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5 Giving Methods for Your Church

By Rollie Dimos | Stewardship & Giving

According to a recent article by Art Rainer, Millennials are a generous group, but many churches may be missing out on their generosity due to outdated giving methods and ideas. Consider these recent surveys describing people's money habits:

  • A 2015 survey by the Federal Reserve found that cash is only used for 32% of all consumer payment transactions, while debit and credit cards account for 48% of all transactions. While cash is used more often for transactions under $25, credit and debit cards are used more often for larger transactions.
  • A 2014 survey by Bankrate.com found that 69% of people carry less than $50 in cash, and almost 1 in 10 people carry no cash.
  • Another survey by the Federal Reserve determined that payments by debit, credit, and ACH continue to increase since 2000 and totaled $95 billion in 2012. However, payments by check only totaled $18.3 billion, and represented a 50% decline since 2000.

These statistics probably mirror your own personal payment habits: debit and credit card payments are increasing while traditional payment forms of cash and checks are decreasing. To take advantage of the generosity of those who attend your services, it may be necessary to expand your giving opportunities.

Here are five must-have giving opportunities for your church.

Giving Methods

  1. The offering plate. This is the traditional method that most, if not all, churches utilize each week to receive contributions. Many churches provide offering envelopes as a complement to this method. Providing offering envelopes allows donors to document their cash donations, designate their contributions for specific programs, and update personal information like their name and address. Some churches also offer donors the opportunity to make a donation by credit card by writing in their credit card information.
  2. Collection boxes. Whether it is a basket, lockbox, or mail-slot in the office door, many churches offer a permanent collection plate to receive contributions at times other than during the worship service. While I suggest a more secure method than a basket or mail-slot, I support having a visible collection point for donors to give whenever it is convenient for them.
  3. Credit card payment terminal. Many donors make contributions with debit and credit cards. However, some are not comfortable with writing their credit card number on the offering envelope. Whether it is a full-featured kiosk, a simple credit card terminal, or a PayPal or Square device connected to a tablet or phone, some donors will find these options more convenient and secure when making a donation by credit card.
  4. Web-based giving. Many churches have a Web site describing who they are, what they believe and what they offer. Adding a Web-based giving option is a natural progression for a church with a web presence. Donors can make a contribution any time of day, and on most any computer or mobile device.
  5. Text-to-give apps. It’s undeniable that mobile phones outnumber physical Bibles in many of our churches today. Beside phone calls and texts, many people use their mobile devices to help manage their social and financial lives. Offering a text-to-give opportunity can help capture the generosity of those people who do not carry cash, checks, or credit cards. It’s quick and simple and may help capture donations from a busy, yet spontaneous, generation.

Implementing these giving opportunities will certainly allow donors the flexibility in how they give to your ministry. But it may also help increase giving in your church. Consider the results of a 2012 survey by the Rocket Company. Working with over 1,000 churches, they identified five characteristics present in churches that exceeded their projected income for the year.

These giving “influencers” included:

  • Accepting automatic, recurring donations
  • Offering online giving
  • Offering a personal finance ministry
  • Using a giving kiosk
  • Communicating with donors quarterly


While offering more opportunities should increase giving in your church, it can also increase the risk of theft or abuse. Just like having at least two people involved in collecting donations via the offering plate, a church should implement processes that ensure the other giving methods are accountable, transparent, and protected. 

Available Solutions

Are you ready to implement more giving opportunities at your church? The industry standard on processing fees for different digital solutions is between 3 and 4 percent. However, Assemblies of God churches have access to solutions that cost less, are easy to use, and have support people that can help with implementation.

The Assemblies of God Credit Union (AGCU) has a department dedicated to digital giving, serving over 300 AG churches nationwide. AGCU offers all AG churches a full suite of digital solutions including kiosks, online, text and mobile giving options, and credit card and digital check processing.

The average church that works with AGCU pays an average processing fee of 1.6 to 1.9 percent, much lower than industry standards, which has saved churches over $740,000 in processing fees since 2013.

Besides helping churches save on fees, AGCU also gives back 10% of annual earnings to scholarships, humanitarian relief, and church plants. For more information, visit https://agcu.org/ministry/account-services/.


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