Sanford Levings

"Hi, I’m Sanford Levings, President of MinistryCFO and author of this blog. The purpose of our blog is to share with you information and insights that we gather from working with and listening to our clients and partners, located throughout the country." read more

Why Electronic (Digital) Checks Trump Manual Checks

And the Importance of Recognizing the Trend

Let’s quickly get on the same page regarding manual checks. Manual checks are handwritten checks that are placed in the offering plate each Sunday.  Another 5 – 15% of manual checks arrive via direct mail.

Let’s now jump to electronic (digital) checks. Electronic checks come in two


1. Online Giving checks. These electronic checks are often referred to as ACH transactions. ACH stands for: automatic clearing house. An ACH transaction is nothing more than a regular check, initiated and sent online as opposed to being handwritten.

2. Bill pay checks are electronic checks sent either:

a. From an individual’s Internet banking portal,

b. From an individual’s accounting software, such as Quicken, Mint and Freshbooks.

So why do electronic checks trump manual checks?

Answer: Electronic checks can be set up to be recurring.

There is no better predictable revenue giving stream for a church than to have more and more donors being set up to make automatic recurring electronic check donations to your church!

Once an electronic check has been set up as a recurring, then there is zero incremental work to be done on the part of the donor.

The donor attends church, passes the offering plate (without dropping a manual check into the plate) and his / her automated system makes sure that the monthly donation commitment continues indefinitely. In the event, the donor is away on vacation and / or sick, the automated monthly donation system still makes the donation!

Outlook for Manual Checks

Manual checks are going the way of the steam engine. The younger generations, Generation X’ers and Y’ers live in the digital age. Handwritten checks are completely foreign to them.

At MinistryCFO, we believe it is important to track church revenue by electronic giving. If the electronic giving in your church is not growing, then that’s a red flag indicator that your congregation is aging.


At MinistryCFO, we want to keep your abreast of these subtle, yet important,

insights and trends.