• The Rev Ken Howard

Keeping Congregations Connected: When You Can’t Pass the Offering Plate…

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 involve some form of online giving.

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 FundlyNetwork for Good – DonateNow, and QGiv. Generic platforms, such as PaypalVenmo, 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, 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…]

This post is part of an ongoing series. Future topics may include:

  • Online worship at a distance Part 2: Communion at a Distance

  • Online Outreach Part – 2: More tools and strategies.

  • Social Vulnerability: A new tool for predicting at-risk neighborhoods.

  • Things people can do to create a sense of community with their neighbors and neighborhoods.

  • Tools and strategies for hosting online fellowship.

  • Tools and strategies for facilitating online bible study and formation. 

  • Tools and strategies congregations can use to locate and reach populations most vulnerable to COVID19. 

  • Tools and strategies by which judicatories can resource their congregations

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