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Church Offering Goes Digital

Several apps have hit the market that allow people to more easily give offerings or tithes to their churches.

Tithe.ly is one of a handful of apps leveraging that spending behavior for the financial good of the church. Pushpay, which about 3,000 congregations currently use, works similarly in that church members (or guests) decide to contribute to a general budget or a specific program the church designates. Another, EasyTithe, provides a text-to-give option. It also provides technology for a Square-like credit card reader to await the faithful in church lobbies. So people can simply swipe their credit cards to contribute.

Regardless of which app a congregation chooses, the point is convenience. “We call it frictionless giving,” says Dean Sweetman, Tithe.ly’s co-founder and a former minister at C3 Atlanta. He designed the app with C3’s wallet-light clientele in mind: “We see people giving all times of day and night. Nothing stands in the way.”

Churches could send text reminders to congregants to give, making it very easy to do since the phone is in their hands while they’re reading the text. These apps would certainly help prevent a percentage of “forgets” in terms of giving.

Churches using tithing apps report they see more donations, more often, from more people. (Subscribing churches pay a monthly fee or allow the app to collect a cut of each donation. Tithe.ly lets donators cover this; Pushpay promises churches a 5 percent spike in donations or their money back.)

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