Ah, the summer giving slump. People go on much needed vacations. Church attendance goes down. Since they are not attending your church, their normal tithe does not make it into the offering plate. Life gets busy, and people forget to mail their tithe to the church.
This is not unique to your church. It does leave your church in a bit of a bind over those lean summer months, though. Sure, you have come to expect it and try to save up money throughout the year to be able to afford Vacation Bible School and summer youth camp as well as pay the utilities and other bills.
Let's look at the benefits of online giving and how this tool can help reduce or even eliminate the summer giving slump.
Benefits Of Online Giving For Churches
As early as Genesis 4:4 we see that God is looking for the first fruits as an offering and not the left overs. One argument against online giving is that it is not an act of worship. Somehow it is believed that giving an offering in person is an act of worship. It really comes down to the heart of the giver.
Online giving allows the opportunity for people to schedule their tithes to automatically go to the church on a set schedule. In my opinion it takes great act of worship to do this as it ensures the first fruits are being given.
[Tweet “Giving comes from the heart not a location or technology”]
The more people who offer their first fruits by scheduling an automatic tithe, the few people who miss giving a tithe during the summer months. This helps to reduce or eliminate the summer slump.
It allows people to easily give if they miss attending any given Sunday.
Many church management systems today provide online giving solutions. By using a solution that is tied directly into your ChMS, it streamlines the process of tracking contributions by putting that data directly into the ChMS when someone gives online.
If your ChMS does not have this feature, there are several solutions on the market to enable online giving.
When looking for an online giving solution, make sure it is
- easy to use for the giver,
- mobile ready (can be used on a mobile device),
- PCI Compliant (Ensure security and compliance with Payment Card Industry),
- provides the church office with the reports you need.
Getting People To Use It
Once you have the systems in place, you will need to make an intentional effort to move people toward online giving.
Tell people about it in:
- the bulletin,
- your blog,
- home page of the website,
- stewardship sermon,
Send an email just before summer vacation season. Be honest about the effects on ministry when giving goes down during the summer. Include a link to the giving page on your website. On the giving page provide instructions about how to use your online giving system. If you have testimonials from people who use the system, put those on there as well.
Recently a friend told the story of his son who recently experienced a full-service gas station. That brought back memories to when the first self-service pump was installed in my hometown. I remember people would sit in a line waiting for full-service when the self-service line was empty. Over the past few years I have witnessed a similar phenomenon at the Post Office where people used to walk past the self-service machine to stand in line for the counter. Today, there is generally a line at the self-service machine as well.
While it may take some time to get people used to using the online system, it will begin to reap great benefits, if not this summer then certainly by next summer.
Are you already using online giving? How has it helped your church? Leave your success stories or questions in the comments section below.
image (c) istockphoto.com/pressureUA