By Ken Sloane
My wife and I attended a concert of a Community Chorale in our city, Nashville, TN. After the intermission, the president of the Chorale spoke of some the funding needs of the Chorale, and at that point a giant thermometer was projected on a screen behind the singers. He invited the audience to take out our phones and to consider texting a donation. As people texted gifts, we began to see gifts of $10, $20, $25 scroll across the screen, and gifts of $100 or $200. Some people added their name to their donations, and some wrote short messages of support for singers, or noting that gifts were given in memory of someone. This outpouring of giving happened while the choir sang the second part of their program.
As the program and the donations continued, the excitement of the audience was rising as the giving came closer and closer to the Chorale’s goal of $20,000. As the goal was met and passed, the audience cheered and applauded in the middle of the performance, and the singers (who had their backs to the screen) knew something extraordinary had happened, and they continued to sing their hearts out.
What are the ways that technology like this might be used in the setting of our local churches?
An infographic, provided by the company MobileCause, is included below if you would like to download it. They call this kind of giving “in-the-moment” giving. It may seem like a cutting-edge technique, something you may think your congregation isn’t ready to embrace. Isn’t this really what churches have been doing for years, when we pass the plate in worship, or after a presentation by a missionary visiting our churches? In-the-moment giving is something we know well, and while the technology is more advanced, the touching and moving of hearts to generosity is as tried and true as it has ever been.
Ken Sloane is the Director of Stewardship & Generosity for Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church.