We called them “tippers” at my church. Whatever name they go by at your church, you’ll know right away who I’m talking about.
“Tippers” are among the most consistent givers at any church. Ironically, they’re also among the most unreliable. That’s because the amount of their giving is determined not by their heart (or even by their bank account), but instead by what happens to be in their wallet on a given Sunday.
It’s $5.00 one week, a fistful of singles the next. They may dig deep for a $10.00 or a $20.00 on a special Sunday, but they’re just as likely to miss the offering completely the following week.
And, while it’s true that the Bible affirms the value of even the smallest gifts (Luke 21:1-4), anyone who has ever tried to subsist on tips alone knows how challenging it can be to plan for the future or to create anything resembling a budget. Because of this, the challenge facing every finance team at every church in America is to figure out how to get these members to stop “tipping” God, and to start a life of intentional giving.
Now yes, the givers themselves must certainly bear some of the responsibility for their inconsistent giving. People should come prepared to give. But the fact remains: more and more checkbooks are being “retired” every day, and most people are not walking around with 10% of their income in their pockets. So what can be done to help them introduce some discipline into their lives when it comes to giving?
Many churches have already found an answer: online giving!
Of the numerous benefits online giving can provide – e.g. security, convenience, mobility, etc. – perhaps the most significant is its ability to transform tippers into tithers in only a few clicks.
How do I know? Because I used to be one! For years, I struggled to give consistently and meaningfully. When my church introduced a recurring giving option on their website, I was among the first to signup, and I haven’t missed a gift since! This is the power of scheduled giving. And I know there are dozens of other reformed “tippers” who find themselves in the same position.
Is it any wonder, then, that a 2013 survey of over 1,000 American churches listed “the ability to accept automatic, recurring donations” as the #1 factor shared by churches that were exceeding their annual budget?
In addition to the “tipper transformation” discussed above, scheduled giving can also help smooth out the seasonal variations in giving that many churches experience. (“Summer Giving Slump,” anyone?) By creating predictable, sustainable cash flow for your ministry, a scheduled giving option can go far to reduce much of the flop sweating and hand wringing that occurs in church finance offices.
From rent payments to cable bills to calendar reminders, we are automating so many of the important things in our life. If we’re this adamant about ensuring consistency with something as silly as cable TV, why would we not utilize those same tools with something infinitely more important: giving to the Lord?
Do you think scheduled giving might be able to help transform the stewardship culture at your church? Get started today for free! Still not sure? Feel free to poke around on our website. Let us know how else we can help! (firstname.lastname@example.org)