The Digital Offering

The Digital Offering

The offering is not dead; it’s different. It has been my new mantra and theme of the last few issues of The Stewardship Coach. I’ve been contending that the why of the offering hasn’t changed. What has changed is the how. In 2011, only 14% of churches offered online giving. Thanks to Covid, now few churches lack some type of digital giving. I want to conclude my series on the offering with this edition of the Coach entitled, The Digital Offering. One major reason for the digital offering is the rise of the smartphone.

Long before Covid hit our shores, Americans were moving away from cash and checks, and even away from plastic, as their primary means of commerce. With the rise of Covid and its continued impact, digital commerce accelerated. Consider these statistics …

  • 3.5 billion smartphone users exist globally, many of whom have more than one smartphone. Almost 1/3 of every person worldwide owns a smartphone, with over 80% of U.S. adults owning a smartphone.
  • 80% of shoppers use a mobile phone in a physical store. If they use it in stores, why not inside your church?
  • 58 times a day is the average amount an internet user checks their phone daily. Is your site worth checking?
  • 90% of media time is spent on mobile devices in apps.1. Does your church have an app?

If you think the offering hasn’t changed, consider this fact:

49% of tithers donate with credit cards or other electronic payment services.2.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the point, smartphones are here to stay, and we must figure out how best to use them in church life, especially when it comes to offering times. The big question is what are you to do about these facts? Here are my thoughts and suggestions. The first step is to,

Recognize what has changed about collecting the offering and adapt accordingly. The change in commerce is already in process. It’s past time to adjust our thinking and strategies. Here are some facts we must embrace.

  • The offering has moved beyond the walls of your church. Just as you have been forced to embrace live streaming and on-campus worship, we must have the same kind of thinking and planning when it comes to the offering.
  • Online giving has created an offering plate that never closes. People can now give 24/7/365 from anywhere that has Internet access. Thus, we must have a 24/7/365 message and platform that allows us to connect our vision to giving.
  • There are multiple ways by which people give. People love options, so don’t put all your eggs in one basket! Today it is imperative to have a multi-channel communication and collection strategy. Effective churches tell their story through the Web, social media, and other channels. At the same time, we must provide multiple ways by which we collect the offering. The easier you make it for people to give, the more apt they are to give.

Recognize what hasn’t changed when it comes to the offering. Processes change but not principles.

  • Giving is worship. Christians are both commanded to give and compelled to give. We give because God’s Word tells us to give. We also give because the love of Christ compels us. This is one of our acts of worship that helps grow us into maturity in Christ. Offerings have been, and must always be, a part of the Christian experience.
  • People give to a compelling story. I have taught for years that to increase giving you need to cast your vision compellingly through stories of life change. I call that connecting the dots. Here are a few points to consider as you plan out your story.
    • Connect the dots for people by casting continually a compelling vision/story of why people should give to your church. The more compelling the story the more effective the result.
    • Have an online giving platform that matches how your people do commerce.
    • Design your webpage so that online giving is highlighted and easy to find and use.
    • Design an app making it easier to connect with your members and thus making it easier for them to give.
    • Create social media platforms to tell your story with clickable links to your giving portals.
    • Enlist a team dedicated to crafting your message and communicating it through all platforms.
    • Keep telling your story AND point people towards the ways to give to support that story!

Doing these things consistently will help increase giving at your church. Remember, the offering isn’t dead, it’s digital!


Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach

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