The ‘WHY’ Behind Your Church’s Need for Mobile and Online Giving in 2017

Online giving, mobile giving, and text giving are MAJOR topics in the Church!

But why?

Churches shouldn’t make huge financial decisions just because everyone is hopping on the latest and greatest trends, right?

But, if you dig a little and pay attention to the world of payments and consumer habits, you’ll find information that will serve you well as you think about making the move to digital giving.

We understand that this a major decision, so let’s look at some useful information on the topic of “church giving” in our minds. Sound good? Oh, and be sure to comment below with any questions or feedback.

1. Cash and check are on the decline.

Nearly 80% of Americans carry under $50 cash in their wallet and 9% don’t carry cash at all! The fed shows the number of checks used continues to fall, falling in between 4-6% a year since 2000 (see chart below). In fact, 74% of Americans say they write no more than one check per month and millennials don’t even know what a checkbook is!

Oh, and it is predicted that by 2025, 75% of all transactions will be made without cash. That’s ONLY 9 years away people!

The church issue: 86% of church giving still happens via check yet traditional tithing envelopes don’t work for an entire generation. Churches are one of not-to-many “industries” that still relies on cash and check while many others have moved to digital forms of transacting.

2. Mobile is here to stay.

Ericsson says that by 2020, 90% of the world’s population over 6 years old will have a mobile phone with internet access. Mobile phones are so pervasive that, according to Pew Research, like me, 44% of American adults slept with their phone last night.

Beyond more and more people owning a mobile phone with internet access, mobile payments continue to grow at an incredibly fast pace. It’s was predicted that over 4.8 billion people would be using a mobile phone by the end of 2016 and that 39% of all U.S. mobile users made a mobile payment in 2015. TrendOne reports that mobile based payments are growing over 60% a year and will reach nearly $275 Billion by 2021.

The church issue: Only 7% of churches in the US offer a way to give via a mobile device and only 8.2% of all faith-based fundraising came through online methods in 2016. Churches are falling further and further behind while society goes mobile.

3. People are being trained to pay on their phone.

If these above stats haven’t made you start to seriously considering online and mobile giving for your church, then I don’t know what will.

Apple, Starbucks, Amazon, Uber, Pizza Hut, Acorn, Digit, and many others have begun training churchgoers to use their mobile phones to do everything from buying coffee and TVs to taking a cab, ordering pizza, and managing their personal finances.

If Apple makes it as simple as 1-click to purchase a new movie from iTunes, then it better be as simple for your members to give to their local church.

Your audience is being shown how simple it can be in their everyday lives, and will soon expect the same type of mobile giving experience from the churches they attend.

4. People miss church.

There are lots of reasons people miss church. Kids sick, family vacation, mom is traveling for work, relatives in town, snowed and rained in, ahem … lack of motivation, or any number of other issues cause people to miss church. And when members miss a service, church revenue declines. Am I right?

Here’s the thing though, no matter where your church members are, you can almost bet on the fact that they’ll have their mobile phone in their hand (or pocket). See the “Mobile is here to stay” point above if you don’t believe me.

Take advantage of that and train the to give on the go, anywhere, and at any time.

5. Younger generations are different.

Millennials give more than they get credit for, but they do it differently.

84% of millennials made a charitable donation in 2014 and over half of them give monthly to a cause they support, according to the Millennial Impact Report.

Barna says that 39% of Christian Millennials donate to a church or faith organization online at least once a month and 20% of practicing Christian Millennials donate monthly via text message. The report goes on to say that …

“Millennials are giving, yet technology is changing how they give. In fact, Millennial generosity, for the most part, has gone paperless.” 

Beyond the desire to be personally connected to a cause, see the tangible impact they make, and participate in doing this work amongst their peers, millennials just don’t own or carry a checkbook.

Your turn.

Nearly every person walking through your church doors is holding a smartphone in hand. They’ve already purchased their coffee, checking Insta, bought that new “thing” on Amazon, and texted 17 friends prior to showing up at church.

While there with you they’re checking their kids into kids care, reading the bible, fact checking and commenting on sermons, and taking notes. Oh, and texting 22 of their friends, 12 of which are sitting in the same room.

Will you make it simple for members to support the great work you’re doing by empowering them with a simple to use mobile church giving solution. Or will they have to reach into their pocketbooks only to remember that they’ve left their checkbook at home for the third week in a row?

It’s your choice.


This post was written by Dean Sweetman, CEO of Tithely, an online and app based solution for payment processing. Software that allows non-profits and charities to raise money easily, any where, any time. 

We trust Tithely for online giving and apps. You should too.

Learn more about Tithely