Offering Plate?

Don’t look now but the offering plate might well be on the way out. A few months back I first wrote about how in the near future offering plates might have devices that would allow donors to simply wave their smart phones in front of them to record their gift. Some readers were sketical, some thought the idea would destroy the sanctity of the offering and others wanted to know more. Ready or not the future is here!

This past week newspapers across the country reported that more than a dozen big merchants like Wal-Mart are working to develop mobile payment networks. In part they are doing this to challlenge Google’s similar mobile payment plan called Google Wallet. The concept is to allow consumers to pay for their purchases by using their smartphones. Truly the wave of the future is that smartphones will replace wallets.

The Wall Street Journal stated about this issue, “While few shoppers use their phones as mobile-payment devices, industry executives are convinced that consumers eventually will be just as comfortable buying with their phones as they now are when using credit cards and debit cards.”

Consider these facts as stated in the same article…

Clearly we are on the cusp of a revolutionary change in how commerce takes place.

So, what about the churhes response to this? Like most things the church is behind the times. In 2011 it was found that only 14% of US churches offered online giving. We are utilizing a collection tool that came on the scene fully around 1900. Weekly we are attemting to fund our minstries with tools that few of our donors are using, checks and cash. If the church doesn’t change its methods of collection it runs the risk of losing money.

To meet the future that is now upon us the church must…

One of my favorite stories about the effectiveness of online giving comes from a client church whose pastor told me, “Online giving has helped us even out our summer giving. We no longer have the huge swings of donations when people are on vacation. Fifty percent of what we take in weekly comes from online giving. Online giving has taken the panic out of Monday morning!” This churches annual budget is around $250K. If a church this size can see the necessity of operating with 21st century technology any church can and should do the same.

Offering plates with smartphone readers might be a few years off. However online commerce is already here and being successfully used by churches across the country. It is easy and cost effective to set up. If your church does not have online giving you are missing out on an opportunity to increase your donations. Get started today assuring your church is in the 21st century of commerce.

Mark Brooks

Founder and President

The Charis Group and Charis Giving Solutions