The arrival of giving kiosks – particularly in places of worship – is making it easy for parishioners to practice the act of giving. Without question, electronic donations are a welcome trend in a world where nearly 50% of church giving transactions are made with a credit or debit card.

But of course, there are tricks to most effectively using this relatively new technology. Churches must give strong consideration to a giving kiosk’s placement, giving options, and even the event registration preferences of patrons.  It must also emphasize that giving – even if it’s via a kiosk – is still considered an act of worship.

Here are four ways churches can best utilize giving kiosks:

1) Kiosk Placement

Location can make or break any business. The same holds true for giving kiosks at church. To strengthen donations and increase convenience for parishioners, carefully consider and plan the physical placement of each kiosk.

Kiosks Should

• Be positioned in an area with plenty of foot traffic
• Be easily accessible for both disabled and able-bodied patrons
• Be clearly visible to parishioners entering the church
• Be promoted by clear and visible promotional banners or signage

Conversely, there are things a church should avoid when installing a new kiosk.

Kiosks Should Not

• Interfere with the free movement of parishioners
• Be prohibitively far from the main entrance
• Be obscured by furniture or signage

Place the kiosk in an area that won’t become congested if a line develops, and that won’t block moving foot traffic. Some parishioners are elderly or disabled, and a long walk could discourage them from making a donation. If parishioners can’t see your giving kiosk, they can’t use it to make a donation.

To help parishioners familiarize themselves with the giving kiosk process, consider playing a short video before your service such as this one:

2) Giving Options

People love having options in nearly every aspect of their lives. From deciding what to pack for lunch to nailing down next year’s vacation destination, choices are the spice of life. Needless to say, people also want choices when they tithe.

To suit the innumerable needs and preferences of patrons, your church should offer various giving options and those options should be connected to the same system, so that donors can manage their accounts from one place.

Simplified Online Giving

Visa recognizes the importance of online giving and recently teamed up with Continue To Give to help make the online giving process better. Visa has published a lower transaction rate associated with charitable giving, available to customers of Continue To Give.

Continue To Give was also ranked by Capterra as one of the top 20 most user-friendly and affordable church management systems of 2018.

Consider These Six Giving Options:

Kiosk Giving – Members can give before or after services, at their own pace.
Phone App – Patrons can manage their recurring donation setup or update payment options.
Text Giving – Congregation can make a tithe simply by dialing a customized 10-digit local number.
Mobile Giving / QR-Code – Access quick giving from printed mail or church bulletins.
Virtual Terminal – Allows donors to make a gift or edit recurring schedules over the phone.
Online Donation Forms  – Churches can easily integrate into their existing website, or anywhere else they wish to share the link.

Giving kiosks are wonderful tools and most effective when complemented by other giving options.

3) Event Registration

Just as tithers love having giving options, they like to have choices when it comes to registering for events too. When selecting a giving kiosk platform, choose one that gives patrons several ways to register for events as well.

While some prefer to sign-up for an upcoming fundraiser in person or over the phone, others favor registering for events electronically. Better still, these systems can track whether an individual is arriving as part of a larger group and it can also keep track of attendees’ contributions to potluck-style events.

Event registration options don’t just benefit attendees. For event organizers, they can alleviate stress by simplifying the registration process.

Attendee and Organizer Benefits

• Some giving kiosk platforms include CRM software that tracks signups, upcoming events, and donations.
• Child check-in systems allow parents and guardians to effortlessly print name tags, log pickup times, and check children into an event.
• By automating event ticketing, patrons have an option to go paperless with emailed tickets that are scanned at the door.

4) Giving As an Act of Worship

Technology is continuing to transform the way people practice religion. Some listen to religious podcasts on the drive to work, for example, while others might read the Bible on their tablets. Some churches even live stream their services.

There has been some backlash to technology in religion – just as there was after the first religious radio broadcast in 1921 – but most churches are now embracing technologies that make life easier and more convenient for parishioners. While technology will never replace brick and mortar churches, it does compliment the services they offer. With this in mind, remember that giving – even via an electronic kiosk – is still considered an act of worship.

This new wave of digital giving accounts for a significant portion of overall donations among churches, particularly at a time when most Americans carry just small amounts of cash. That’s why it’s important to have a giving kiosk strategy in place.

Though technology can do a lot of things, it hasn’t yet mastered the ability to execute a well-designed giving kiosk plan. In an age where donations are as vital as ever, an effective giving kiosk strategy will serve your church and its parishioners well.