Tim Stevens, Jim Sheppard, and Holly Tate on Practical Ways Churches Can Deal With Decreased Giving in the Age of Coronavirus

These are unprecedented times, and just as the economy is uncertain, the “economy” of many churches and nonprofits are also uncertain as giving falls off, but financial obligations stay constant. It’s easy (and partly correct) to blame the pandemic, but the foundation and culture of a church’s online giving system before COVID-19 is what is directly impacting their experience now. 

Only 60% of church attenders are willing to give digitally, and only 49% of church giving is done with a credit or debit card. Because of this, it is crucial to not only implement online giving in your church but also to do it well. Churches need to provide clear instructions to their communities when they begin to implement it. People tend to like habits, so if your members are used to giving with checks and cash, you want to make sure they know exactly how to give electronically as well.

There are three keys for churches seeking to implement or improve online giving in the age of COVID-19

1. Anchor your key givers

Churches often hesitate when it comes to segmenting givers. However, churches typically have “giving leaders,” and most of the time, they are staff or volunteers. It is always good to pour into your staff and volunteers even when we are not facing a crisis, but a time of crisis like this is also a perfect time to reach out to them.

Make it a priority to genuinely check on your key givers and make sure they are OK. Refrain from using this time to ask them for something. Chances are if you notice a decrease in gifts from your top givers, it’s as much on their mind as it is yours. Give them grace and love them through this challenging time.

2. Conduct your offering effectively in the online church environment

There is a correlation between the quality of the online giving experience and church revenue. Churches must create a focused and special offering moment online. The fewer assumptions people have to make with online giving, the more comfortable they will become with new ways of giving. It’s necessary for churches to have as many ways to give as possible. It may not be the most cost-efficient, but it is worth it to invest in the ways people will use the most.

3. Communicate with your most engaged people

Make sure your community knows how to engage with your church. Utilize your social media pages, emails and website. That way, everyone will know how they can get in touch and stay informed about what your church is doing. This connection is vital so your members can remain engaged and feel supported.

If your church is not used to employing a lot of technology, there is no better time than right now to give it a try! It’s crucial to meet your congregation where they are while also being agile. Speed isn’t the main thing churches need right now. Churches need a sense of normalcy and consistency.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Tim Stevens, Jim Sheppard, and Holly Tate