It seems like just a few short years ago when Google was a word people laughed at and almost no one thought people would ever feel comfortable doing their banking online. I was one of a group of five people who launched an online fundraising site in 1999. I still chuckle when I think of the early reactions we had at conferences. Here are some that still stand out:
- “Giving online can’t be safe!”
- “People don’t want to give in such an impersonal way.”
- “The Internet is from the devil!” (My personal favorite!)
Those mindsets were the norm just 15 short years ago. Today, the integration of digital and online technology into our wallets is part of our daily reality. And, those occasional security breaches don’t stop the momentum one bit!
As church leaders, we can’t ignore people’s giving habits. We need to reach people where they are. There are some changing behaviors we really can’t avoid any longer if we want to encourage good stewardship and generosity.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to discuss some of the biggest trends and changes in church generosity with Rich Birch, Randy Ongie and Derek Gillette.
Today, I wanted to recap four trends that were mentioned during the webinar that you should consider carefully:
Four Truths of Next Generation Generosity
- Churches offering online and mobile giving are seeing the use of these technologies increase by double digits. The growth of online and mobile giving is not surprising. The fact that people are giving more through those venues than they give offline is. Many people are trying to figure out why this is. I say, “Who cares!” Let’s just make sure we take advantage of it and fund more ministry as a result.
- Today’s growing church is reaching a younger demographic and has high involvement in electronic giving. A lot of churches aren't growing. The ones that are know they must adapt to new preferences and attitudes. Many churches using Church Community Builder tell us that more than 50 percent of their giving is done electronically! People are giving to their churches in the same manner as they pay bills and make purchases. Younger people, in particular, aren’t carrying cash or checkbooks. Without mobile or online giving options in place, you may never release their potential to fund your mission.
- Non-integrated donor church management software processes make it easy to miss ministry opportunities. When you cannot or choose not to connect digital giving tools to your church management system, you can easily miss changes in giving patterns that indicate a potential life change or crisis. You also eliminate a very critical component of a holistic discipleship process. Giving is not a data silo you want to tolerate in your church.
- Cash gifts are less than five percent of offerings at most churches. Passing the offering plate is still important, but if we don’t provide a full menu of giving options, we are going to miss out ... big time! Kiosks, mobile apps, and online giving are all critical to a stable ministry funding strategy.
In order to effectively reach our communities with the Gospel, our approach must adapt even as our message remains the same. This must also be true of how we encourage and support the generosity of the people God draws to our ministry. If you’re still resisting the habits of the digital generation, you’re simply limiting the impact of your outreach. To learn more about leveraging technology to engage younger givers, check out our free resource NextGen Generosity.