Is online giving really important for a church? Matt Branaugh is the Director of Editorial for the Church Management Team at Christianity Today. He recently wrote a blog on “Five Online Giving Lessons For Churches.” You can find the link of that post listed at the end of my article. It is a good post and raises questions that we in the church world need to consider. Matt is a good writer and I say that not because he often reposts my stuff but because it is true. While I will let you read the post and arrive at your own conclusions I do want to weigh in with some observations.
If you read the post you will find at the bottom that I added a comment. Matt and I are on the same page for the most part though I think I view the importance of online giving a bit differently. Matt in his post called online giving a sliver. While I agree that online giving is small at present it is growing and will at some point be larger than what a church takes in weekly through the offering. In my comment I stated that several of my clients, churches, see 30% of what they receive come electronically, either through kiosks, online giving or automatic withdrawals. My fear is that too many not only do not see the potential of online giving but miss the fact that how Americans do commerce has changed and will continue to change. More and more we are depending on cash and checks less. There are countless studies that show this.
My position, one that has drastically changed in the last year, is that the typical church goer arrives at church without their check book or much cash. So when the offering plate is passed they have little or nothing to contribute. This is true not only for Millennials, Gen-Xers, but for old dudes like me. Only your disciplined church attendees come ready to give. To increase giving and to reach the other half of your attendees you have make giving easy. Thus my push for electric and online giving.
Having said that let me say that some of the questions Matt raises are good for continued thought. Here is my list from not only his original post, his reply to my reply of his post and our Twitter conversation of yesterday….