By Ken Howard
Never let a crisis go to waste.Winston Churchill
What do you do when you can’t pass the offering plate?
How does congregational giving happen when a pandemic has shut our doors?
Our traditional ways of congregational giving are just one more of our paradigms of how to be faith communities crushed by the COVID crisis. And like our other congregational paradigms that have fallen before COVID19, they are probably gone for good. At least I hope so, because when paradigms collapse in the face of crisis, that means that they are either based on false assumptions or did not adequately address the full reality of human experience.
I believe the new paradigm is going to involve some form of online giving, a virtual offering plate.
There are a lot of online giving solutions that are on offer. Faith-based platforms, such as EasyTithe, Givelify, PushPay, LifeWay Generosity, and Tithely. Fundraising platforms, like Fundly, Network for Good – DonateNow, and QGiv. Generic platforms, such as Paypal, Venmo, Zelle, and online bill pay through your bank. Lately, even Facebook has gotten into the fundraising act. And there are plenty of evaluations of each (just Google “Best Giving Platforms”).
So rather than discuss the platforms and how to use them, I want to dispel a few myths that may be holding us back from experimenting with online giving through virtual offering plates by sharing insights I’ve gained from talking to several online giving researchers (come back later for a list of links to giving research).[Read more…]