By David Dummitt
IBM created the first smartphone in the early 1990s, but it was Apple’s release of the first iPhone in 2007 that effectively changed the world at large. Fast-forward to today and approximately 81 percent of people in America own a smartphone. The world has literally moved into the palms of people’s hands.
The advent of smartphones over the past quarter century has revolutionized the way people prefer to learn, shop, and, yes, give. While many churches are embracing financial technology in new ways and are experiencing the positive impact on congregational generosity, many churches in America continue to rely solely on traditional giving methods like passing a plate during worship services.
In case you need more convincing about mobile phone trends and their effect on the world, here are a few interesting statistics:
● 39 percent of smartphone owners used their phone to pay a bill within the last month.
● 44 percent of millennials prefer to use their mobile phones to make small purchases.
● Mobile charitable giving continues to increase every year.
● 74 percent of Americans write no more than one check per month.
● 80 percent of Americans carry less than $50 in cash.
Church leaders ought to pay attention and leverage the tools available to us to engage people on kingdom mission.
Here are six reasons your church should have a mobile-giving option:
It is important to remove obstacles and complexities to giving. People need to have options for how they can give, and there must be no guesswork. The more people have to think about how to give, the less likely they are to give at all.
By offering mobile-giving options, churches meet people where they are: on their devices. This removes barriers and obstacles and makes giving simple and convenient.
Offering mobile-giving options also allows you to tap into significant giving potential that your church might otherwise miss by making giving available 24/7. An average Sunday yields 27 percent of weekly giving, which means 73 percent of giving occurs at other times, including the middle of the night on any given Tuesday. (On average, more than 30 percent of giving happens between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.!)
Enables People to Give Regularly—Even When Absent
People attend church less frequently than they did 10 or 15 years ago. The average churchgoer now attends church less than two times per month. When people do not attend, they tend not to give unless there is a simple and convenient option.
Providing a mobile-giving option allows people to continue to give to the mission of your church even when they can’t be physically present when the buckets are passed during your weekend generosity moment.
Provides Increased Financial Security
Cash can get lost, forgotten, stolen, and miscounted. And unless someone paid with a check, people may not have their own official records of how much they gave, making generosity statements difficult to produce.
Offering online and mobile-giving options provides additional security for givers as well as your church. Record keeping is made simpler, collecting accurate contact information is a cinch, and the right online-giving solution will provide bank-level security and encryption to ensure every gift goes straight from your givers to your church.
Streamlines Church Operations Systems
Mobile-giving solutions offer many integration and automation options designed to save your church time and money. Manual processes often include steps like receiving a check, manually entering the check into a database, sending out a thank-you letter and tax receipt, etc. And while mobile giving doesn’t completely replace that process—people will still give checks and cash—many hours of cumbersome data entry and follow-up are eliminated because of automation in place for contributions made online.
Creates Stronger Relationships with Givers
When someone gives for the first time, they are trusting you not only with their dollars, but with their contact information. Leverage this as a pastoral opportunity to cultivate a relationship.
Many mobile-giving solutions allow churches to create a suite of customized messages to givers. These communication tools allow churches to immediately thank the giver, tell impact stories of how people’s generosity is making a difference, and more. Your mother was right: manners matter. Gratitude matters. And a generous culture goes hand-in-hand with a grateful one. When people know that you notice their efforts to support and drive the mission forward, relational bonds grow tighter.
Helps People Take the Next Steps in Generosity
Jesus knows our hearts follow our money, which is why he talked about it so often. Jesus told 38 parables, and 16 of them involved how to handle money and possessions.
It is critical that we help people take next steps with God in the area of generosity. Mobile giving allows churches to leverage modern technology to engage people in the mission of the church wherever they are. Millennials especially are unlikely to give anything at all unless they are given a mobile option. By removing as many obstacles as possible to giving, by simplifying the process and offering a range of options, your church casts a wider net to engage and disciple people in financial stewardship.
If your church does not already have a mobile-giving solution, several robust options are available, including Pushpay, Tithe.ly, and my personal recommendation, Gyve, which has a revolutionary round-up feature and donor analytics portal.
David Dummitt is the founding and lead pastor of 2|42 Community Church in Michigan. He has served on the board of the Solomon Foundation, and previously served as North American director of NewThing, a global church-planting organization. Additionally, he partnered with two gifted technology developers to create Gyve, an innovative generosity development tool for churches and nonprofits.