While churches tend to represent conservative values and are typically very reluctant to change, some have also recognized the advantages of modernizing their donation systems. In this current age of digitization, cash is on the decline while credit cards continue to gain popularity. This coupled with the fact that Millennials and Generation Z tend to be less religious is likely putting a significant strain on church budgets in the Western world.
To mitigate this trend, churches have started accepting credit card payments. I witnessed this for the first time in Wambrechies, France at the St. Vaast Church. Due to the Second World War, a large part of the church was destroyed. Even though the Church was ultimately rebuilt, the paintings inside the Church have yet to be restored. As a result, the Church is carrying out a fundraising effort of 350 million EUR in order to finally be able to restore the church to what it once was (see first image). Realizing that its target audience has evolved, the Church has attempted to keep up as well by not only offering a coin collected but also offering self-service credit card machine (see second image). Not only is this very smart in terms of practicality, but it could also have the effect of increasing the amount donated by person. It is true that customers are less aware of how much they are spending when they are using a credit card versus when they are using cash. As a result, the donors may end up being more generous with their donations than simply offering the church the change that they have in their pockets. Furthermore, the fact that the donor in the banner is a young adult is likely not due to chance. The church is aiming to have the viewer project themselves in the ad and feel like this request for donations is specifically aimed at them.
Finally, this convenience is also available in case you would like to light a candle (see last image). Would you use this payment convenience or would you prefer to give cash and coins? Does it feel less authentic to pay with a digital form of payment? Is there anything that might worry you in terms of the security of the payment?