I try and get to church at least once a month, if not every other week, and I can safely say that on the occasions that I do actually manage to attend, I rarely remember to carry cash with me. My local church is only a short walk from my house so I don’t even always take my bag with me with my purse, just my phone and keys! So the chances of actually having a decent donation on my person is, I’m sad to say, pretty small.
This is something all churches are facing now – A cashless society. Their congregations are tending to get younger, and the younger generation tend to carry cash less and less when they are used to paying for everything via contactless.
To try and remedy this decline in cash donations, Church of England Churches have been trialing a new digital collection box which has seen a huge increase of 97% in donations.
What have the Church of England done to tackle the cashless society issue?
The Church of England partnered with a technology firm to make a portable device that could take contactless payments.
Parishioners are given 4 options to choose from, decided by the church, and they then use their card or smartphone to make the payment.
We love how the co-founder of the technology company have summed this partnership up – “an amazing example of tradition meeting technology”.
Cash donations may be on the decline, but that doesn’t mean that people’s generosity is waning. Far from it.
Congregations just need the donation process to be as easy as possible, and in today’s society, that means contactless. If cashless is what it takes to meet the generosity of the people, then cashless is the way to go.
There are 2 ways to use the device. One is portable, so can be handed round the congregation just like the little bag! This can do 500 transactions before it needs to be recharged, so even large scale churches can benefit from this.
It can also be fixed to a table-top, so parishioners can donation on their way in, on their way out or even during the service.
So far only about a dozen churches are using the digital collection box out of about 16,000 churches and cathedrals that are run by the Church of England, so their is huge scope to roll this out nationwide.
One of the churches that has been trialling the technology, in East Greenwich, says the scheme has gone down well with their congregation, so it’s all looking very promising.
This particular church has seen the demegraphic of their parishioners get lower and lower in terms of age over previous years, with many more families, children and young people coming through the doors.
As we said earlier, the younger generation tend to carry cash even less than other people, so to stay ahead of the game, churches will now have to embrace today’s latest technologies and try new things in order to give people the means to make their donations match their generosity.
So with the support from Visa, GooglePay and ApplePay, these devices are revolutionising the way churches will be collecting donations.
The future of contactless payments
This year we are going to see a huge uptake in contactless payments, with the need for cash diminishing even further. Churches are one of those institutions that rely, and always will rely, on the donations and generosity of their congregation. But as the demographic of this congregation changes, so must the ways in which these donations are collected.
These digital collection plates will ensure that parishioners and donaters can give their chosen amount quickly and easily with just a tap.
I can safely say that if I could just tap my card onto a device my church presented during the 3rd hymn, my donation would be significantly higher than the coins I find when I root around in my purse in a rush and a panic.
It really is a case of tradition meeting technology.