Churches in the Diocese of Sheffield are being encouraged to take part in a trial period of contactless giving machines in their places of worship.
Any church taking part can borrow the machines for up to three months, before deciding on whether they want to purchase the devices permanently. The main focus of the scheme is to loan out the machines for life events such as weddings, baptisms and funerals.
Screens can be made available for specific fundraising campaigns, with internet coverage not being an issue.
Devices that are borrowed don’t have to be approved via a PCC process, as they would when purchased. It’s hoped the demonstration of a successful trial could speed up the approval process further down the line.
Generosity and Giving Officer Luke Bunting says they were keen to progress the idea after seeing the potential impact it could have:
“It was just a matter of asking if we can do it. We purchased more machines following the national rollout, so we now have six Collectin contactless machines (for donations) and around five Sum-Up solo machines (for payments).
“There’s a distinct difference there. A donation machine can be used for charitable giving at life events such as baptisms, weddings and funerals. The sum up devices are more for taking payments at events like church fayres or something similar. The trial periods are usually based around a particular time of year or a campaign that they’re running, so people can see if it works for them.”
There are no geographic restrictions on where the machines can operate, with guidance offered on how to set up the devices.
Luke says the general trend they’re seeing is that people are seeing the value in using contactless giving:
“Often there have been quotes from parishes such as Beighton and Ecclesfield around the surprise they’ve had over how much more money they’ve been raising from life events. They were also surprised at the amount that they received; in one case a parish raised £300 in one go – enough to buy the contactless machine in one go if they had wished to.
“As it stands, I think every parish that’s borrowed one has gone on to either buy a machine or extend the trial period. The value has been grasped. It works in different ways in different places. The Hickleton Chapter and Anglo-Catholic parishes have been particularly enthusiastic because of their tradition and focus on plate giving; these machines offer a quick contactless solution to that.
“You can create as many campaigns as you like and can provide them in lists. You can set them up separately and can adapt the donation amounts you need, so this is a really flexible system. For any parishes that are interested in using them and renting one, for me it’s really a no brainer because you can see the benefit of them right away.”
Six contactless devices are in place along with four Sum Up solos, with five more Collectin donations machines on the way.
Ian Hudson, Warden at Beighton, said:
“We were looking for a means of taking electronic payments because of the number of life events taking place at Beighton, especially baptisms, where very few people attending were carrying cash. We were unsure how it would work in a 12th-century building without internet or WIFI. Talking with the Generosity team, we were alerted to the ‘try before your buy scheme’, where they make contactless giving available to parishes. We had a device on loan from the diocese for one month and ran it off my mobile data, so connectivity wasn’t a problem. In that time, we received more than the cost of a new device. We liked the CollecTin machine and contactless experience so much that we bought our own. It continues to pay its way, particularly over Christmas when our collections increased significantly over the previous year. The support and care we received from the COGS team in implementing, training and ongoing support with the CollecTin have been excellent.”
Christopher Harper, Treasurer at Ecclesfield, said:
“At St Mary’s we are exploring ways of helping people to be able to donate to the church where they don’t carry cash but still want to be able to contribute financially to the work of St Mary’s.
“As part of their ‘try before you buy’ scheme, the Diocese finance team allowed us to trial the ‘CollecTin More’ contactless giving device to gauge interest before committing to a purchase. This was received well by the PCC and generated interest and questions from the congregation, and we received donations that we ordinarily wouldn’t have received, a couple from visitors to our church.
“We feel this will really help us, particularly at life events such as weddings and baptisms and from feedback from the trial our PCC has recently purchased the Payaz contactless device and the Diocese finance team has supported us with setting this up.”
For more information on how to set up contactless giving in your church, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org