Introducing card and digital donations in your church
Introducing card and contactless donation boxes into your church can provide a considerable increase in regular income. We commonly see churches double their average collection total by implementing contactless collections into their fundraising strategy.
Whilst the concept may appear at first unusual, the reality is that churches and parishioners adapt to very quickly with some simple guidance. The idea of giving is already a normalised, so it is only a case of changing the method.
Card (and mobile) donations in today’s society are now a more convenient way to give. In general, there has been a considerable decrease in the use of cash and an increase in card payments across almost all industries and sectors globally. This has been accelerated even more with Covid-19. Fewer people carry money with every passing day, making the option to donate via card an almost essential requirement rather than a problematic proposition. No more searching down the back of the sofa for loose change!
In the near future, it is highly likely that cash donations will become a thing of the past and digital donations will become the standard method for free-will giving in every church.
Interesting fact: In total there were 726 million contactless card transactions in the UK in August 2019, a 13.7 per cent increase from 638m in the same month a year earlier
So how do you best introduce a contactless donation box to your congregation?
Information is key. It would help if you let everyone know that you plan to introduce it and when you plan to do it. We recommend giving at least a few weeks notice and regularly remind everyone in your announcements at each service. Some printed documentation, such as leaflets and posters, can also help.
Whilst it may be tempting to launch at a peak time such as Easter or Christmas, we recommend introducing at a regular period in the year. Or at least several weeks ahead of a peak period. This will allow you and your team to work out the best practices for your individual needs. Every church is different and may need to adjust their methods to suit.
When you announce to the congregation, it can be in an upbeat and fun way. We have found that the uniqueness of our products generate a natural curiosity, meaning that congregations tend to be quite receptive and keen to try them.
If you take advantage of Gift Aid, you should also mention it. Gift Aid is a valuable asset to any churches income, adding an extra 25% to the value of each donation.
Those donating need to enter information for Gift Aid once as our software will remember them in future our software makes Gift Aid very easy and generates HMRC approved reports, ready for you to submit to HMRC.
How do you manage the launch itself?
Contactless donations are straightforward but it the early stages of introduction we recommend having a team member who has used the system stand nearby to help first time users. When you have your device/s ready, it is good practice to show as many members of your stewardship team as possible how to use the system. That way, they can be on hand to help users.
If you have purchased a GivingStation, you might need just one person to remain close by for the first few services.
If you have a PassBox there are two ways to use it. In a static location (on a base) it performs in the same way as a GivingStation, but as a pass around solution (contactless collection plate) we recommend training the member/s of your team who would typically help with the traditional collect plate.
It is surprisingly easy. We love this video produced by The Church of England, based on our first generation GivingStation.
How easy is it for the congregation?
Our software means that making a donation is very simple! Simply tap the amount you wish to donate on the screen and then tap your card on the reader. It’s that easy!
If the user is feeling extra generous, they can select the ‘choose own amount’ button and manually add an amount.
Users have an option of adding Gift Aid (if you have enabled it). After making a donation, they will be asked to enter their details. They will only need to do this on the first occasion if using the same card in future.
To sum up (no pun intended), introducing contactless and card donations into your church is not difficult. The professional fundraiser has adapted very quickly to this method, and thousands of churches are now also enjoying increased income through contactless donations. Many churches find that they cover all initial costs on the first Sunday service!
The introduction of contactless giving in all churches is a case of when and not if. With cost-effective and easy to set up systems available, early adopters were rewarded with increased income, and many more churches are embracing this new technology daily.