I recently had my annual appointment with my accountant to do my taxes. While my taxes aren’t overly complicated, they still cause me a lot of stress. I’ve been a client and friend of my CPA for about 12 years now. If you’d ask me, I’d say he’s an absolute genius at helping me relax, while finding write-offs and refunds I’d never have known about were I to do my taxes on my own.
My CPA is also an Eagle Scout leader and a volunteer at his church. For years I’ve been bugging him to get his church to adopt Givelify as a mobile and online giving solution. Yet, he said his congregation was resistant to this “new-fangled technology,” preferring to give their tithes and offerings in the same ways they always have — by cash or check.
But in the age of COVID-19, like many other churches and places of worship, they have been holding services remotely. And they have finally adopted mobile and online giving out of necessity.
How technology has changed our lives
My CPA related a story to me about how he was initially resistant to the chips in credit and debit cards that were introduced a few years ago. Instead of swiping your card to make purchases, you had to insert your card into the POS (point-of-sale) machine. He didn’t like that process, preferring instead to make his debit and credit card purchases “the old way,” or by swiping his card.
But that “old way” wasn’t even really the old way. People of a certain age will remember when a card transaction involved a swipe of a machine that made a physical imprint of your card. For merchants, that involved having to do a nightly manual reconciliation of all credit card purchases made.
It was only after the chip became mandatory at most points-of-sale that my CPA acquiesced. He said he eventually found it to be easier and faster. As a financial professional, he realized that this system was also more secure.
Now it’s ubiquitous, with no one giving a second thought to inserting their card into the machine as opposed to swiping the magnetic strip or using those old physical imprint card-swipers.
New technology, new ways of giving
My accountant likened this process to giving to his church via a mobile giving app. While he and many of his fellow congregants were initially resistant to technology and giving, they widely adopted Givelify as their preferred method of giving. When they were forced to adapt to a new model, they immediately saw the benefits of anytime, anywhere donations.
This reminded me of when technology company Sony partnered with Philips to create the compact disc in the 1980s. While Sony argued for the purely digital nature of CDs, Philips wanted backwards compatibility with cassettes. Philips cited the hesitancy of record companies to introduce an entirely new format for releasing music. The two companies soon parted ways.
At the time, the founder of Sony, Akio Morita, said: “If you ask the public what they think they’ll need, you’ll always be behind in this world. You’ll never catch up unless you think one to 10 years in advance and create a market for the items you think the public will accept at that time.”
Make better toast, do more good
Givelify didn’t create a market. What we created was a tool that empowers people to do what they’ve always wanted to do: give to their place of worship or nonprofit, putting good into the world as simply and easily as possible.
For years I’ve used the analogy that Givelify is like a toaster. It doesn’t matter what kind of bread you want to toast: white, wheat, raisin, rye, bagels, etc. What you want is toasted bread. We strive to provide the best tool for you to make your toast.
Technology alone can’t solve every problem. Thinking years ahead doesn’t necessarily ensure success for anybody. Yet combining forward-thinking, technology, and a sincere emphasis on what truly matters to people should help.
Hopefully Givelify can continue to provide the means to enable organizations and donors to make the world a better place — one simple, joyful gift at a time.