3 Types of Digital Givers in Your Church

Understand these givers so you can develop the best strategy to help them thrive in digital generosity.

Finger typing on an iPad

Simply having digital giving does not increase generosity. It does open the possibility, but like any other ministry it requires both strategy and leadership. All digital givers are not the same. 

Digital giving was once a ministry tool that was reserved for the largest and most modern of churches. It was perceived as a fun gadget for the trendy, but not really necessary for main street congregations. As this resource has developed over the past couple of decades it has become easier to operate and more affordable. It is now being leveraged by all size churches across the country. However, simply having digital giving does not increase generosity. It does open the possibility, but like any other ministry it requires both strategy and leadership.

All digital givers are not the same. Some will keep it at a distance while others will approach it with concern. Still others will pursue it with high expectation. Simply announcing that your church has digital giving will not get the job done. So let’s take some time to understand the different digital givers in every church. Once we understand these givers you will need to develop a specific year long strategy for each of them to thrive in digital generosity.

Non-Digital Givers

These are people who have never made a digital gift in their lifetime. Now, some of them may be regular e-commerce shoppers utilizing popular apps and services for many of their weekly purchases. However, they have yet to trust the churches online giving portal or they prefer the physical experience. Others are very resistant to online shopping personally and for offerings.

  • First, it is okay to admit that not everyone will become a digital giver. So your church always needs to provide for a physical offering either during the service or by encouraging people to mail in their gifts. 
  • Second, there is a group that simply needs to be encouraged and led personally to understand a few basic facts. They need to know it is safe and that there is a benefit to the church staff. Digital giving automates the work of both volunteers and paid staff. These saved resources can then be redeployed to other ministry opportunities. Loyalty, support, and cost savings will be motivating to this group.
  • Third, is the group that has yet to make their first gift to your church. They are not leery of digital giving conceptually, but they may be concerned with the quality of the service being hosted by a church. However, their biggest challenge is simply beginning the journey of generosity. For this group you will need to make sure your digital giving service looks and feels modern to them. Online, text, and app giving are a must. Some services are clunky and disjointed. The visual appeal along with convenience will be measured quickly and intuitively by modern givers. To engage first time givers you should consider appealing to a cause and one time gift. Help them jump on board easily knowing exactly where their gift is going and the difference it is making in a life this week.

"God is a giving God and we are created in His image. He will release His generosity through us as we get to know Him."

Todd McMichen

Occasional Digital Givers

This group has attempted digital giving at your church, even making a gift. However, they have yet to feel compelled to do so regularly. They may be facing two obstacles internally and externally. Their lack of repeated digital giving might be communicating that they found the process to be unenjoyable and unrewarding. Giving increases in consistency when we make it easy and fun for the giver. Most churches tend to lean toward giving as obedience because the church budget needs to be funded. This often turns a spiritual offering into a religious bill. No one enjoys paying bills. 

The other obstacle might be their spiritual development. Giving happens best when we hear from God and respond to His voice. This group probably isn’t ready for the “tithing is the only way to please God” message. We will be better off helping them cultivate a relationship with God that engages them in His mission around their passion. God is a giving God and we are created in His image. He will release His generosity through us as we get to know Him.

Recurring Digital Givers

These people are expressing faith well in advance. They are committed to giving into the future. Their digital giving has been set up to recur with great consistency. While all givers deserve to be thanked for their generosity, this group is the bedrock foundation of giving all year long. Do not hesitate to thank them publicly once a month prior to the offering. This will encourage others in their digital giving, but also inspire recurring givers to keep on growing. Once a recurring gift is established, the journey of personal generosity is not over. We are always learning. Ten percent is not the end of the race nor the beginning. It is just a part of the race.

Consider establishing an above and beyond giving account where money can be designated all year long to go toward visionary causes. Give thought to the ministries that seem to be under-funded year after year or the big capital projects in the future. Orient this fund around passions like the next generation, local outreach, global missions, and facility development. Keeping this fund focused on future vision will release the resources, preventing them from being locked up for a narrowly defined use. These givers need to be inspired to not stop at the tithe, but to thrive in the generous life.

I hope your church has digital giving as a meaningful option for today’s givers. If not, please check out Lifeway Generosity and our six channel digital giving platform. Remember generosity is not an online transaction or a giving envelope service. It is discipleship and leadership. Unleash giving today.

Some think the next generation is giving less than generations before them. The reality is they are just giving in different ways. Download our free ebook Next Generation Giving is Here.

Todd McMichen

Todd McMichen has served local churches for more than 30 years in a variety of roles from small rural congregations to church plants to mega-churches. His generosity roots rise from leading multiple capital campaigns for two churches where he served as a staff member, raising more than $35,000,000 for their visionary projects. He serves as the director of LifeWay Generosity and Digital Giving, and lives in Birmingham, Ala., with his wife, Theresa.