Cash and checks have been gradually losing the battle to technology. We shop online. We auto-pay our bills. We connect our credit cards to our online accounts and our phones. We carry less cash every day, and we rarely have our checkbooks.
Along with this shift has come a shift in the way many churches go about collecting tithes and offerings. Online giving is quickly becoming an effective way for churches to stay relevant and successful by offering their congregation a way to give that's quick, comfortable, and convenient.
Online giving also offers your church staff and congregation a few extra benefits. It gives the congregation the ability to schedule a recurring gift, so their tithe is always given regularly, whether they are able to attend church that week or not. It also gives your staff the ability to easily generate tax statements from your online records.
These benefits seem undeniable, especially when you consider how easily online giving lines up with our modern lives. But we do more than just pay our bills and tithe online. We engage with our friends and family. We read the news. We check the weather, the traffic and what time restaurants close. Our calendars live on our phones and are often connected to our email. Online is where we find our information, and our phones and computers are often where we store it.
So why do so many churches still rely on print bulletins and flyer inserts to communicate information to their congregations?
Online giving can be an effective way to get your congregation comfortable with your website and engage with you online. So why stop there?
Here are 10 positive reasons your church should transition from a print bulletin to an online bulletin:
- Cost and time savings: Transitioning from a print bulletin to an online bulletin saves time and money. Not only does it cut your current cost of printing, but also the staff time it takes to produce it and any increases that would occur with the growth of your congregation. The money you saved could then be used for something more critical to the church’s mission, and the time could be used to enhance your website, email and social media efforts.
- More freedom: Your bulletin doesn’t have to be tied to being handed out only at worship services, so it can be sent ahead of time as a heads-up and encouragement for people to attend.
- Fewer errors: It allows for more flexibility, late changes and correcting errors without printing late or reprinting.
- More website traffic: Instead of simply repeating information you already have on your website, you can drive traffic directly there, providing more information and getting your congregation comfortable with your online navigation.
- More relevant: It lines up with how people consume information today, especially on their phones, giving them access to information at all times without having to worry about saving the print bulletin or misplacing it.
- You can show, not just tell: It gives you more options like the ability to incorporate video and include external links.
- Better connection with your congregation: Having your bulletin online gives you the ability to access analytics, so you can see what people are interacting with, if they’re clicking on links and if they’re even reading the bulletin at all.
- Better overall communication with your church: This allows you to continuously evaluate and make improvements based on what you learn, so it fuels changes in your communications strategy.
- Better connection with your other news platforms: It allows easier integration with other online platforms, your church app and social media.
- Gives opportunities for direct calls to action: It draws people to engage with you online by giving you the ability to make your bulletin more interactive. You can incorporate links to registration pages, ministry pages etc., allowing for more direct calls to action.
While shifting from a print bulletin to an online bulletin is definitely a big move, it’s important to consider the facts and evaluate the best way to communicate with your congregation.
You may decide to transition slowly, such as having your bulletin online as well as printing a smaller quantity to have on hand for guests who may come to your services. But if you’re already using online giving successfully, your congregation may be comfortable enough to make the switch.
Still not sure if an e-bulletin is the right thing for you? Listen to one church’s story of how they made the switch and quickly found themselves “Winning with an E-bulletin.”