A recent article in Bloomberg Business Week described a growing trend among some congregations to offer a variety of digital tools for donors: "Twenty-somethings don't carry cash... and what, exactly, is a personal check?"
More and more people, especially younger adults, use mobile payment apps such as PayPal and Venmo, as well as one-tap payment options such as those offered by Uber and Amazon.
Nonprofits are learning that when people are ready to make a donation, they want it to be easy. Organizations only equipped to receive donations by cash and check or even by credit card on the website may be inadvertently excluding people - and also leaving money on the table.
Some congregations are moving to services that offer integrated mobile, text and online donation options with administrative software to manage all donations, including the standard cash and checks. Some of these services, like Tithely charge a per-donation fee (a $100 donation yields $96.80), while others like PushPay charge the congregation a monthly fee (starting at $49).
Staff and members over the age of 40 are sometimes resistant to these changes. Congregations also struggle with the question of what to do when the offering plate is passed in worship. But there are solutions to these barriers. For example, some congregations are offering printed cards that read "I gave online."
Would one of these donation tools make a difference in your congregation? Contact the Center for Congregations for more information about donation options or how to start a conversation about making these kinds of changes.