Can your church benefit from using a text-to-give platform, or are there better options?
Based on a recent survey in 2018, giving to religious organizations (churches, missionaries, and other ministries) has consistently been America's single largest recipient of charitable giving. However, that doesn't mean that all Christians have been obedient to the calling of selfless giving. That same survey found that only 5% of Christians give 10% of their income and nearly 80% of all Christians only give 2% of their income. How can we encourage giving in our churches and make it easier for people to give?
Is Text-to-Give Worth It?
At first glance, it seems like a "cool" and trendy way to make giving simple. But, there are many pitfalls to text-to-give and many other options that may suit your church better.
Lack of Branding and Message
In a text-to-give platform, the individual is simply using their text message app on their phone. The same plain bland app they are used to for all of their messages. There's no where to place your logo, your church's name, any sort of branding, or any sort of message about your church, why it's important to give, or what the "tithe" is supposed to be.
The People Don't Want It
The same recent survey says that 49% of all church giving transactions were made with a credit/debit card, and that 60% of church goers are willing to give digitally. However, another recent survey found that while 54% of donors would prefer to give online using a credit/debit card (making it the most popular preference), only 1% of donors preferred to use a text-to-give platform.
Any platform that allows you to accept donations or payments charges a fee for each transaction. The most popular going rate for transaction fees in the U.S. and Canada is 2.9% plus a $0.30 flat fee for each transaction. This is an industry standard which is hard to avoid. However, it's also based on the amount received. With a text-to-give platform, in addition to the standard credit/debit processing fees, the ability to text also costs more. The cost-to-income ratio doesn't usually make it worth it.
What are the alternatives?
Perhaps one of the best ways to accept donations, payments, and encourage giving is through online payments rather than through text messaging. Most people have smartphones which are capable of browsing the internet, making it simple for anyone to give online from their phone or from a computer. Your church could even setup a giving kiosk or an iPad on a kiosk stand allowing people to give online right there.
The great thing about accepting donations and payments online for your church is that everyone is already paying online for everything else that they purchase anyway. People are used to it. It's the accepted norm of our society, and so it makes sense to also give online to your church or make payments online for events.
Through services, such as Connection Card, you can accept donations and payments online, either through a branded page on Connection Card's web site, or through your own web site. Donors are even able to setup automatic recurring gifts, which really encourages giving. For those who have a steady income and know they'll be giving each week or each month, this is a great way to increase giving. Life gets busy and it can be easy to forget to write a check each week.
Easy Tracking and Generating Receipts
The great part about using a service that's built for churches, such as Connection Card, to accept donations and payments online, is that all payment processing is fully integrated with your church management system. Payments and donations are automatically associated with a person's information record with your organization, and generating receipts (individual tax receipts or year-end tax receipts) becomes as simple as clicking a few buttons. You no longer have enter information for each gift manually and then add them up to create receipts. Just click "send" or "print", the receipt is already there! This saves you and your church staff time, allowing you to focus on ministry rather than administration.
What about those who are unwilling to give online?
When you accept donations and payments online, the beauty is that you aren't required to exclusively accept donations online. You can still accept them the old-fashioned way, with checks or cash. However, if you're fearful that online giving may be a deterrent to some, check out these statistics from a recent survey:
- 30% of donors over the age of 75 have given online in the last 12 months and on average give more often than younger generations.
- Donors over the age of 75 are more likely to use email and web browsing from a computer and less likely to use text messaging.
- Of all Baby Boomer donors, 49% are enrolling in a monthly giving program.
There are many ways to help promote and encourage giving within your church. We hope this article has helped you to narrow down the options and given you some helpful information to consider.