Church Donations: Quick & Easy Offering Plate Alternatives

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Knox United Church, Dorset ON. This was my 'summer church' for many years.
  • Church Donations: Quick & Easy Offering Plate Alternatives

The number one reason ministries have lost revenue during the pandemic: “We are unable to receive donations because we aren’t meeting physically.” (WayBase survey results)

If your church has relied only on passing the offering plate to collect tithes and offerings, you need a new way for your congregation to support your church during the COVID-19 crisis. If you are unsure where to start with electronic giving or if you have church members for whom that is not an option, read on. The Canadian Council of Christian Charities is providing you with seven quick and easy alternatives to passing the plate.

Donations: What’s Happening Right Now

CCCC teamed up with WayBase to survey Christian ministries and find out how they are doing during the pandemic crisis. Over 2,600 ministries responded (about 80% were churches), and the results will be released June 9, 2020. What we learned from the survey prompted us to create a guide to help churches and other ministries provide their donors with new and easy ways to donate.

Overall, almost 70% of Christian ministries have lost revenue and two thirds said one of the reasons was that they are unable to receive donations because they aren’t meeting physically. This implies that passing the offering plate during a service was the only way their church received tithes and offerings. Other factors for loss of income include job losses by donors (55%) and fear (38%).

The percentage of revenue lost by local churches ranged from minimal to catastrophic:

  • 7% have lost up to 10%
  • 28% have lost 11-25%
  • 28% have lost 26-50%
  • 15% have lost 51-75%
  • 16% have lost 76-100%

Increase Donations by Increasing Giving Options

We know that adding alternative giving methods will increase donations because, of the 5% of churches who increased their revenue, almost half did so by expanding their giving options (e.g., online giving).

We saw an initial drop in revenue but we have now seen a recovery to regular levels since we began online giving.

-Survey Respondent

Guide to Alternative Giving Methods

So, in the spirit of helping our brothers and sisters in local church ministry, and other ministries who haven’t set up e-giving yet, here is a guide from CCCC that you can freely share with any ministry that needs help setting up new ways of receiving donations. It includes four ways to safely receive cash and cheques, and three simple ways to get started with e-giving.

The guide includes an appendix of instructions you can provide to your donors so they will know how to give using your new options. I’ve pulled that appendix out and made it available as a Word file so you can personalize the donor instructions to suit your ministry for the giving options that you choose.

Click image to download “Passing the Plate” During Physical Distancing
Click image to download Donor Instructions for E-giving Options

May the Lord bless you and your ministry!

Thoughts on Church Donations: Quick & Easy Offering Plate Alternatives

  1. David Nieman (St Matthews Cornwall)

    We were expecting to hear if funding would be available and how to apply

    1. John PelloweJohn Pellowe Post author

      Hi David,
      Sorry to disappoint you. The post title and the email that went out both refer to alternatives to the offering plate. That covers other ways of collecting cheques as well as e-giving ideas.

      We have covered government funding in our Noteworthy blog, but the most extensive discussion is in our online community called The Green. I sent you an invitation to join the COVID Response room (free to non-members) and you will find a lot of discussion about government support there.

      And, of course, you can always go to the government site for information at



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