This year Glendale Presbyterian Church (GPC) is incorporating online giving into its stewardship planning and resources offered to the congregation. Many churches have long embraced online giving, but perhaps there are churches in our presbytery who, like us, have been slow to come around to the idea. Online giving options are an important piece of the stewardship puzzle as giving patterns and trends have shifted over the last two decades.
My father faithfully wrote a check every week to Northminster Presbyterian Church. Heaven help us on Sunday morning if the offering envelopes were out of order or one was missing! I can still hear his voice calling out for my mom to help him track down a stray envelope. In contrast, in my own family, the majority of our bills are paid electronically. I rarely carry cash, let alone a checkbook, as I make most of my purchases with our debit card. Too often, I’m scrambling to write a check to GPC on Monday morning slipping it to the volunteer counters as they prepare the weekly deposit, but that’s easy for me as I work at the church. What about those Sunday worshippers who did not have cash or a checkbook with them on Sunday morning?
So when your church passes the offering plate on Sunday morning, are you limiting your offering to pocket change from those who feel obligated to put something in, but would give more with an online option? Now some will ask, “What about the fees? We don’t want to pay any fees!” Yet, J. Clif Christopher, author of Not Your Parents Offering Plate, would wonder why you are unwilling to let the donor give. Why are you willing to turn down someone’s gift just because it does not come as a check? I encourage all churches to make giving as easy as possible for all of its donors who want to faithfully support their church’s ministry and work.
There are lots of cost effective options out there for churches, far too many to review here. GPC has opted to utilize the Online Giving Program implemented by the Presbyterian Foundation. (presbyterianfoundation.org) The program enables you to: • Add a GIVE NOW button to your website to encourage donations • Accept online donations via debit or credit cards and direct transfer from a bank account — both one-time and recurring gifts • Gifts are automatically acknowledged as they are received • Access and manage your fund(s) and donor information online • Transfer funds to your bank whenever you need them • No need to negotiate merchant accounts or deal with complicated web setup • No startup or membership fees • Create a profile page on the Presbyterian Mission Exchange website to promote your mission • Connect with more givers by sharing your mission with a larger audience.
The Presbyterian Foundation is great place to begin exploring your church’s online giving options. Presbyterian Foundation resources will give you an excellent general overview of online giving and how it works. There are downloadable PDFs which are easily shared with your stewardship team and session. Regardless of where you start, take the first step to incorporating online giving in your church’s giving toolbox. To see what is available please click here.
If you have questions on how to further develop stewardship practices in your church, please contact the Stewardship & Mission Team at email@example.com