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Faith Leaders 3min read

Church Giving: The History of Offerings

Church giving has changed dramatically over the course of history. As needs and technologies have changed, places of worship have sometimes been slow to adapt. But as you will see here, churches eventually benefited greatly from taking steps to modernize their methods.

Passing the Offering Plate

Church Giving: Offering Plate

Passing the plate to collect offerings is as much a part of Sunday morning service as singing, preaching, or praying. The tradition began many centuries ago, and remains the traditional method of church giving for most congregations to this day.

But as any church leader will tell you, the average churchgoer’s habits have changed quite a bit since the 1800s. Church giving methods have been long overdue for an update.

Kiosks and Card Swipes

With the advent of technology and the decline of cash and checks, modern methods of giving became more and more a part of the churchgoing experience. The first updated church giving methods involved kiosks and card swipes. These allowed people who didn’t have cash or checks to swipe a credit or debit card in order to give.

While giving with a card was a huge step up, these methods still required givers to be physically present in church. They also could be disruptive to services, as parishioners lined up to swipe their cards. Depending on the size of the church, this could create a huge bottleneck and delay service from moving forward until the last person returned to their seat.

Online Giving and Text-to-Give

Online Giving for Churches

What about people who have to miss services due to illness, travel, or inclement weather? Two more options stepped up to fill that need: online giving and text-to-give. Rather than having to attend church in person, supporters could make a gift from their computer or mobile device instead.

These methods moved church giving on to a whole new level—but despite their promise of a better giving experience, they actually fell short of expectations. With long, complicated online giving forms and difficult to remember text giving codes, they caused more headaches than they relieved.

That’s where church giving apps come in.

Church Giving AppsChurch Giving Apps Modernize Offerings

Mobile giving apps, the newest option available, appeal to modern church members who have not found other giving methods very helpful. Church members can easily, by downloading a free app like Givelify, give to their favorite church or charity anytime, anywhere. No more waiting in line, no more filling out long web forms, and no more memorizing text-to-give codes.

Today’s church giving is ever evolving, and it should be in order to meet the needs of modern day givers. The more convenience you can give today’s generation of givers, the more excited they will be to support your church.

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About the Author

Allison has a passion for charitable giving and believes that small acts of kindness can make the world a better place. She uses her web content and social media expertise to guide churches and nonprofits through the mobile fundraising process.

Allison Weaver