When We Hear, 'The Check is in the Mail'
By Ken Sloane
Hearing “the check is in the mail” in these COVID-19 days of social distancing is good news for our churches.
While the pandemic has encouraged many local churches that were not offering the option of electronic giving to get on board, it is good to remember that electronic giving is one option among many. Local church leaders often report to me about congregations who are resistant to online giving and have members who still choose to mail their offering to the church.
What should you do about that?
First, celebrate the faithfulness of these dedicated donors and supporters of your church’s mission and ministry. Second, make mailed-in donations as easy and safe as you can.
ENSURE THE MAIL IS SECURE WHEN IT IS RECEIVED
A rented mailbox at the post office is the best way to go when you are receiving significant donations via USPS. Mail delivered to a standard mailbox in front of the church is a temptation to theft. A post office box should be able to hold enough donations so that pick up can happen just once or twice a week. Remind donors that the post office box address is the safe way to send donations by mail. (Note: If your local post office does not have an available box to rent, inquire with post office staff about holding church mail for weekly pick-up.)
PROVIDE PROPER PRECAUTIONS WHEN MAILED OFFERINGS LEAVE THE POST OFFICE BOX
It is always recommended that two or more people be present when handling the offering, and at least two are required for counting the offering. An easy way to accomplish this is to have two counters retrieve mailed-in offerings from the post office before counting the weekly offering.
MAKE SURE YOUR MAIL-IN DONORS KNOW THEIR FAITHFULNESS IS APPRECIATED
Some churches are providing a monthly stamped envelope, pre-addressed to the church’s post office box to make giving easier during the pandemic time. They send these smaller envelopes inside a business-size envelope that includes a short, personal note of thanks for the members’ support. The cost of two stamps is small compared to the monthly benefit to the church and the blessing to the donors to know their faithfulness is appreciated. In pandemic days, getting to the post office to buy stamps can be one more anxiety-producing task.
DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT THE AGE OF YOUR MAIL-IN DONORS
I’ve become increasingly aware of people across all age groups who are distrustful of transmitting personal financial information electronically. This is a good reason to share with online donors a statement describing the levels of security in place by whatever online giving vendor your church has chosen. The point here is to remember that not all mail-in givers are elderly, and not all older adults are technophobic.
Ken Sloane is the Director of Stewardship & Generosity for Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church.