’s now easier to set up this automated process. Now 56% of the regular church members participate in recurring giving. This has helped to slow the huge dip in giving that the church experiences over the summer when people are on vacation and forget to give. Overall, the church has seen an increase in recurring gifts and looks forward to this percentage continues to grow.
Berean Baptist Church no longer has to spend so much time focused on data entry and counting cash. They’re now able to focus more on what they were called to do—spreading the gospel. And with an increase in giving, they have more resources to do that.
“It’s meaningful to know that we have the same mission-minded goals,” said Kelly. “We know that Tithe.ly is partnering with us in God’s kingdom.”
After the first full fiscal year of using Tithe.ly, the church experienced a 31% increase in automated giving.”. During that same year, they also had 490 households who were first-time givers. Those new gifts that came through online were over 260% higher ($756 vs. $289) than those given through cash or check.
Berean is proud to be multi-generational. This means that some members will always prefer to give by cash or check. But the church leadership was impressed at the number of senior adults who were willing to try the online giving because of how easy it was to use.
With Tithe.ly’s help, Berean Baptist has been able to simplify their giving and focus their efforts on making a larger impact in their community. Is your church facing a similarly complicated giving system? Are you ready to increase monthly donations? Tithe.ly is ready to help your church too.