As I meet with parishes and dioceses I find that people think of their electronic giving application and their offering envelopes separately. Recently we were visiting a parish where these were two different staff members who managed the different offerings! When we asked them if they were working together on how to get the most out of both, they said no. By the end of our meeting they recognized the need to plan together to coordinate the two.
Even more concerning are parishes who place electronic giving and envelopes at odds with each other. "How do we decide which to use? Can we eliminate envelopes?" This approach completely misses the idea that we are providing options to parishioners so everyone can give from a sense of abundance and gratitude. we don't want to exclude anyone.
In our desire to compartmentalize functions and organize ourselves, sometimes we miss the opportunity to create an environment to foster cross-communications. Both web sites and electronic giving are technology based; however, their use is for communications and for contributions. While the skill set to understand the administration of electronic giving is different from the skill set to manage offering envelopes, the purpose of both of them is the same. So periodically it makes sense to step back and talk about these tools together as a parish staff. This includes how we represent them to parishioners.
As we all have gained experience with electronic giving it has become clear that we have to think about electronic giving and offering envelopes together as options for parishioners to use for contributions. Use them to reinforce each other by including your electronic giving URL on your envelopes and by reminding Online Giving users they can use envelopes at Mass and select "gave electronically". Remind envelope users if they forgot to give to a special collection they can use Online Giving and give to that collection as a One Time Gift.
This is a wonderful opportunity to remind parishioners about prayerful giving. As we talk about the introduction of electronic giving to our parish, we can use that opportunity to thank people for using envelopes. Our parishes can provide us options that are convenient for us as parishioners, and we can even use both as the need arises! What a great time to update your envelope designs and to express gratitude to people for their contributions. As a result we can raise overall awareness, remind people of the tools available to them, and get more engagement and contributions from both our electronic giving and our envelopes.
Use the introduction of new tools like Online Giving to create synergy for your parish! The same goes for web sites and Online Giving, but that's good for another time!