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How to Maintain Giving Through a Gradual Church Reopening

How to Maintain Giving Through a Gradual Church Reopening
Written by Mark Steinbrueck

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May is Reopening Church Month at OurChurch.Com.  This month we are discussing what churches should do as the country gradually begins to reopen and people begin to get back to doing some activities outside of their homes.

One of the challenges that some churches have faced during COVID-19 has been the financial impact of lower giving numbers because people have not been attending church in person.  Many churches had online giving as an option before the pandemic, while other churches introduced online giving as a result of it.  There may be some churches that still do not offer online giving, in which they have likely felt the biggest financial impact.

Today, we are going to discuss the importance of online giving, how to implement it, and how to prevent giving slumps when people are not attending church in person.

  1. Importance of Online Giving: As we have seen over the past few months, churches have not been able to meet in person.  This means that unless members of the congregation are mailing in their offerings, the only way to give is online.  Hopefully your church offers your members the ability to give online or through an app.  Offering this option is important not only when in the middle of a pandemic, but also for when people travel for business or vacation, or cannot attend church in person because of work or illness.
  2. How to implement Online Giving: If you don’t already offer online giving, there is no better time than the present to do that.  OurChurch.Com has a partnership with an online giving organization who focuses on online giving for churches and Christian ministries.  They are perfect for small churches because they don’t charge a monthly fee and there processing rates are in line with what most processing companies charge.  If you have a website with OurChurch.Com, we will do the heavy lifting for you.  If you don’t already have a SSL certificate on your website, purchasing a SSL will be the first step (we offer it for less than $10/mo).  That encrypts all the information transmitted to/from your website.  After that, all you need to do is fill out the Online Giving form in your MyOCC account.  We will take care of the rest.  We will even add the “Give” page to your website and add the online giving form to that page.
  3. Encourage Automatic Recurring Giving: Even with offering online giving, church members may forget to give when they are not attending in person.  That is why it is so important to urge your members to set up automatic recurring giving.  Doing this will automatically make their contribution according to the settings the giver specifies (every week or every month).  After this is done, the contribution is made automatically, whether the giver is physically attending church, watching online, or away on vacation.

Some churches are resistant to online giving because they are worried about the expense of processing fees and they don’t want their members to use credit cards which can lead to very costly debt with high interest rates.  Those are valid concerns but there are ways to address each of those:

  1. How to minimize processing fees:  Churches can minimize processing fees by encouraging people to give using their checking account instead of using credit or debit cards.  The fees for processing electronic checking transactions are about 1/3 of what it costs to process credit or debit card transactions.  Churches can also offer their members the option of covering the processing fees for the church.
  2. How to prevent members from going into credit card debt from giving online:  Just like above, encouraging people to give using their checking account instead of using credit or debit cards is the best way to do this.  In fact, churches have the options of limiting the way members can give online to only electronic check.  This eliminates the possibility of people incurring credit card debt for their church contributions.

You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.   2 Corinthians 9:11

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If you have more questions about giving online, you can contact our support team or read more information here.

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About the author

Mark Steinbrueck

Mark Steinbrueck is President and Co-founder of OurChurch.Com. He is a member of Generations Christian Church, a husband and father of 3. He is a huge Cardinals baseball fan and bleeds Garnet and Gold. Find on Google+.

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