Grace News & Good Ideas
|to give or not to give...|
|-> Many 20-year olds have checking accounts but have never written a check|
-> A growing number of households handle ALL their financial activities electronically
-> For many who travel more frequently, weekly offering is becoming a forgotten item
-> A growing number of people don't carry cash
So how do we encourage and facilitate people's financial stewardship? There is no single and final answer to this conversation. But it is a conversation that needs to take place as to whether we are allowing people in our congregation the options that are most helpful to foster regular stewardship. Here are some of the options churches are adding to the weekly offering plate:
1.EFT (Electronic Fund Transfer). Working through the church's bank, arrangements can be made so that funds can automatically be deducted from your account according to your preference and deposited in the church account. There is a very small fee and the increased donations usually off-set this method. This is for people who want to give regularly but don't want to arrange for it each week.
2.Online donation. This is usually set up through the church's website and there are many internet options available. You can usually set them up for as many different funds as you want people to have options to give to. This works very well for people who like to give in person but want the option if they are traveling or are sick. There is a small fee for each interaction. These are very easy to use.
3.Giving machines. Some larger churches are using giving machines that are strictly for giving to that church. They are usually placed in the lobby and people who don't have cash can use a debit or credit card and make an immediate donation. These machines are usually for purchase and run currently between $2500 and $3000.
4.ATM machines. A growing number of churches are placing ATM machines in the lobby for people who don't carry cash or write checks. This gives them the option of taking out what they want to give before they go through the door. (It is good to have envelopes available for people to get tax credits for their cash offerings.)
In response to the concern that people will not feel a part of the Sunday morning offering because they already gave, many churches provide generic envelopes or cards that have "I gave electronically" (or something similar) printed on them that people can put in the offering plate to feel a part of the giving moment.
Almost all of these methods have demonstrated increased giving within churches that are using them. But not every method is right for every church.Whatever you choose, it is a good on-going conversation as a part of how we continue to foster regular stewardship among our people. It is not enough to teach our people that they should steward their resources. We need to give them tools by which to do so.
You will be enriched in every way, so that you can always be generous. II Corinthians 9:11