There are at least seven digital giving myths can prevent churches from making informed decisions, and it’s time to dispel them. Some of these myths discourage ministries from using technology to allow members to donate through various channels such as text messages, kiosks, apps, and websites.
On the other hand, some myths present an overly optimistic picture of how fast digital giving can grow a donation base. To overcome these myths, it’s crucial to set the record straight.
1. People Prefer to Tithe With Cash
When you were young, you might have seen deacons or other church members passing around collection plates for cash and checks to fund the church’s mission. However, assuming that people still prefer donating cash could hinder your ability to achieve your funding objectives.
People carry less cash than they once did
Research from U.S. Bank has shown that people carry less cash with them than they used to. In fact, 50% of consumers carry cash less than half of the time. Those who still carry money tend to have less than $50 on them.
As a result, it can be challenging for churches to collect donations if they continue to rely solely on cash-based methods.
To overcome this obstacle, ministries can use digital giving software to make it easier for their members to donate without needing to visit an ATM on Sunday mornings.
Digital giving makes tax time easier
Contributing to a church can assist individuals in decreasing their tax obligations. However, they can only benefit from this tax advantage if they itemize their deductions and keep records of them.
The IRS is known for being stringent when it comes to taxpayers. It requires proof before it acknowledges deductions. With digital giving, donors receive electronic receipts, enabling them to claim tax deductions without needing receipts from your office staff.
2. Churches Can’t Afford Digital Giving Software
Digital giving software companies charge fees to generate revenue. However, some churches may worry that the fees will be too costly for them to manage. In reality, this concern is often unfounded for most churches.
Increased donations make up for service fees
Although it’s true that using digital giving software will involve some fees, it’s important to keep in mind that the benefits can far outweigh the costs. In fact, many churches have found that implementing digital giving has led to an increase in overall contributions.
Expanding your giving options may attract more donors and compensate for the service fees charged by vendors. This means the net effect is an increase in the total amount of donations you receive.
Trustworthy processors try to keep fees low
Software companies that provide digital payment processing services recognize that charitable organizations may have limited resources. Consequently, the most reliable payment processors offer affordable fees to such organizations. These companies understand that while they need to earn money, they also need to support the growth of the churches they serve.
DonorWerx is an example of a payment processor that offers affordable digital payment services. The company provides ministries with a range of services and gives them control over the options they choose. Some of DonorWerx’s popular services include:
- Online giving
- Giving kiosks
You have the freedom to select the digital giving options that best suit your congregation with DonorWerx. Unwanted options are not imposed on you. This way, you can receive affordable fees for the giving software that meets your requirements.
3. Digital Giving Only Helps Large Churches
There is a common belief that digital giving software is only cost-effective for larger churches due to the monthly base price and small percentage charged for each donation. While it’s true that larger churches tend to bring in more donations due to their larger congregations, smaller ministries can benefit from using digital giving software as well.
By investing in this technology, small congregations can increase their donation intake and cover the monthly cost of the software quickly, even with a smaller membership.
Small churches get larger donor bases
By accepting digital donations, your church can expand its donor base. According to the Pew Research Center Religious Landscape Study, there has been a decline in church attendance and religious services recently.
Nowadays, people tend to visit the church a few times a year rather than every week. As a result, members of your congregation may not donate cash unless they attend a service.
Digital giving, on the other hand, allows them to make donations to your church even if they cannot attend Sunday service.
Former members can continue to give digitally
Even if former members of your church have relocated to a new neighborhood or city, they may still want to support and contribute to your ministry’s success. However, it can be difficult for them to visit and donate in person. By utilizing a digital giving platform, you can maintain a connection with these former members and encourage them to donate remotely.
Digital giving provides a way to increase your donations without requiring people’s physical presence. Former members who have moved on to other churches may still see the value in contributing to your ministry through digital giving.
4. Increased Donations Occur Immediately After Digital Giving Begins
Digital giving can bring exciting new opportunities for your church to receive donations. However, it’s important to keep your expectations realistic. While some members of your congregation may embrace the idea of text-to-give or donating through an app, others may be resistant.
Many will fall somewhere in between and may need some encouragement to try it out. You can promote the benefits of digital giving through newsletters, emails, text messages, and sermons.
The adoption of digital giving can vary widely from church to church, but as long as you continue to grow your overall donation base and bring in more money, it’s okay if some people prefer not to give digitally.
5. Tech-Savvy Members Are Young and Have No Money
The Federal Reserve conducted a study revealing that Millennials typically have less wealth than their parents, making it challenging for them to make major purchases (e.g., homes) or start families. As a result, some non-profit organizations believe that tech-savvy young people have limited funds to donate.
This perspective has led some to focus on older individuals who prefer cash donations. However, Millennials belong to a generous generation that enjoys contributing to charitable causes, despite their limited finances. They may have less wealth than their parents, but they are more likely to donate a higher percentage of their income to causes they care about.
Young donors are the future of the ministry
It’s essential for churches to engage with Millennials and younger generations. This is true even if they can’t donate as much as older generations. This is because young people will eventually earn more money and will become a valuable source of donations. By adopting digital donation software, you can encourage young people to develop the habit of giving.
If you don’t cater to their needs, they may find a different ministry that offers digital giving options. It’s crucial to embrace the future by creating a donor base that will continue to support your church in the years to come. Neglecting young people now could result in a lack of donations for your congregation for years into the future.
6. People Don’t Give Enough to Justify Digital Giving Tools
According to a survey by America Magazine, 25% of respondents donate $50 or more to their local parishes per week, which means they give at least $2,600 a year. Another 23% donate $21 to $30 per week, which comes to a minimum of $1,092 per year. Only 14% of congregants donate $5 or less per week.
Even if your church has donors who give $50 or more a week, investing in digital giving software is still affordable. With the lowest-cost DonorWerx plans, it only takes one of your $50+ donors to pay for the software, and it is more likely to expand your donation base.
Digital donations make it easy for people to increase their giving, especially for those who may not have enough cash on hand to donate larger sums. Using digital giving apps, you can remind members of your congregation to donate money and enable them to set up recurring donations. This way, you receive money from them whether or not they attend service that week.
Individual donations can quickly add up, and giving people more ways to donate can help increase the amount faster. It’s important to keep in mind that even if some members of your congregation cannot afford to donate large sums now, they may be able to in the future. Embracing digital giving can help cultivate a habit of giving and ensure ongoing support for your church.
7. Donors Who Donate Big Want to Use Checks
While some of your major donors prefer to give you checks, it should not be a reason to overlook digital giving. Checks offer convenience for tracking donations and enable large sums to be donated without carrying cash. However, this should not be used as a justification for not implementing digital giving.
All ministries need multiple revenue streams
Would you tell congregants you don’t want donations of a certain type because you prefer others? Of course not! It wouldn’t be reasonable to tell church members that they cannot donate cash just because you want checks.
Ministries understand the importance of having multiple streams of giving, including cash and check donations. It’s crucial to accept all forms of donations to keep the church funded and support the community.
Having multiple donation streams is more important than ever since the number of people identifying with any religion is declining. In 2018, 35% of the American population did not identify with any religion, and this number is growing among young people.
Over 40% of Americans between 18 and 44 identify as “nones,” making “no religion” the most popular religion among this group. While many of these young people may find their faith as they get older, churches must prepare for a future with fewer believers.
As the religious population shrinks, having as many donation streams as possible will be critical to the church’s financial success. Digital donations provide one more tool to reach the ministry’s financial goals, alongside traditional methods like cash and check donations.
Final Thoughts on Donations and Digital Giving Myths
By Scheduling a Free Discovery Call with DonorWerx, your church can explore new donation opportunities through digital giving options. This could potentially help your ministry thrive by discovering a new revenue source.