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25 Fundraising Ideas for Churches: Offering Plate Overhaul

church offering plate full of money next to bible

Encouraging your tithers and donors to give electronically doesn’t mean you lose the spiritual act of dedicating those gifts in your service.  As part of our series of 25 fundraising ideas for churches, this blog features an intentional new lens for the traditional offering plate. 

First, start by separating the gift vehicle from the spiritual blessing or act of giving during worship. Many churches offer a special card to place in the offering baskets for those giving electronically.

While you will always have givers who want to mail or drop a physical check in the offering plate, today many donors will find it easier to set up a recurring weekly or monthly donation. This secure, automatic process is easier and less work for the donor, and it’s a more consistent, reliable stream of donation revenue for the church.  It does not rely on in-person worship attendance or on people remembering to mail in their gifts. 

Ministries whose donors are giving through an automatic recurring giving platform have a stronger stewardship program. Those donors often give more, and more frequently, than those who chose to give one-time gifts via check or mail. The time and cost savings for both the church and the donor can be significant. 

Look for ways to outline the benefits of moving tithes and pledges to an automatic monthly or recurring giving platform in your regular communications and also in your annual stewardship campaign materials. Include this information in all of your worship bulletins, website, stewardship materials, and certainly during your annual stewardship campaign. 

Whatever giving platform you choose for your recurring gifts, the steps of making or changing a gift amount must be a clear, secure and easy process for the donor. Confirmation emails for their online gifts can help assure donors that the funds are being received – they’re also a terrific, quick tool for thank yous and storytelling about the impact of their giving.

Your church could even consider a campaign to achieve a certain number or percentage of members with recurring gift commitments in place. This can be a fun goal and way to encourage people to change their giving vehicle. 

But once you move a subset of your donors to electronic giving, don’t put your acknowledgments on auto-pilot: be sure you’re thanking your recurring donors often. Have a plan for acknowledging their impact.  Assure them that while they’re not physically putting a check in the offering plate during worship, their generosity is appreciated and advancing God’s kingdom through the church’s ministries.

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