Is the end of the collection plate nigh?

According to a recent report from JustGiving, which raises cash for charities online, donations to religious causes have increased by 128 per cent over the past five years. Older donors have led the trend and are choosing the email inbox over the collection box in ever larger numbers.

Direct religious donations by the over-60’s outstripped those of any other age-group, nearly trebling over the period, according to the report.

Harnessing the internet to benefit from the generosity of the faithful muts now become a priority for churches if they are to survive, the report shows.

The Right Rev Stephen Lowe, retired Church of England bishop for urban life and faith was quoted as saying: “We have not got the gear to receive the donations. How much longer can we keep passing the plate when people have not got the cash?“.

So, are we going to see the day when mobile phones will be permitted – nay – encouraged in church during services so that the congregation can donate by text? It’s clear we are increasingly becoming a cashless society, so at the very least, churches need to start thinking of alternatives to the traditional collecting plate.

What do you think?

One thought on “Is the end of the collection plate nigh?

  1. I hope we don’t get to the stage of everyone getting their mobiles out half way through the service to contribute towards the collection, but you never know.The collection plate is a rather archaic way of raising money but it does have the merit of being a visible way in which we can contribute to the costs of running the church and show that our offering is part of the worship that we offer to God.However, the reality is that the collection plate has been superseded, to a large extent, not by individual giving via schemes like JustGiving, but by people planning their giving and doing it by direct debit – which is much the most efficient way.The old collection plate harks back to a Victorian era when most people would not have had bank accounts and so contributions in ready cash were the only way people could pay towards the church’s costs. Now that nearly everyone has a bank account, it is much better for the church to ask them to think about their giving and to do it in a planned way via direct debit – which is what we do in St Michael’s through our various Stewardship campaigns.I think we should keep the collection plate as a symbol of our giving, but the real money is elsewhere.


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