Vintage City Church in Hickory, North Carolina wanted to bless two strangers facing tough times with gifts of practical assistance. The leadership turned to their congregation—and their new way to give—to make it happen.
The special offering ended up being a perfect opportunity to introduce Smart Giving—Vintage City witnessed significant increases in total giving and new givers.
Smart Giving: 53
Smart Giving: $2,800
We sat down with Caleb Hayworth, Operations and Online Pastor at Vintage City, to hear how they did it.
Vintage City realized they needed an additional way for their church to participate in the offering and Smart Giving fit the bill. Caleb loves the solution:
“Before Smart Giving, our only way to give was through CCB—which was complicated since you had to go to your computer, sit down, and pull out your credit card every time—or check and cash on Sunday morning. I just knew we needed another way to give. Something that was easy, a one sign-up and you’re good to go kind of thing. We’re super excited we found all of that in Smart Giving.”
Why did you decide to take up the special offering?
We were introduced to two ladies through connections of the church. We were so moved by their stories that we knew needed to help. We’d been looking into Smart Giving for a little while and decided a special offering might be the perfect opportunity to roll out this new way to give while we helped.
How did you prep for Smart Giving?
A couple weeks before the service, we started talking about Smart Giving and the special offering and kept reminding people to bring their smartphones or cash and check, if they wanted to give that way.
On the morning of the special offering, we shared the women’s stories with the congregation. We set aside 5-10 minutes during the actual service to explain Smart Giving and to let people try it right then and there.
We have a decent number of older folks in our congregation so we wanted to be mindful of the ways they feel comfortable giving. We said, “If you don’t have a smartphone, you’re still welcome to give cash or check. We’ll pass buckets and you can give that way. If you do have a smartphone, we want you to pull it out and try something with us. Even if you’re not planning on giving more, we’d love for you to send a dollar to see how it works.”
We challenged the church, “We have two $1,000 checks for the people we want to bless this morning. We’re offering the money to the ladies regardless of what’s given today. But we’re counting on our church to raise that and more.” Then we left everyone time to give through Smart Giving.
Afterwards, we had the two ladies come up and presented them each with a check. We prayed for them, sang a couple worship songs, and then I [Caleb] came back up and announced the numbers we raised.
I had gone through the backend of Smart Giving and grabbed the total gifts given, while at the same time, the accounting team counted the cash and checks. We raised a thousand dollars and more so we told the ladies we’d give them the excess later in the week. Both of them ended up receiving close to $2000 each.
Was anyone hesitant about using Smart Giving?
This one couple came up to me after the service—they’re probably in their 40s or 50s—and the woman said she’d given online. Which was pretty surprising since she had to go through CCB to do it and that’s just rough.
In the past, we’ve collected offerings throughout the week, where people could give any time from Sunday to Saturday and it would automatically go towards whatever we were supporting. But this time, I was very clear that we would only be collecting in service through Smart Giving, cash, and check.
I tried to encourage her that if she wanted to give again, “Smart Giving is super easy, and super fast, and you only have to do it once.”
She said, “I know, I know. It’s just another thing.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well we have the church app and we have that other app for serving. It just seems like another thing.
I laughed and responded, “This isn’t another thing you have to download. This is just a number you can text. It’s super easy.”
She still seemed unconvinced, “Yeah I guess. We’ll see. Thanks though!”
I manage our social media so I posted the Friday prior [to the special offering] with a reminder to bring your smartphone so you could give in church on Sunday. This lady attended first service, so during second service, she commented on the Facebook post and said, “Wow! That WAS super easy!”
I was so happy. You just have to give it a chance. Trust me when I say it’s super easy.
Are you happy you rolled out with a special offering?
People definitely loved using Smart Giving because it was a special offering, not just a normal Sunday.
We’ve had special offerings like this in the past, and when we’ve done them, we usually take gifts throughout the week, not just Sunday. So the thing that excited us about this offering was that we raised so much and it was just one day.
It was huge. I can’t tell you how cool it was going through accounting and seeing the names of people who don’t normally give or who haven’t given in a long time pop up in Smart Giving.
Of course, it was really important to remind everyone that "Smart Giving is here forever and you can give like this every week going forward, not just this Sunday."
I mean, we wish we could’ve had the best of both worlds and rolled it out on a regular Sunday and with a special offering, but I really think it helped so much to roll this out with a special offering because we had much higher engagement than usual.
Even if people were only going to give a dollar because they already had cash or check ready, it was still a really good opportunity to say “Hey, just try Smart Giving. Just see how cool this is.”
I’m really excited to see what happens with Smart Giving. For us, seeing 53 people give a total of $2,800 through text was amazing. There was way more on Smart Giving than cash and check. I was so happy about that!
Vintage City had an incredible experience rolling out Smart Giving as part of their special offering. It led to increased excitement and engagement and offered a perfect opportunity for the church to try giving in a new way.
- Takeaway #1: Begin talking about Smart Giving in the weeks prior to the offering so your church becomes more familiar with the concept and is excited to try it when the special offering rolls around.
- Takeaway #2: Remind people they can still give via cash or check. Smart Giving won’t replace existing forms of giving! It just opens the door for more people to give who may not have been able to before.
- Takeaway #3: Emphasize that Smart Giving is here to stay and isn’t just part of the special offering, but available to use every week.
If you're interested in bringing Smart Giving to your church and the possibility of rolling it out through a special offering might make sense, get started by talking with someone from our team!