I’ve wanted to make a donation three times in the past two weeks, but only succeeded once — and that was because the church offered online giving. My gift was also more than double what it would have been if I’d only been able to give cash or write a check.
Last weekend, my husband and I attended a local church known for wonderful music and impassioned sermons. We’ve attended this church on several occasions over the years and always leave energized. When it came time for tithes and offerings and the plate was passing, Todd opened his billfold to put in $20 because that was all the cash he had. Earlier, I had noticed this note in the bulletin right next to the title of the offertory anthem: Increasing numbers of people are supporting the church via electronic means. Thank you! To set up an electronic gift, please visit our website. To set up Text Message Giving, send a dollar amount to [the church text number]. So I said, “Todd, wait, I want to try this.” I pulled out my phone and gave $50 by text in a few seconds. The usher smiled as she watched me do it.
A few days prior, I learned that my former coworker’s mother had passed away. We had talked many times about our moms both having Multiple Sclerosis and how brave and amazingly positive they both were in living with the disease. Having lost my mom in May of this year, I was especially touched and wanted to send a memorial gift. In lieu of flowers, memorials were preferred to either his church or the care center that had watched over her. I searched for both online and found that neither of them provided a way to give electronically. I didn’t have my checkbook with me or cash in my purse, so I put a sympathy card in the mail to avoid delay, but I’ve yet to make a memorial gift.
Yesterday, I was thinking about a close relative’s funeral, to be held later this week. Reading his obituary, I saw that memorials were to be directed to his church or the community center next door to the church. Again, I pulled up the websites of both of these small organizations and wasn’t able to give to either of them online. However, there was link on the obituary that allowed me to easily order flowers, so I did that instead.
Writing this story, I wonder why I’m so lazy. It wouldn’t have taken that much time to find my checkbook, address an envelope and buy a stamp. I would rather have given money to the church than order flowers, but I did what was easiest.
I remember having a similar experience last year during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, when we usually make some last-minute donations to charities. I wonder: Will I take the path of least resistance again this year and only give to those who make it easy, like our sons’ colleges?
If your church provides electronic giving, it’s important to let visitors and members know so you don’t miss out on the generosity of the season. Vanco has created special messages you can download and include in your weekly announcements, emails and social media pages so contributors know you offer choices for giving that fit their needs.