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Electronic Giving Increases Offerings

"We have families give exclusively online," says Rev. Mark Tracy, who serves Clark United Methodist Church. "It is the way folks will give, more and more, in the future."

Clark United Methodist Church in South Dakota is utilizing Vanco payment solutions for people to give electronically.  Tracy says, "We have pew cards that folks can use to donate from their phones."

The congregation investigated electronic giving solutions and did not hesitate. They "just pulled the trigger," Tracy said. They did not face any challenges.

Fewer people today are using cash and checks for their financial transactions. As a result, churches have an opportunity to expand their giving opportunities. This is not about credit-card giving which could lead members into debt. Many companies offer "debit only" giving that eliminates this worry and presents a chance to overcome giving obstacles.

Darby Jones, writing for United Methodist Communications, outlines several reasons churches should offer online giving options. Here are few reasons:

  • Giving is a biblical mandate. Being a disciple of Jesus Christ means giving of one's self faithfully and regularly. Churches need to support a variety of ways to let this happen.
  • Checks are becoming outdated. Some people don't even carry checkbooks, and cash in the offering plate is no longer tax-deductible without documentation. Do not limit people's options when technology grants so many other options such as debit cards and Smartphone apps to transfer funds.
  • Some church attendees don't attend worship. Think about all the people serving in the nursery or who choose only to attend a Sunday school class. Again, you lose their contributions when you limit their options.

Gavin Richardson, United Methodist Communications, outlines options available for a new type of offering plate today.

  • Easy Titheallows you to integrate online giving within their giving kiosk, which are monitor or computer terminal set ups.
  • Secure Give offers unique payment options to go along with their full service features.
  • Giving Kiosk is actually a brand name to a company, though many companies in the marketplace use the term 'giving kiosk' as service options. 
  •  PayPal may have the easiest set-up of any online merchant service provider. You can set up a business account for free and start taking in donations in minutes.
  • Vanco Services is used by many United Methodist churches through their UMEFT partnership (United Methodist Electronic Funds Transfer). Through their service, you can develop a custom portal page through which members can safely give.

Dakota Annual Conference website

United Methodist Church Giving is about people working together to accomplish something bigger than themselves. In so doing, we effect change around the world, all in the name of Jesus Christ. To read stories about the generosity of United Methodists click here.

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