Why I Still Use My Sunday Envelope

A few years ago my parish started offering an electronic funds transfer option for Sunday giving: you sign up for the service and a set amount is automatically withdrawn from your checking account every week. No more envelopes!

It’s a good system, and I’ve used it to make some one-time gifts, but I’ve resisted going all-electronic with my Sunday offering. I wasn’t sure why until, for some reason, I was thinking about it last night.

While I think the electronic option would be good for older couples or single persons, as a father with small children it is important to me that my kids see how our family supports the Church financially. If they never see the money we give — if it comes straight out of our accounts to the Church — it is a lot harder for them to see the connection.

By handing them the envelope and encouraging them to “put it in the basket,” hopefully they will learn the habit of giving intentionally to the Church.

Does your parish offer an electronic option for giving? Do you use it?

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Author:Jonathan F. Sullivan

Jonathan F. Sullivan is the director of catechetical services for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. You can follow him on Twitter @sullijo; he also blogs on catechetical topics at www.JonathanFSullivan.com.
  • Brad West

    I think you make a good point about the teaching part to your children. I’m personally a big fan of electronic giving because of the administrative benefits for the community. Envelopes and mailings can be very costly and tie up valuable funds that can be used for other important services. I personally think the envelopes should be done away with entirely and just use the basket. Electronic giving also allows the benefit of givers to get online reports for their own tax records thus reducing administrative time and costs.

    In this day and age of online payments and diminished use of cash, teaching our children about money can be more difficult. Great points.

  • Cleoqc1124

    We are about to start offering those electronic payments. For now it will only be for dues, and not weekly donations. People in charge are afraid that occasional visitors will not feel lead to give if they don’t see the regular parishioners put something in the basket. And I truly see the point. While it doesn’t matter how much one gives, the gesture is important. It’s a communal moment too, and we shouldn’t loose track of that. One idea that we had was to give parishioners the option of putting in an empty envelop when they give electronic payments, we’re still thinking through the various implications.

    Cleoqc, who can’t seem to be able to log in on my ipad