Should You Invest In A Church Giving Kiosk?

Thomas CostelloChurch Leadership Leave a Comment

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

When it comes to digital giving options, a church giving kiosk is a popular option. Think of it as a collection plate that takes credit cards.

The big question is whether your church should invest in a giving kiosk or not. Despite prices dropping drastically from tens of thousands to a few hundred dollars for some models, it’s still an investment.

Before making a decision, it’s important to look at the pros and cons to see if a kiosk is the right addition to your giving strategy.

What Is A Church Giving Kiosk

You might immediately think of a church giving kiosk as a giant ATM-like machine sitting in a dusty corner of your church with gaudy, flashy light. While there are still models like that, a giving kiosk can be as simple as a specialized tablet on a stand.

As the name implies, they’re designed to provide a way for church members and visitors to give with a credit card. This is ideal for people who want to give while they’re in your church, but may not have cash or they don’t want to sign up for online tithing on your church website or app.

It can be placed almost anywhere in your church that provides easy access to it. Many churches place them in a lobby area or in the back of the worship area. As long as people can see it and get to it easily, it’s a great location.

Provide Members With More Giving Options

The days of people carrying cash are starting to fade. While they’re not gone just yet, half of Americans only carry cash with them half of the time. However, 37% of Americans list cash as their favorite payment method simply to help them from overspending.

At the same time, the same percentage preferred to use a debit card, which provides the convenience of a credit card, but the same overspending deterrent as the money comes directly out of their bank account.

On the other hand, there are over 450 million credit cards in use in the United States. To say credit cards are popular is an understatement.

The takeaway from the above stats is clear – only offering your members the ability to tithe with cash could be limiting your donations. You have to provide a variety of giving options to make it more convenient for everyone to give.

This is where a church giving kiosk can help. All those people carrying debit or credit cards over cash have a way to give each week. Otherwise, they’re left going to an ATM before church to get cash to put in the collection plate.

Having the ability to simply swipe a card, choose an amount and be done is incredibly appealing. Naturally, you should also offer other giving options, such as via your website or a church app. Many online giving providers offer several services to help give your members and visitors more ways to tithe easily.

A Kiosk Can Make People Feel More Secure

Church should be the last place someone would think about stealing, but sadly, theft happens. New visitors, members, volunteers and even church staff could all be guilty.

When you’re mainly dealing with cash, there’s a good chance all that cash being passed around isn’t all going to make it to your church. Someone might drop in a few dollars, but pick up a $10 bill when no one’s looking. Or in the case of one Florida church, an usher could steal from the plate during a prayer.

Sometimes, people are afraid to give because they’re afraid their money might get stolen. Some churches also allow checks and even ask members to write down credit card numbers and amounts to be entered after services. Both of those are major security risks.

Someone can easily grab someone’s bank account or credit card number and steal that person’s financial identity. It’s a dangerous practice and one that’s completely unnecessary.

A church giving kiosk helps everyone feel more secure when giving. Since you swipe a card (some may even allow you to scan a check), the information isn’t visible to anyone else. Even church staff can’t see the credit or debit card numbers.

Plus, with no cash involved, no one’s able to simply pocket some of the cash before it’s ever counted. It’s a win for your church while providing more peace of mind to donors.

Kiosks Encourage Giving Before And After Services

Yes, it is possible for church-goers to get cash before coming to church. But, some people hate the judgement that comes from their fellow members if they don’t toss in enough cash. For instance, someone might give $50, while another may only give $5. This creates instant judgement and awkwardness.

On the other hand, people can avoid the collection plate stress and give either before or after services. A new visitor who enjoyed the sermon immensely might feel better about giving than they did when the collection plate went around.

There is a downside to this though. Since most people aren’t going to want to get up and use the kiosk during a sermon, some people might not have a chance to use it. For example, anyone who typically barely makes it on time or has to hurry out to go to work or another obligation won’t have time to use the kiosk. This is why you should offer other digital giving options too.

When you just have plates of money, you have no idea who is giving what. Yes, you can add everything up and divide it by the number of attendees to see what the average donation was. But, that still doesn’t give you a clear picture.

A church giving kiosk gives you more data to analyze trends. You’ll see individual donation amounts and which periods of time yield the highest and lowest totals. For instance, you might see lower numbers in January as people are more strapped for cash while paying off holiday debt.

This also gives you data into how people prefer to give and the ideal amount to suggest. Adding a suggested amount can help encourage higher giving totals, especially when people aren’t always sure what to give.

Kiosks Can Help With Other Things Too

While a church giving kiosk is definitely for tithing purposes, it doesn’t have to be used just for that. When deciding to invest in one, the cost might be more worth it if you’re using it for a variety of things. Of course, some kiosks only manage donations as they’re basically just card scanners.

Others, however, serve other purposes, such as:

  • Event registration – Provide a quick sign up form for all types of events along with accepting registration payments, if applicable.
  • Volunteer signups – Add names and contact details to various volunteer opportunities.
  • Print name tags (when connected to a printer) – Get quick name tags for special events as people check in.
  • New visitor check-in – Gather new visitor information to follow up with them later.

All of these might make a kiosk a more sound investment for your church. Naturally, you can offer most of these via your church website or app as well. But, offering a kiosk gives people who don’t have a computer or smartphone an easy way to register.

Only One Person Can Give At A Time

One of the biggest downsides of using a church giving kiosk is only one person can give at a time. Larger churches often have multiple giving kiosks for this very reason.

If you have a smaller church, a single kiosk may do the job quite well. However, as your church grows, you might notice longer and longer lines, which can discourage people from giving.

To offset the lines, offer online giving through your church website or mobile app (some online giving providers offer giving apps as well).

Depending on how much the kiosk is used, it may be worth investing in two. This cuts down on lines too. But, only add a second if you feel it’s necessary for your growing church.

Kiosks Supplement Other Giving Options

Despite how prevalent smartphones and computers might be, not everyone has them or knows how to use them. Some people might not even have Internet access at home.

Kiosks work to supplement other giving options. For those who’d like to use a credit or debit card but can’t use your website or mobile app, a kiosk is a great option.

Another thing to consider is new visitors. They might forget to donate when they get home. Plus, they’re highly unlikely to already have your mobile app, if you have one. Please note that custom apps aren’t always necessary, especially for smaller churches.

Having a kiosk gives them a quick and easy way to donate to your church. The kiosk serves as a visual reminder and they’re able to step to the side, donate and then mingle with members.

People Notice Kiosks, Especially New Visitors

Speaking of being noticeable, kiosks definitely stand out. For new visitors, this is ideal. After all, they’re not familiar with your church. Having an obvious church giving kiosk helps lead them to where they want to go.

For members who are busy socializing before or after services, the kiosk serves a reminder to quickly tithe before they leave. Sometimes, just having a visual reminder helps increase tithing.

To make things easier, provide a simple step-by-step user guide on the wall above the kiosk or on a table beside it. Seeing instructions available helps anyone who might be hesitant go ahead and use the kiosk.

You Can Pick A Style That’s Right For Your Church

There are a wide variety of church giving kiosk styles available. You could go with the more traditional ATM-style look. These are big, bulky and much more expensive.

On the other hand, some are simple stands with a custom laptop or tablet that has giving software on it. The laptop or tablet is made to only allow access to the software installed on it. It may also have CRM software to manage event registrations, check-ins and more.

The most basic variety looks more like the card scanners you use in retail stores. There’s a small screen to choose the amount, a place to slide or insert your card and a keyboard to enter pin numbers.

You could even create your own kiosk if you already have online tithing setup on your church website. Buy a tablet or laptop, position it on a secure table. Limit access to just your church website’s giving page. Then, people can just use that.

Another option for smaller churches to skip the kiosk and use a smartphone card scanner like Square. Have several volunteers on hand with these card scanner equipped smartphones to allow members to donate quickly. You can even have the volunteers walk around while the collection plate is being passed to collect digital donations at the same time.

A Church Giving Kiosk May Be Portable

Depending on the model, your kiosk might be portable. If you hold services at various locations or host events outside of the church, this allows you to provide an on-site giving option wherever you are (if you have Internet access).

Some kiosks have a tablet built into the stand, making it more difficult to move. But, if the tablet or laptop isn’t attached, it’s much easier to move. Or, the kiosk may be lightweight enough to move anyway.

Analyze How Members Give Most Often

If you’re still on the fence about whether you should invest in a church giving kiosk, talk with your members. Ask them how they prefer to give or pay attention to how many give online versus in-church.

If there isn’t much interest in a kiosk, then it’s not worth the investment. However, if members are excited about the idea, it may be the perfect option for increasing tithing.

Whatever you do, always offer other digital giving options, especially on your church website. This allows any online followers to give as well.

Whether you have a church giving kiosk or not, a church website is still one of your most useful tools for increasing giving and church growth. Contact us today to find out how we can help your church grow with an incredible website.

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