Next Generation Generosity


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Today’s conversation is with three leaders who work to help churches like yours and mine in the whole area of generosity and systems. We discuss a brand new report that that explores the relationship between donor behavior and new technologies like mobile giving and online giving. This interview is packed full with actionable insights for all church leaders looking fund their mission!

Click here to download the Next Generation Generosity Report … FREE!

Interview Participants:

Steve Caton // Church Community Builder [twitter] [web]

Derek Gillette // eChurchGiving [twitter] [web]

Randy Ongie // MAG Bookkeeping [twitter] [web]

Episode Highlights

05:30 // Rich welcomes Steve, Derek and Randy to the show.

05:42 // Steve introduces himself and tells us about Church Community Builder.

07:32 // Derek introduces himself and tells us about eChurchGiving and the Pushpay team.

09:02 // Randy introduces himself and tells us about MAG Bookkeeping.

11:36 // Steve talks about the Next Generation Generosity research.

13:31 // Derek encourages churches to look at technology and consider implementing online and mobile giving.

16:19 // Randy talks about the learnings received from the research.

18:31 // Steve talks about the pitfalls of digital giving.

21:30 // Rich gives an example of the benefits of online giving.

22:25 // Steve highlights the statistics of the research showing the accumulative effect of small denominations.

25:05 // Derek shares the results they experienced when three different groups used the mobile App.

28:21 // Randy talks about the importance of connecting generosity and giving to vision and changing lives.

29:11 // Randy talks about the impact of short term capital initiatives.

34:35 // Steve gives CCB’s perspective of the numbers engaging with online giving.

35:50 // Derek and Steve discuss the issue of privacy and security when paying online.

37:50 // Having been subject to credit card fraud, Rich offers his listeners some advice.

42:29 // Steve offers is contact details and advises churches to remove the barriers in order to reach people and maximize generosity potential.

43:30 // Derek offers is contact details and highlights the importance of the culture of generosity.

45:22 // Randy offers his contact details and encourages churches to work with companies that ‘really get church’.

Episode Transcript

Rich – This is the official beginning, welcome to Next Generation Generosity. This is going to be a fantastic conversation with some leaders who are really at the forefront of trying to help church leaders. Really guys, you try to engage with the people in your church, particularly around generosity. We know that, at the end of the day, part of what we’re called to do is to help people live a generous lifestyle and today we’re going to talk about some tools and some approaches and a particular study that’s been done on this conversation.

So we’re going to just go around the bullhorn, maybe start with you Steve, why don’t you introduce yourself in your organization and then we’ll go Derek and Randy. So Steve why don’t you tell us a little bit about who you are and what is it that you do?

Steve – Thanks Rich. My name’s Steve Caton, I’m part of the leadership team here at Church Community Builder and I am also an avid skier. So living in Colorado is a good thing for me, I’m here looking at ice peaks out of the window, it always makes work really easy when you do that.

Rich – If you look out here in New Jersey, I’m looking out of my window and I see the parkway. That’s it.

Steve – You’ve got a nice office there though.

Rich – It’s not a bad office.

Steve – So do you want me to talk a little bit about Church Community Builder as well Rich?

Rich – Yeah tell us a little bit about Church Community Builder as well.

Steve – Yeah so just in a nutshell, we’re known for our church management software, that’s how most people in the marketplace know us and that’s great. We’ve been doing that since 2002. But kind of the why behind that for us, is that we’re really inspired to equip church leaders to steward the people that God has brought to their church and help them understand where the people are moving forward, their engagement with the church and discipleship [unclear 00:06:44]; so are they going forward or are they going backwards or are they kind of stuck, so that their church leader can be proactive about reaching out to those people and just loving on them and making sure that they are getting what we all hope that they get from their relationship with our churches and with God.

We do that through the software and we also offer coaching that really is about aligning up software with processes in the church and that sort of thing. Then we offer a peer to peer learning community strategy called Tribes which has been a lot of fun too. So in a nutshell that’s who we are and what we do.

Rich – Very cool. Derek why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and tell us about eChurchGiving as well?

Derek – Hi everybody. I hope you can see me okay. My name’s Derek Gillette. I started on with the eChurchGiving and the Pushpay team about 90 days ago. So I’m hoping for that 90 day review to go well, sometime next week or so.

The team’s been great over here, it’s growing like crazy even though we’ve been around as a company for 2 or 3 years. We kind of launched in the States about a year ago, really focusing on how do we help churches and faith-based communities engage those new and young givers especially. We just have this idea that there’s always going to be that faithful 20% that are going to give no matter what method you put in front of them, but then how do we increase that number to 25% or 30% just simply by the tools and making things really easy and accessible.

So I’ve had a really great time these last 90 days, just having a ton of conversations with Pastors and other church leaders. We are able to turn some of these conversations into a short little eBook called Be Prolific, which is available on NoiseTrade right now which was pretty fun to talk about.

Personally, my wife and I have 5 kids, if you can believe that, buts it’s been a ton of fun to be a dad as well.

Rich – Nice, very cool. Well Randy, we’re so glad you’re here as well from MAG Bookkeeping, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and also about MAG?

Randy – Sure will, thank you. Well first of all I’m a recovering Executive Pastor. I spent 13 years, wonderful years as an Executive Pastor at a church in Tennessee that grew from 400 to about 3000 people. When it got to that size I realized that my gifts, passion and ability and the church’s needs had grown apart. So it was pretty clear that God was opening a door for another chapter.

In subsequent years I’ve been doing church consulting across the country with churches, especially those that were growing and in need of expansion and structural change and that sort of thing.

One of the things I noticed about a lot of them, not everybody, was that their finances and financial reporting, often at times, was a mess. My old friends and colleagues had started MAG Bookkeeping, as part of a larger company, to serve churches are doing bookkeeping but more that, doing all things financial; payroll, offering some CFO coaching and consulting and just really allowing Pastors and church leaders to focus on ministry and basically say, “We’ve got your finances, we’ve got it for you and we can handle it.”

So I’m the VP of operations for MAG Bookkeeping and we serve churches really across the country with virtual bookkeepers across the country and we are privileged to get the best of the best because our team loves getting the stay-at-home and Worker Flex schedule but use their gifts and abilities as bookkeepers and their passion in local churches.

So it’s wonderful to see the convergence of these folks with churches across the country that really need the services. So that’s a bit about us.

Rich – We’re recording this in January that must mean that this is a busy time of year for you, there’s a lot going on being a church leader. Trying to close our books in one church, I can imagine what it must be like for you guys trying to close the books on all of those churches. That’s incredible.

Well we’re taking some questions hopefully later on, if you’ve got questions, please just feel free to enter them into the side box there, we’ll hopefully get to some of those.

But Steve, why don’t we start with you. Why did you set out to do this Next Generation Generosity research? What were you thinking when you said, “Hey we need to set out and maybe put together a bit of a report here.”

Steve – A couple of things struck me Rich that I wanted to dig a little deeper on. Number one: Just as I think about my giving habits and the giving habits of all of my peers, by the way, I’m not like the youngest guy on the webinar, so I know that a lot of what I’ll share is sort of native to this next generation of givers. But I think that what we’re going to talk about is also more native to people that are kind of in their 40s and 50s than we realized.

So just hanging out with people that I hang out with, I notice that no one carries checkbooks anymore and I watch the offerings go by in the church and see hardly anybody putting cash or checks in there.

So I’m like, “I wonder how people are giving to the churches that I’m visiting?” So I would go and look at their websites and things like that and see how easy they were making it, for people to get online and you just see kind of a real variety and experience there. So I was just curious and really wanted to dig into that.

The second thing is that before I came to work for Church Community Builder, I worked in the non-profit world. In the non-profit world, they’ve been wrestling with this online giving and digital giving thing for a little longer, I think, than the church has and a little ahead of the curve in terms of trying to meet that demand.

What I’ve seen there is some pretty amazing statistics about what happens when they make giving easier through digital venues and I was just curious to see if we would see that same kind of result in the local church with the sampling that we were looking at.

Rich – Nice. So now Derek, kind of following on with that, what are some of the best practices that churches are finding when it comes to kind of this whole implementing both online and mobile giving? What are some of the things that you’ve learned through this process?

Derek – Yeah well there’s a lot of technical aspects to it, of course that we know. I would say that the biggest thing to start with, for the churches that are considering how to reach those new givers, is just the belief or the mindset of your church and of your board and of the leadership.

We know that a lot of things with faith start with the belief system and so the thing that we really talk to a lot of churches and Pastors about, is just that technology doesn’t have to be that opposite of obedience and that there’s a way to kind of combine those two things together. So I think that would be kind of the biggest best practice that I would recommend to people.

One of the analogies that I like to walk people through, because I’m a big fan of metaphors and analogies, is just to think about the evolution of the camera. How the camera used to be this specialized tool that only the best of the best could do. If you think about like Civil War pictures and portraits of Abraham Lincoln, this lengthy process where you had one shot to get it right. Then turning into the film camera and everyone would have a camera, but still the delay between pushing click and then getting that across, that was lengthy, it was days and sometimes that film would never get processed. So the number of moments that were captured were still less than could be.

Then when we had the digital camera and then finally the Smartphone that really opened up this idea that every single person can be a photographer. There’s nothing wrong with that, I think that there was a little bit of a belief or a mindset switch that happened, where why would somebody now pull out a disposable camera at a wedding, which they used to do, when everyone there is a photographer and everyone can, in real time, share and capture the moments and the memories.

I think with the camera, it’s easy for us to really understand that that’s not causing any pain or harm to people, it’s really just opening the door for really great things to happen and where socially people could be brought together.

So we know it’s a really tough thing for churches, because it does feel like technology sometimes goes against faith and heart and obedience, but we would just love to encourage them to kind of talk and dialog through that to find a way to marry those two things together.

Rich – Okay. Now Randy, you work with a lot of different churches across the country, what are some of the benefits that churches have found as they start to shift towards more kind of mobile giving? This might begin to tap some of the research that came out around some of the responses. Why don’t you kind of give us a sense of that?

Randy – I think that, often at times, people may think incorrectly about this subject, thinking that the church is creating something instead of removing an obstacle or a barrier. I think one of the things that incumbent on leadership is to remove obstacles or barriers and recognizing where people are, where our culture is, how rapidly things have changed in the way people transact and pay things. I think it’s really important to keep up with removing obstacles or barriers that are artificial and allow people to do what God’s leading them to do.

Particularly with younger folks that, many people under 30 probably don’t even know how to write a check. They probably have never written a check. So that’s the approach that I think is important to keep in mind. We’ve allowed barriers to form because we haven’t kept up with where people are and what they are and so as we call people to things, let’s make it as easy as possible. Dare I use the work obedience? I think it’s a good word. To be obedient to God’s leading in this area.

Rich – Nice. So Steve, a question to you, kind of twofold. First, if a church is looking to set out to kind of add some next generation giving solutions, some of the things we talk about in the report, what are some common pitfalls? Then isn’t just mobile giving, isn’t that just for small amounts, isn’t that just going to, I’m playing a little bit of the devil’s advocate here, isn’t that just about texts, you know Red Cross to 101010 and you’re going to give $5?

I’m sure the people who are listening in, realize that the church isn’t driven financially on donations like that. So I want to talk a little bit about those two. So what are some common missteps and then isn’t this just all about small donations?

Steve – Well I love the second question, so I definitely look forward to answering that, I’ll save that one. To talk about the pitfalls though, the pitfalls that we see commonly with any kind of digital giving, the implementation of digital giving was two big ones that we’ve experienced.

One is that whatever tool is chosen makes it just too complicated. You’ve really got to simplify that process for the giver. If they’ve got to fill out too many fields, complete too many fields or they have to be left-handed and blue-eyed, they’re going to opt out of that process really quick.

So solutions that require too many steps is a pitfall and I’ll say that sometimes this falls on the church too. You’ve probably seen this Rich, where a church will say, “Hey if you want to give click here,” then they take you to a page where they try to preach a sermon on giving and at the bottom of the page there’s another link to actually go and give. It’s like, if someone’s prompted to give, you just need to make it really easy and let them give, right then and there.

That’s one of the biggest pitfalls we see, is they just make it too complicated. That’s one of the reasons why we love eChurchGiving, because their tools just make it so easy to give. I’m prompted to give, I mean I can do it in a matter of seconds. So that’s key.

The second pitfall and this might be unique to us here at Church Community Builder, but when churches have separated whatever that giving tool is from their church management system, what happens is one of the most important indicators that we have for discipleship and growth is giving right?

Rich – Right.

Steve – When we have that data separated from the other data that we have, about serving, about small group attendance and the other things that we kind of look at to measure the church engagement, then we’re missing a huge part of that picture. I’ve seen this happen so many times where churches makes judgments and decisions on individual’s or a family’s engagement just based on giving alone and they miss the fact that they’re serving a lot or they’ve missed the fact that they’re highly committed to their small group. That’s a big mistake.

We also miss the opportunity to engage in a ministry conversation where we might notice a trend. If we have all of that blended together, we can kind of look at it in the context of other things and go, “Ah, something’s changed here, let’s call them and see what’s going on,” and then that creates some really amazing ministry opportunities.

When you see that giving data separated from your church management system, those things happen all the time, where we just miss ministry opportunities and we misjudge people’s engagement because we’re only looking at data in silos. So those would be the two big ones there for me Rich.

Rich – Absolutely, I can speak for the simplicity thing. A few years ago we redid out website and our giving stuff used to be buried, like you couldn’t find it anywhere on our site. It was a bit intuitive, we said we wanted to make it as easy and as up in people’s faces as possible without screaming with a big red ‘give now’ button, we basically did everything but that.

We ended up paying for the website redesign just with online donations in like 3 weeks. You can see the line on our online giving, it was like this and then it just jumped and it literally was, we moved it to a much easier place to find on our site. So I totally agree with that.

What about that second question around…isn’t mobile giving, isn’t that just all small pieces, which obviously every donation is important, but isn’t it just small denominations?

Steve – Well yeah, a lot of times that’s true. There are smaller denominations being given through the mobile giving thing and Text To Give and that sort of thing. In general that might be true. But here’s what we found, when that becomes an accumulative thing, that’s a big deal.

So one of the things that we learned in the non-profit world that did actually bear itself out in this study as well, is that, if somebody’s giving offline and then you let them start giving online, whether it’s through the website or through mobile or what have you, their giving goes up overall. They’ll give more money than they were giving before. Why is that? I don’t know. I think it’s just because it’s easier right? People get prompted to give for all kinds of different reasons and when we make it easy to give when they’re prompted, we’re going to get a little bit more money.

Our statistics show that online giving versus offline giving, when people are implementing these tools, giving was going up almost 4%, something like that. Well that in itself doesn’t add up to a lot of money. So if someone’s giving us say $4000 a year, what is it, $150 more? But look at what happens when you multiply that in a church of even just 400 people, you’re talking about $60,000 or more, new income that’s coming in from those little incremental gifts that people weren’t giving before.

So I think we’re really missing the boat when we just say, “Yeah well, it’s just incremental small gifts that we’re getting now.” It might be but it’s the accumulative effect of that, it’s very powerful.

Rich – Derek, you seem to have switched to just an icon, are you there or did you..?

Derek – No my camera just shut off.

Rich – Okay that’s fine. That actually ties in well, I had a question for you around simplicity. The Pushpay solution, the eChurchGiving solution is very straight forward. You’ll get a kick out of this.

I was at a church just last weekend, I was visiting a very hip church here in New York City, their name rhymes with ‘donkey kong’ and it was so fun because I knew this was coming up and they just, in their offering talk, talked about how they were doing Pushpay and the guy beside me literally did Pushpay, so it was kind of a fun experience. But what role does simplicity play, do you think, in making an effective solution for people, actually in the pews, in the churches, when you think about online or mobile solutions? What role does that play with you?

Derek – I’m going to try to move the conversation to very practical, away from theory. We had this whole theory, back in 2012 or 2011 when they started the company, thinking that people will give more the simpler the process is.

Rich – Right.

Derek – As we were launching into the faith-based market in 2013 they really decided to test that theory out. At that time we just had a mobile App, now we have kind of a lot of other things, but we really just had this beta version of our mobile App that we gave to 260 church goers.

Those church goers were spread out at all different churches and we just tracked their giving habits for the next 3 months to see what impact having a 10 second mobile App would do on their giving.

We grouped these people in just 3 categories based on their giving histories. So we have our regular givers, who were always giving once a month. We had our intermittent givers, who were giving one to two times every 90 days and to the people who had never given before to a church.

So what we saw happen at the end of that 90 days, is that the people who were regulars were now giving an average of about $50 more per month. Intermittent givers were giving about $75 more per month and the brand new givers were giving an average of about $143 more per month.

Nothing else had changed other than the company had put in their hands the ability to do a mobile payment to their church and have it happen as quick as 10 seconds.

So now fast forward to 2014 and we have been on with some churches for the entire course of the year and so we had a church who was generous enough to let us track their giving for the entire course of 2014.

The one point that is really, really interesting to know for this… I won’t take up too much time here, but for this church in 2014, they saw an average of 24 new givers every single month. So in January it was 24, in February it was another 24 and that those 24 givers were giving an average of $150 each gift.

When you’re talking real practical terms for a church that’s an extra, in this case, for this church, $3600 every single month that would grow and build and build and build.

So again, technology isn’t everything, but there is just this weird connection between, we now have this 8 second attention span, because of all of the stuff that’s around us in our life, there’s this weird connection between simplicity, being able to respond in a moment, making it as quick and easy as possible and the obedience that we were talking about at the start.

Rich – I hope people didn’t miss that there. There were some really good nuggets around, if your church is looking for a next step on the stewardship kind of generosity side, this is critical and we’re seeing real results in churches and it’s definitely worth the next step for your church.

Randy, your company does work with a lot of churches and a lot of different types of churches. What other things are you seeing from your clients in regards to stewardship? What are some of the other things we’re seeing in the generosity stewardships sphere?

Randy – Speaking in generalities, not necessarily specific details, but in general we’re seeing, more now than 20 years ago when I became an Executive Pastor, these are changes that I’ve seen: Money follows vision now more than ever, not budget. So you can tell people we’re 10% below budget, they don’t really care. They do care about vision not being met. So connecting generosity and giving to things happening is really more critical now than ever and so it’s incumbent on us to always be casting vision.

Bill Hybels said years ago, “Vision leaks,” and he was right, especially in the busyness of life, people can forget.

The other thing that I, and these are not always connected, they’re just desperate things that we’ve seen. Long duration capital campaigns seem to be less effective for a lot of young churches now than they used to be. I have a theory about that. I think it’s because a lot of our younger folks have never seen a financial norm if you will. The last 7 or 8 years have been tough. So it’s hard for a younger family to make a financial commitment multi-year, given the backdrop or the history we’ve just been through.

I think that may never come back but what we have seen be effective is shorter focused campaigns or projects if you will; end of the year, Christmas, over and above giving, those kinds of things have done really well when they’re framed correctly and when vision is cast around those. It even adds a necessity to have good quick response and allow people to give in a manner and a means that best suits them.

The other thing that we’re seeing is that growing churches today are reaching obviously more unchurch people and that’s what we want. We want to see unchurch people reached. 20 years go a lot of alternative churches were attracting church people from other churches and there was a lot of transference. Well they already knew how to give and they already understood some of that.

So Steve’s point about giving being an important part of discipleship and a metric toward discipleship, we’ve got to do some things really well to cement this and grow generosity. One is, you have to be able to celebrate a first time gift. That is a massively huge step for a new person. Much more so that it would have been say 20 years ago.

The second thing is challenging people to take a small step sometimes can be very effective. I don’t know, the concept of a 1% campaign, to say, “If you have never stepped out in faith in this area, just give 1% of your income for a season and time and try it out and see.” Often at times that becomes an impetus for consistency and then they can grow over time. So you really are growing a giving disciple, I think, through that process. It’s amazing what happens to people’s hearts when they start investing in God’s kingdom.

Then the other thing is, always connecting giving to changing lives, because that’s what people care about. They sort of care that you have staff and that the staff need to be paid, but what they really care is that your staff are effective at leading teams that impact people. So if we’re not showing changed lives, life change happening, we’re missing a great opportunity to connect people to what God’s doing in your midst and I think we miss making that connection.

One of the things Steve said a little while ago, which I thought was really critical is, silos of data. When you have silo data, you have quantitative measures. When you start to break the silos down and allow them to lean against each other and work against each other, I think that’s when you start having qualitative data and qualitative data is gold for leaders.

So here’s an example of qualitative data: Dollars given per a worship attender. Debt per worship attender. Things like that are good examples of qualitative data that really help leaders lead to get to the next level.

Rich – I appreciate what you’re saying, there’s a lot packed in there. As a local church leader a couple of things really resonated there on the front end. Over this last couple of years we’ve been in the pre-phase, getting ready for one of those short term capital initiatives that you spoke about, maybe an 18 months, 2 year campaign. Over this last year we made concerted effort to literally, every weekend, connect people’s giving to the vision. So every Sunday, “Thank you so much for giving, because you gave today this is the amazing thing that’s happening.” Consistently, literally every Sunday. So that and an effective year end campaign.

Our year end campaign was a huge stretch goal, it was our biggest goal ever and we ended up being just shy of 50% over response rate from it. So we blew the doors out of it, God did an incredible thing. Which for us is exciting, we’re like, “Hey God’s up to something.” So I really appreciate that.

We have had some questions come in. If you guys have a few minutes I wouldn’t mind jumping into some of those.

Steve why don’t we start with you? Steve from your perspective, from CCB’s perspective, how many churches, kind of by percentage, are engaged with online giving?

Steve – Yeah I saw that question when it popped up. This might be a little skewed because pretty much every church that we work with does online giving. Our sample size for the survey was, I think, pretty close to every church that we work with.

So the churches that we’re working with, they’re sophisticated enough to use a web-based church management system and they’re doing online giving.

In terms of the percentage of churches that are doing, what we would call the integrated online giving, which is what we were talking there, what I was talking about earlier where it’s not a silo, about 67% of our churches were doing that and then the others were doing something different. So I don’t know if that answers the question but that’s kind of what we saw in our sampling.

Rich – Okay. Derek a question for you. Some older people, say 50s and up have expressed fear about online banking due to debit/credit card information being compromised. I’ve had it happen to me twice. I’ve had thousands of dollars taken out of a debit account. It’s amazing how quickly the banks give you your money back, that’s an incredible thing, but that’s out there right? People know that. How do you address or how do you encourage churches to address that fear in their congregations?

Derek – Yeah it’s a very real fear and there is that whole, really take care of your finances and take care of your privacy and security aspect that doesn’t necessarily come from a company like us, but I would really, really encourage church leaders to have that as part of their teaching along with having the tools in place.

Again, technology doesn’t replace obedience or practicality, so making sure that you’ve got a really good plan in place, for if a compromise does happen.

Companies like ours are required, regulation wise, to have that highest level of what we call PCI compliance. So our standpoint, we’re taking care of this data and if you walk through our office here, we just kind of have our own internal… if a person ever walks away from their terminal at our office and somebody can get to their keyboard before they can, we all have to put $20 into a jar.

We’re so incredibly serious about that kind of thing, but there are still going to be those breaches that happen, like you mentioned, that’s just kind of the era that we live in, until we move into more of a token credit card system.

So I would encourage to have that teaching in place as part of their curriculum as well. Steve or Randy, do you have anything to add on that?

Steve – Rich the only thing I would add to that would be, there’s kind of like some personal responsibility in that too right? If we don’t ever pay attention to what’s going on in our credit card and in our bank accounts, there’s some personal responsibility. We need to take some responsibility to just monitor that stuff, just like we monitor our credit and other things.

I don’t think there’s ever going to be a solution that’s infallible because the hackers are always going to find some way in, but it gets better all the time. Again, if we’re just paying attention to what’s going on in our accounts, I think that will mitigate a lot of it. As you said Rich, if you find something that’s fraudulent, the bank or credit card company are awesome at getting that turned around really quick.

Rich – Yeah I’m not an expert on this stuff at all, the people you’re talking to know about this stuff way more than me, but as just a user, having gone through that twice, the one thing I learned is that it seems like there’s a higher level of risk with you handing a credit card or a bank card over to a guy at a gas station because that’s where it happened both times with me. There’s a much higher risk with that than there is with any of this online giving stuff.

The actual physical possession stuff of the card, it’s like with your own personal computer, if they get physical hands on your computer they can cause all kinds of problems with it. Again I’m not an expert on it but that’s my understanding.

Randy – I would add this to that conversation though, if you want to kill a ministry, mess up finances, regardless of age. The older folks certainly but everyone. So we’re not approaching it as individuals but as we work with churches we are really diligent about coaching them never to have a financial problem, breach or whatever because we know what kind of destruction that can do to ministry.

Rich – Very true.

Randy – If people lose confidence in your ministry’s ability to handle their finances, they’re going to be very reluctant to give, I don’t care what venue you offer them to give.

Rich – Okay this question is for Steve. Scott asked this question. Steve this is him asking the question, not me. He’s asking a hardball question here. There’s a lot of talk, particularly in the Next Generation Generosity eBook about how the impact of offering online and mobile giving, what is the incremental increase in giving from merely adding mobile if you’re already offering online giving? It seems potentially misleading to lump the two options together for comparison, to offering neither. Do you understand the question?

Steve – Yeah I think I understand that. If I’m understanding that correctly that might be actually a better question for Derek to answer because I’m just kind of looking at it as a whole for our churches, maybe Derek can speak to the specific advantage of the mobile piece.

Derek – I am happy to. So the one thing to say right off the bat is that online and mobile is sometimes hard to track on the church’s end. Sometimes what we’re seeing too, is what, a lot of times, we’re calling a mobile experience, is actually just kind of a mobile version of an online page that someone is viewing on their phone.

The way that we measure it on our end, that 2013 study that I told you about, that 260 person case setting, when we were looking at the $50 to $75 to $143 increase, that was just simply from a mobile App. I don’t have any way to compare that to online, what they do online, but that’s straight mobile.

The other thing I will tell you too, is that we ran our December transaction numbers here internally. So we’re working with several hundred churches, we ran, we took both of that out, anonymized it and we were able to just see, kind of how much of total giving derived system comes from a mobile versus online. We actually saw that 66% of all transactions coming through Pushpay were mobile. Again we have the ability to do mobile online etc. When we removed the reoccurring transactions, that number actually jumped up to 80%.

So there is, I don’t have an exact increment that would go up from online versus mobile but I can tell you that the more and more people that are being introduced to mobile, the more people walk to use that experience.

Rich – Very cool. Well this has been a great conversation. We’re going to give each of you a last word. We’ll have a little bit of a lightning round. What would you say to church leaders? This has been a fantastic conversation to learn. I know for me it’s been informative and I hope it’s poked and prodded you if you’re listening in, to be thinking about mobile giving, online giving, Next Generation Generosity in your church and these are obviously great organizations to start the conversation with.

So why don’t we go Steve, Derek and then Randy and we’ll wrap up there. So Steve any last word and then how can people get in touch with your organization if they want more information?

Steve – I think my last word is really a sum up of what’s already been said in different ways by all of us and that is that we really just need to understand that in order to maximize the generosity potential that’s within our churches and our ministries, it’s just really important that we remove as many barriers as we can to giving and really as Jesus taught about in terms of the gospel, reach people where they are. We know that everyone’s got different preferences, in terms of giving, so let’s not limit the number of preferences that we offer those people so we can unlock all of that generosity that’s laden within our churches.

As far as getting in touch with us: is the web address. That’s always the best way to do that. If anybody ever wants to interact with me personally, Twitter is a good place to do that, ccbc is my Twitter account, so I always enjoy connecting there as well.

Derek – The final thing that I would say is just that I think all of us here on this webinar would agree that this idea of the culture of generosity is of huge importance to us. Even as technology companies, we’re still continuing to explore, how do we make sure that the culture of generosity is getting passed onto the next generation? That is one of the bigger concerns that we hear from [unclear 00:43:58]. If I move to online mobile, that’s a siloed individual experience, they don’t get to watch their parents do that. So then this dies even more and more and more.

I hear ideas even from denominational leaders like, “Well we still want to have envelopes for online giving where they can check a box and say I gave online,” because they just want to make sure that there’s a repeatable action that people can see and witness.

So I’m not saying that we have the best answer for how to make sure that happens but then partnering with us isn’t saying to your congregation when they [unclear 00:44:33] the importance of those practices. This is now the easiest way for people to give and we don’t want to stand in the way of that and then we’re going to work together as a community in our church body, so that we don’t lose the community aspect of giving. So that would be my only last thing to say.

Getting in touch with us is pretty easy, we church have the site and there’s a bunch of contact forms on there on any given page. So go in and fill one of those out, but I’m also on Twitter on a regular basis, maybe a little bit too much. Derekgilletteco that stands for company because like I said, my wife and I have got 5 kids, there’s a bunch of us kind of tagging along.

Rich – Nice. Randy a word from you.

Randy – First of all thankfully this is easier than it’s ever been. Technology is starting to become easier, especially if you partner with companies that really get church and really want to serve you well and partner with partners that play well together, that work well together, understand each other and have common values. I certainly would include Derek and Steve and their teams into that mix with us.

So we love working with people that we see have heart and passion for church and want to really serve the church well so that leaders can continue to do what only they can do.

Having said that, we try, regardless of whether we can ever serve you directly as a client or not, we want to serve the local church well. So we try to keep good information on our website and our blog posts on a regular basis. Please visit us at and check us out and peruse the resources of that and we try to stay timely and relevant for you. We really do want to serve you well.

I am [email protected] if you would like to email me but you can also find that link, that email link that can get to me there on our website. I’d love to connect with anyone and help in any way we can and more than anything see that you are well served, so that you can work with the people that God is sending your way.

Rich – Nice. Well thanks so much for tuning in friends. We’re so glad that you’ve taken some time out of your day to listen in. I know that as a church leader you have a lot of different things to wrestle through and think through and this is an important one.

So thank you for taking time, investing that today, whether you watch the livestream or are listening in to a replay later. We’re so glad that you’ve taken some time out.

I really would recommend that you reach out to all three of these guys and their organizations. They are there to help, they want to help your church go further faster and it would be worth your time, effort and energy to connect with them.

So thanks so much and have a wonderful week. Hopefully things go well for the rest of this week as you prepare for this weekend of church services.

Thank you so much.

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.