Online Giving – It’s No Longer an Option

Part 1 in a series of posts regarding online giving and the church

Online Giving picture

Online giving is no longer an option for churches!  There…I’ve said it.  In an increasingly mobile and cashless society, online giving is no longer an option for the local church – it is a NECESSITY!

Consider this scenario.  The pastor announces on Easter Sunday that the church is receiving a special offering to support missionaries in some part of the world.  The offering is going to be received that morning during the service.  You forgot that today was the day for that offering, you have no cash on you and you left your checkbook at home since your rarely ever write a check anymore thanks to online bill pay.  The offering plate is passed and you are unable to contribute.  Thus, the church did not receive your offering and the missionary’s children have nothing to eat for a week – all because they did not get your gift of money in the offering.  (Okay, that might be a little over the top, but it could happen!)

Consider this second scenario.  The same situation I described above happens.  Only this time your church has an online giving option.  You take out your smartphone (you never go anywhere without it) and are able to contribute $500 in the offering.  The missionary receives your gift and is able to put that new set of tires on the Jeep and can now drive miles into the jungle to tell people about the love of Christ – all because your church utilized online giving (that could happen, too!).

My point is this…people are going to give their money to some cause that they believe is worthy.  The local church is missing out on a significant amount of giving that could be put into use for God’s kingdom – all because we do not offer an online giving option for those in our congregations who do not carry cash or a checkbook any longer.

With the vast majority of people owning smartphones, an online giving option in your church is a necessity.  A recent Pew Research Center Survey indicated that approximately 64% of Americans currently own a smartphone.  (For the details of that survey, click here).  At my previous church, approximately 40% of our income came in through online giving.  At the church I currently pastor, we introduced online giving just a couple of months ago.  The result is that already 17% of our income is coming in through online giving AND our overall giving has increased.  Based upon previous experience, I expect that both the % of income coming in online AND the overall giving to the church will continue to increase.  Wouldn’t it be great if you could experience a similar increase in giving at your church?  It could happen with online giving.

4 Reasons why you need to implement online giving in your local church:

  • You are missing out on income that people want to give to the local church, but aren’t because they give in an online and mobile environment that your church is not a part of.
  • Your giving will increase and the church will receive funds it would not otherwise receive.
  • The increased giving far exceeds the fees that you will pay for an online giving service.  If I would offer you $1,000 free money, but in return, you had to pay me $29 back…would you take the deal?  Of course, you would!  That would mean you would have $971 that you otherwise would not have received.
  • Stewardship is not just about Sunday mornings!  Stewardship is 24/7 in the life of the Christ-follower.  That means that I can worship God with my giving when I give online at my home computer or phone, just as I can if I actually place a check or envelope in the offering plate on Sunday.

With all the options available to the consumer on a daily basis, it is time that the church catches up.  By utilizing online giving, the local church begins to speak the language of the community and shows that it is seeking to remain relevant to the world it is called to reach.

Look for my second post in this series as I discuss what to look for in an online giving provider.  Then, my final post in this series will discuss what I believe are some of the best options for the local church.

Until then…

Discuss:  What is keeping you from launching an online giving option in your church?

Principle #3: The Power of 90%

The Power of 90%

Have you ever had a ministry opportunity become available to you that you couldn’t take advantage of because you lacked the money to fund the opportunity?  If your church is like most churches, the answer is probably “yes.”  Most churches spend all the money they receive each year.  Most budgets are set to spend 100% of the income that comes in during that year.  But, what if there was a better way?  What is there was a way to actually have funds available for those ministry opportunities that come along unexpectedly?

There is:  it’s THE POWER OF 90% and it’s a simple principle to remember.  When creating your church budget for the new fiscal year, most churches will either base it upon what they received last year, or add a little increase as “faith” for what God might do this coming year.  Instead, THE POWER OF 90% says:  base your new church budget on 90% of last year’s income (assuming you expect the income to remain the same or increase this year).  Then, place the remaining 10% in an “Opportunity Fund.”  This fund is money that is kept in the account and is available when those unknown ministry opportunities come about throughout the church year.

No budgeting process, however accurate and well thought through, can accurately predict every possible expenditure throughout the year.  Creating an Opportunity Fund enables you to be ready for the unknown opportunities that God may bring your way that year.  So, implement THE POWER OF 90% principle and see how it frees your church up to take advantage of opportunities throughout the year.

Note:  if your budget is too tight to start right at 90%, then make a plan to get to 90% over a period of time.  For example, in 5 years you could fully implement the 90% plan by just increasing it 2% each year.  Thus, the first year you are using the power of 98%, then 96% the second year, and so on.