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The practice of passing the plate during church services is centuries old. In my childhood church, the ushers scattered all over the sanctuary, passing wooden plates up and down the aisles as adults shifted in their seats to retrieve their wallets, and kids clutched quarters and dimes to throw in as the ushers walked past them. Today, churches still pass the plate like they have for years, but the number of members who give with cash and checks is slowly diminishing.
As more and more church-goers use debit and credit cards as their primary payment methods, churches are scrambling to offer new ways to tithe. Here are three methods you can use to help your card-wielding members support your church:
Let Them Tithe Online
There are tons of services that you can use to set up an online giving page. Having an online option for tithes and offerings will make it easier for your members to support your church with a debit or credit card, even on days when they’re not in the pews.
Allow Recurring Donations
Many church goers make it a point to give at regular intervals, whether it’s once a week or once a month. Offering them the option of setting up a recurring gift will help them continue their giving patterns without having to remember to log on to a donation form once a week. It’s also useful when a church member has to travel or be away for a long period of time; they can still support your programs even if they’re not physically at your facility.
Consider Using On-Site Options
Giving apps, which allow members to make gifts and offerings with their cards, are handy additions to churches who want to engage their members in person. Churches with giving apps can invite their members to give before, after, or even during the service. Because apps can process transactions in just a few seconds, they’re also a useful option for other types of giving, including event registrations, ticket sales for church events, and more.
Some churches are also starting to explore giving via text message. This method, wherein a church-goer initiates a donation by texting a keyword to a short code and completes the donation online, generally works best with a congregation’s younger members.
Promote Online Tithing With a Live Event
Aside from general tithing, churches often need to raise money for youth groups, mission trips, and other projects. Live events offer plenty of opportunities for your church’s staff to interact with congregants and ask for donations, and you can direct your parishioners to your online tithing forms. Since many of your guests might not have cash with them, providing them with the option to give online is a great solution so that you can receive donations from more of your supporters.
If you can’t decide on the right event, you can always go with one of these surefire church fundraising ideas, such as:
- Hosting a hymn-a-thon.
- Organizing a weekly game night.
- Holding a silent auction.
- Planning an angel festival during the holidays.
While these are just a few fundraising ideas you can implement, there are a plethora of live events that you can use. Just make sure to set up a donation table where congregants can give cash or learn more about giving online.
The trick to increasing church tithing today is to offer your members multiple ways to support your ministry. Instead of sticking solely to traditional methods (those methods do still work!), try to find other outlets that will let other people — people who don’t necessarily use cash or checks — support you. There are tons of different options available; see which one is right for you!