May 21, 2020

ACH Giving Can Help Houses of Worship in a Pandemic and Beyond


Michael W. Kahn

Michael W. Kahn


Weeks turned into months, as houses of worship remained shut by the coronavirus pandemic. In some places, they’re beginning to reopen, but many people do not want to venture back yet. And all the while, donations are often lagging, as one Sunday after another passes by. 

It’s a conundrum for churches, which rely on the generosity of the faithful to continue their mission. That was the focus of the May 20 webinar “Tithing for the 21st Century and the ‘New Normal,’” hosted by “Church Executive” magazine and featuring two Nacha experts. (Download presentation.)

They put the spotlight on helping churches increase the number of parishioners giving by ACH. Debbie Barr, Senior Director, ACH Network Rules Process & Communications, said the pandemic only heightened the urgency, and suggested a key theme for religious leaders to communicate.

“Even though we are all on our stay-at-home orders, there are so many needs in our communities, and the mission still must go on,” said Barr. Giving by ACH “is a way to continue to fund the missions for the community, even though you’re at home.”  

Barr noted that by having an ACH electronic payment option it’s all done remotely, and members can continue to contribute even though they’re not present in-person. Not only does that remove the need to be in church to fill the collection plate, she said, it also eliminates handling cash and checks, making for a healthier experience.

Brad Smith, Senior Director, ACH Network Administration and Industry Verticals, said that even when the pandemic is a memory, there are still excellent reasons for houses of worship to embrace ACH giving.

“ACH donors make an average of 8.2 donations per 12-month period, compared to 3.5 donations for other payment types. Those that use ACH for their tithing give about $1,700 over a 12-month period versus $650 over that same 12-month period,” said Smith. 

Additionally, more than 70% of ACH givers schedule recurring donations, which Smith noted has its own benefits.

“This allows for more continuous, regular, expected giving, which allows you to budget better.”

If you know a church or other charitable organization that could benefit from starting an ACH donation program, or expanding an existing program, Nacha can help. Our complimentary Nonprofit Toolkit is available for download at

You can listen to the complete “Tithing for the 21st Century and the ‘New Normal’” webinar on the Church Executive website. It is free.