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Inspiring Generosity: Digital Giving: The New Normal - Part 1

Have you ever been to a webinar? They're pretty great. In about an hour you can learn from experts about an interesting topic, all from the comfort of your own home. And, if for some reason you find your mind wandering, you can check Facebook, look at your email, or go get a snack. Of course, I would never, ever do something like that. I am a focused, focused student. Squirrel.

I recently attended the webinar, "Four Digital Giving Trends that will Shape Your Church in 2018." It was produced by echurch in conjunction with the Dunham Company. Echurch is a branch of the mobile giving company, Pushpay. Here's what I learned:

Trend #1: On-line giving is growing. In 2015 42% of churches offered on-line giving. By 2017, that number had grown to 74%. The biggest gain was among churches with an attendance of 200 or less. Digital giving is now a reality in most churches. It's not seen as "odd" or "unusual." It just is.

Trend #2: Digital givers give 33% more each month than non-digital givers. The increase in generosity comes from these three things:

  • Ease and accessibility allow the church to tap into untapped generosity.
  • Digital tools help people act on their intentions. If someone doesn't have their checkbook or any cash in their wallet, the Square or a mobile app still lets them participate in giving. Fun fact: More than 20% of Millennials (born between 1997–2000) have never written a check.
  • Spontaneous generosity requires spontaneous tools.

Trend #3: There is room for growth. Only 15% of church giving comes in digitally. For churches with congregation sizes greater than 200, that number increases to 22%.

Trend #4: Mobile financial transactions outweigh non-mobile transactions. For every $10 given through non-mobile means, $17 is given through a smartphone or a tablet. Here are some mind-blowing things to consider:

  • Mobile shopping outspent desk-top shopping during the 2017 holiday season
  • One out of two Matures (someone born before 1945) uses a smart phone or a tablet
  • One out of ten people have given a donation through their smart phone

Bottom line, Digital giving is not a fad. It's here to stay.

That means that if you don't currently offer mobile or electronic giving, it needs to become a priority. Get in the mindset that you should let people give in a way that they want (as opposed to the way you want or wish they would give).

How people show generosity comes in all sizes and in all ways. Just as passing the offering plate each week has been an expression of generosity for decades, going to the Square or giving via a smartphone can also be a sincere expression of a generous spirit. Pretty soon, pulling a phone out during the offering time won't be seen as rude…it'll be a time to say, "Thank you, Jesus!"

Cesie Delve Scheuermann, consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing stewardship/development, Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.

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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