New study shows active churchgoers want e-giving options

man-field-smartphone-yellowHave you considered e-giving options for your church? There are good reasons to do so. This guest post is written by Kevin Lee, CEO of Vanco Payment Solutions about Vanco’s new study of giving habits and giving preference. I found these results fascinating–and surprising in some ways.

Thanks for the opportunity to tell pastors about early findings from our new comprehensive survey of over a thousand U.S. Christian churchgoers. We collected data on giving habits and giving preferences of churchgoers, and the results show high demand across generations for electronic giving options.

Here are key takeaways:

  1. The survey results showed a sizable “giving gap” between how churchgoers prefer to give and what giving options their churches provide them.

Only about a quarter of respondents say their churches offer e-Giving, but two to four times as many churchgoers would give electronically if they could.

This is a substantial disconnect. But pastors may be surprised that the survey results reveal that the most substantial giving gap is with their most active members, as illustrated in the next takeaway.

  1. Members who are most engaged in church activities are the ones who want e-giving the most.

Sixty percent of all churchgoers say they are either using or would prefer using electronic options. But that figure rises up to 80 percent among churchgoers who engage more frequently with the church through attendance at services, participation in church schools or afterschool activities, and committee/leadership positions.

Some churches may feel that pursuing inactive members with electronic payment options like credit cards, give by text, and give by kiosk is not a good use of resources. But the survey results show that it’s your most active members who are most interested in e-Giving options. You’ve likely read all the studies that show a dwindling use of cash and checks in everyday life. This shift to paying most obligations electronically has definitively made its way into your pews.

  1. Preference for e-giving is strong across all age groups

About half of the survey respondents spanning ages 24 to 72 make monetary contributions to their church once a week, and all age groups prefer to increase their use of online, digital, and web-based giving approaches. Churchgoers between the ages of 24-44 showed the strongest preference, with 77% preferring e-giving. But younger generations weren’t the only ones expressing that preference. Nearly half of senior respondents also prefer e-giving.

We have seen ourselves in numerous case studies and testimonials from customers that a significant percentage of seniors will participate in e-Giving, and in fact, as the survey shows, nearly half of all seniors would now prefer electronic giving options.

The bottom line

The collection plate or basket is becoming a symbol of giving more than the actual engine of giving that members prefer. The question is, why put a barrier between your most active givers and their support of your mission? This is especially significant as you head into the most giving time of the year for your church. Why not get in alignment with member preferences now before the holidays? It’s a simple matter to get you set up and ready to provide members with the giving methods they prefer. As the largest provider of electronic giving options to churches in the U.S., we understand the best practices that lead to successful e-Giving programs. We’d love to help.

Additional information and insights from the churchgoer survey, including specifics on giving options such as give by text, kiosk giving, and credit cards can be found here.

For more information on e-Giving and choosing the right combination of giving options for your members, download our recent Building Blocks of Giving infographic.

Kevin Lee is CEO of Vanco Payment Solutions, providing more than 18,000 churches, nonprofits, and other faith-based organizations with convenient electronic donation tools.

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