We released text to give in early 2017. To get an idea about what difference text to give is making in churches 2 years later, I researched giving over the past six months in five churches that have been intentional in using online and text giving as part of their stewardship development strategy.
Here is a summary of that research.
I didn’t look at demographics such as age, race, location, denomination or worship style. Since these 5 churches represent a broad spectrum of all of these I would assume that the average is a good representation of what’s happening at the front edge of online and text giving in churches across the board.
First of all, it is interesting to recognize that online and text giving average over 60% of total receipts. Just a few years ago we were encouraging churches to set a goal of 30% for online giving. That has more than doubled for these churches in a very short period of time.
Secondly, online giving behavior parallels traditional giving by check. Overall just over 80% of total giving comes from a combination of check and online giving. These are the ways your core donors who plan their giving prefer to give. They prepare their giving ahead of time by writing checks when they get paid or going online and setting up their donation. Encouraging donors to set up recurring giving helps them automate giving consistency and increases overall giving.
In all 5 of these churches online giving has already exceeded the percentage of giving by check. In 2 of the 5 online exceeds checks by 300%. That is significant!
Thirdly, text giving behavior parallels traditional giving by cash. Together they make up just under 20% of total giving. It appears from this research that text giving is the ecommerce version of cash giving. If this is true then it can help your church in ways similar to how cash giving helps. It helps with more spontaneous donations from guests, regular attenders who have not yet developed the habit of consistent giving, and regular donors responding to a specific appeal.
In 2 of these 5 churches text to give has already surpassed the percentage of income from cash. As our society becomes more and more cashless, this trend is only going to continue.
Think of text to give as the digital version of passing the plate with the added benefit of a built-in option to set up recurring giving.
I asked leaders from these 5 churches three questions. Here are those questions along with a couple of responses for each.What role does text to give play in your giving strategy?
“At our church we are noticing that all ages have been accepting of it. Some of the older ones we have to walk through the process the first time.”
“I would say about 60 percent of our congregation gives electronically now. It applies to all ages now. A couple of years ago when it was new technology mainly the younger generation but now all ages are giving. The smart phone has helped.”How do you promote it?
“It is promoted in our weekly bulletins, monthly magazine and a giving slide shown on the main screen in the sanctuary during our offering time. It is also listed as an option on our church tithing envelopes.”
“We promote it on our website and on our app. Also, while taking the offering we put a graphic behind the speaker that tells people they can put their offering in the bucket or give by text or the website.”Why do you like it?
“Ease of use for our church members and more cost effective for the church staff.”
“It’s the world we live in and people are able to give at any time. Some people give the same day they get paid.”
The percentage of income that comes from different methods is built in to the Financial Summary report that you can run for any period of time in Churchteams. Go to Reports / Financial and choose this option, then run the report for January 1, 2019 to June 30, 2019 to see how the giving in your church compares to these. What insights do you get? What questions does it raise?
Share these with us and other CT raving fans in our Facebook Forum. Together we’ll continue to learn how to better use technology to grow the church.