Offering Options - Offline & Online Giving
Many churches have asked about options for giving during a time when we do not have public gatherings. Below are some resources that you may find beneficial starting points as you investigate this issue moving forward. We will not be looking at the Theology of Giving just the practical impact of giving in a COVID-19 season.
Communication and Budgeting
Most importantly is to communicate with the church either through Email, letters, livestream, text message etc. Let people in the church understand why we give and how the ongoing costs of a church do not stop just because it does not meet. This is a great opportunity to re communicate the vision of the church, outline the activities and support the church will be offering and also re communicate the budget of the church.
The budget is another area that the church should take time to re-evaluate. Understand that offerings will more than likely reduce and re-evaluate what will be impacted by the Corona virus. Look at the forecast expenditure and honestly evaluate what is going to be possible this year and what will can be put off until next year. Re-establish a true budget moving forward to cover costs that cannot be changed and use this to communicate to the church.
Firstly, I will touch on Offline giving. Many people still give this way and just because we are physically distancing does not mean that physical giving is out of the question. Some options to facilitate this may be:
- Commitment Letters / Cards – Write to the church and ask for them to make a pledge or a commitment to giving over this period.
- A Jar or Container – A simple idea like putting your offering in a jar or a container at home and bringing it to church when you return can also ensure contributions are continued to be made. This can be built into any live streaming that you are doing.
- Set up Direct Deposit from Bank – Physical givers can also organise giving through direct deposit over this period by visiting their local bank branch. Though if elderly phone bnking may be a better option.
A lot of churches already have online giving as part of their church function and the current situation creates a great opportunity to increase use of online or electric giving. Below are some options that may assist in this transition.
- Account Transfer – The simplest form of electronic giving is the communication of the church BSB and account number to people in the church who can then set up transfers through their bank into your account. They can also set up recurring transfers to make remembering to tithe easier.
- BFS GIVEWAY – www.giveway.org.au
GiveWay is a payment portal operated by Baptist Financial Services for offerings, donations and other types of payments for Church activities or
appeals. Churches are not charged any merchant fees to use these facilities for offerings – a merchant rate of 0.8% applies for other payments.
- Donation Platforms and Payment Gateways
There are several online platforms that make it easy to set up online giving however you will need to pay transaction fees and often a platform fee.
The technology is often set up into 2 different sections – The payment gateway & the donations platform.
- Payment gateways – This serves the function of moving the money from the bank of the tither to the church account. It takes care of the tricky parts including merchant set up and security and you pay a small transaction fee each time it is used. The most common and easy to integrate are:
- Donations Platforms – This serves the function of presenting the transaction process in an easy to use format and manages the donation functions through the payment gateway. It can be done through several platforms however several are highlighted below:
- Existing Website – Depending on your technical ability and the CMS (Content Management System) you are using, it may be possible to add a plugin to your existing site or use the online store you have already. How this will work will vary depending on your system. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions regarding this and we will endeavour to assist you.
- The setup of the Payment gateways and Donation Platform – For all the systems mentioned the process is quite simple and each provider offers excellent support. However if you have any issues please feel free to email email@example.com and we will endeavour to assist you.
- Existing Merchant Facilities – Many churches will already be using merchant facilities either POS or online. These can often be adapted for offering functionality however it would be best to speak with your provider for detail on these.
This document will be updated from time to time with more information. In the meantime, you can find out more from these resource pages:
A Youth & Young Adult Pastors group to share resources and ministry ideas.