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Cashless Giving

PayWave Giving
PayWave St Paul’s Cathedral Melbourne

Previously, I’ve written about a Salvation Army officer using portable PayWave. St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral in Melbourne has several PayWave stands (see picture above) with which anyone can give a $5 donation as they go past – simply hold your card to the box.

The Christchurch Anglican Transitional Cathedral has a similar (if slightly more complex) system attached to its physical donation box (see image below).

These are simple, third-millennium, ways of collecting donations from visitors.

[I even was approached on the street recently by a follower of the Hare Krishna movement with the offer of a “free” book for which I could give a donation – and if I didn’t have cash, he had a PayWave/card payment system in his pocket].

What systems have you found effective?

Many (most?) parishes/church communities now have ways of directly (electronically) giving regularly from your bank account. When the collection plate comes round, what way does your community have by which such givers can symbolically join in the offering? [This is more than being seen to be a giver – something that some may critique – this is part of the tradition of stewardship and its expression]. How does your community encourage a person’s (annual?) review of what is given regularly? What facility is there in your community if a person arrives at a service and wants to make a donation using a card?

What other thoughts and experiences do you have about this area?

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PayWave Christchurch
PayWave Transitional Cathedral Christchurch

image source of the top inmage

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11 Responses to Cashless Giving

  1. Currently we continue to write checks at our church because I want to model the idea of giving consistently to my children. Our church does have several non-cash giving options. There is a kiosk in the back with a touch screen (also a slot for cash/checks if you forgot to put it in the plate). You can also set up an account and give online through the church website. I believe we also have a text option with instructions given on the screen at the start of the offering and during announcements/preservice.

    I do think that having a way to symbolically participate in the offering is important…when you set up an automatic payment you lose track of that moment of reminding yourself each week WHY you give. (I suppose the text option can help that.) I know that some people in churches that have giving envelopes will insert the printout from their online payment in the envelope. If I were to talk to a church about stewardship and online giving, I think I would suggest having cards printed up with “I give because ____” that people could fill out and drop in the plate as a way of participating.

    Putting on my church bookkeeper hat, there is a definite appeal to online giving, particularly in larger churches. It’s more secure, avoids issues of one person having cash contact at multiple points in the process, and does not require a team of people several hours to count every week. (Prior to the advent of online giving, when I was still auditing churches, I had one church that had a team of about 5 volunteers come in every Monday morning for several hours to count money.)

    As far as reviewing your giving, here in the U.S. most smaller churches will provide quarterly giving statements, and must provide a year-end statement. (Because our church is larger, this was available online.)

    Online giving isn’t going away,so I do really wish that churches would begin to address ideas about making it more than just a transactional thing akin to an online shopping experience or setting up your water bill for automatic withdrawal.

    • Thanks, Loretta, for expanding some of the points concretely from your experience. I agree wholeheartedly that a simple option be provided to participate physically/symbolically (“sacramentally” if you will) for those who give digitally. Easter Season Blessings.

  2. I have Bill Pay in my Wells Fargo Bank checking account set up to cut a check and mail it to the church in the amount of my monthly pledge once a month.

    Our church doesn’t currently have a kiosk or another method for folks to make a donation with a bank card before or after services. But I know that the church is set up to allow folks to charge bank cards for donations/admission to concerts or guest speakers held in the church. It’s used in conjunction with the Executive Minister’s iPhone. It’s through a company called Square.

    The Church’s website also has a Giving button on the main page that leads to a donation page using SimpleChurch Giving, where someone may make a donation with a bank card or with a bank account’s routing numbers.

    • Thanks, David. I remember a fund-raiser being employed by our diocese and the conclusion of his studies was that a giving button would appear on the diocesan website. I don’t think it was ever implemented. Easter Season Blessings.

  3. I use direct credit in the 3 parishs I attend. I do also sometimes put coins in the plate. As I can get a tax credit for donations it’s better for me to direct credit, as then I have a paper trail to claim. Blessing

    • Thanks, Ruth. Yes – I prefer the system used overseas: if you give to a charity, the Government “tax back” goes to that charity as well. That way, when you put coins in the plate – the Government still coughs up its share. Easter Season Blessings.

  4. We have a parish mobile app that has a give option on the front menu. You can make a one off donation or set up a regular payment. It will link to any pay provider we choose.

    • Thanks, that’s great, Andrew. Do you have a way that regular, digital givers can make a physical/symbolic gesture when the plate comes past them in a service that they are contributing? Easter Season Blessings.

  5. It certainly s challenging as church musician to time the offertory with the machine the unitarians use ( haven’t worked recently anywhere else doing so ) so they got the two ‘plate/basket stewards’ to stand symbolically when all done.

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About This Site Welcome to this ecumenical website of resources and reflections on liturgy, spirituality, and worship for individuals and communities. It is run by Rev. Bosco Peters.

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