Giving to the church is a vital part of stewarding the resources God has provided, and online giving is a simple way to participate in what God is doing. Giving allows churches to share the good news while helping meet the needs of people in your community and across the world. Some popular ways churches accept contributions include physical donations or cash, organizing fundraisers, and even selling coffee or items from a bookstore. Another effective form of church giving is online giving.
Electronic giving has become increasingly popular as more people turn to donating from their computers and cellphones rather than handling paper money. But traditional revenue streams aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, so it’s important you know about all viable options when looking at the ways your church accepts financial contributions.
The Latest Church Giving Trends
Here are some church giving trends in the 21st century and some suggestions for what your church needs to think about to encourage generosity and maintain a strong donor base through uncertain economic times.
Tithes And Offerings Are Down Across The Country
Data from the U.S. nonprofit sector shows charitable giving rose in 2017 but total contributions to religious organizations went down. Religious tithes and offerings as a percentage of all donations is less than a third of what it was 30 years ago. While there are likely many contributing factors, some of the declines in religious giving may be attributed to the growing secularization of society.
When people give less money to the church, they are also likely not to volunteer or attend services on a regular basis, which cuts off valuable revenue streams and opportunities for outreach in your community.
One solution for your church could be establishing partnerships with secular nonprofits to do good in your community. Integrating with your community helps build your presence as a force for good in the neighborhood. This sentiment often attracts more membership as well as more giving. Focusing on being good stewards instead of fundraising will also help promote better feelings within the congregation, which may translate into increased generosity over time.
Most Christians Don’t Donate To Their Church
Most Christians don’t actually give financially. A survey of Christian church members found that fewer than a third claimed they gave any money at all in the previous year, and only 14% said they donated more than $500 per month on average.
The Largest Demographic Of Donors Who Give To Their Local Church
A recent study by Nonprofits Source found that the wealthier the church member, the higher percentage of income they likely contributed to their respective churches in a given year.
The most significant portion of church giving comes from individual donors over age 50. Almost one-third come from this demographic alone. This trend is not only true for the church. The same pattern can be seen in higher education, with elderly alumni giving the majority of donations to universities.
This trend toward more traditional means of tithing, as well as a drive to be more philanthropic with one’s money (in addition to volunteering time), are indicative of the maturation process most individuals go through before they enter retirement age.
However, teaching about giving and encouraging generosity from up-and-comers, no matter how young, establishes the foundation for greater offline and online giving in the future as people deepen their relationship with God and your worship community.
Church Contributions And Membership Are Declining
Some church congregations have been growing significantly, but not all of them. A 2012 study by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research found that more than half of American congregations are shrinking or steady-state (neither growing nor shrinking), and about 22% reported signs of decline. That means only about one out of five churches are actually seeing growth.
There seems to be a clear correlation between fewer members and fewer contributions. However, when many members don’t give, that also reduces available funds. Even if most people aren’t decreasing what they’re giving, it’s not enough to make up for those who do give less as their income decreases during retirement years.
Your church leadership would do well to remind congregants of the lessons from Malachi in the Old Testament: “‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’” says the LORD Almighty, “‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it’” (Malachi 3:10).
Online Giving Is On The Rise
Fortunately for your church leadership, the use of technology to give to charities and nonprofits is on the rise. The largest organizations are seeing an increase in online giving that is outpacing the growth of offline donations.
Ministries can utilize this trend by keeping members updated on how much money has been raised through online contributions and prominently displaying donation goals or milestones, which could prompt even greater generosity from churchgoers.
For many people, online giving is by far the best choice. It’s much more convenient than going down to a physical location and dropping off a donation in person. Plus, it opens up new ways for ministries to network with their broader communities.
Some congregations see between a 50% and 100% increase in donations through digital giving campaigns. On top of that, our culture has become so accustomed to using credit cards that people don’t often have cash on hand when they attend a service. Not offering online giving options is a big miss for many ministries struggling to raise funds in a poor economy.
How To Make Your Church’s Online Giving Program More Efficient And Successful
Have you found that it’s a hassle collecting electronic donations for your church? Aplos takes care of it all! It integrates all your data in one secure location to save you time and money. This means more time and freedom so the focus is on connecting people with God’s message.
Aplos’ online giving platform also allows for donations to be processed in a paperless manner, reducing the administrative cost of processing credit card transactions and virtually eliminating mailings, envelopes, check payments, or cash. The person who is donating does not have to worry about sending money via snail mail because it’s all done electronically through Aplos.
After you’ve collected your online donations, you’ll need a way to manage the financials. Aplos offers online accounting, budgeting, and church management software that will help you stay on top of your finances with ease.