Seventeen years ago this month Dr. Spencer Johnson released a book entitled Who Moved My Cheese. This book was a business fable which resonated deeply; 26 million copies were sold worldwide. It is still one of the best-selling business books of all time.

In the book there were four characters: two mice, “Sniff” and “Scurry,” and two little people, miniature humans in essence, “Hem” and “Haw.” (The names of the little people are taken from the phrase “hem and haw,” a term for indecisiveness.) They live in a maze, a representation of one’s environment, and look for cheese, representative of happiness and success. Initially without cheese, each group, the mice and humans, paired off and traveled the lengthy corridors searching for cheese. One day both groups happen upon a cheese-filled corridor at “Cheese Station C.” Content with their find, the humans establish routines around their daily intake of cheese, slowly becoming arrogant in the process.

One day Sniff and Scurry arrive at Cheese Station C to find no cheese left, but they are not surprised.

Noticing the cheese supply dwindling, they have mentally prepared beforehand for the arduous but inevitable task of finding more cheese.

Leaving Cheese Station C behind, they begin their hunt for new cheese together. Later that day, Hem and Haw arrive at Cheese Station C only to find the same thing – no cheese. Angered and annoyed, Hem demands, “Who moved my cheese?” The humans have counted on the cheese supply to be constant and so are unprepared for this eventuality. After deciding that the cheese is indeed gone, they get angry at the unfairness of the situation and both go home starved. Returning the next day, Hem and Haw find the same cheeseless place. Starting to realize the situation at hand, Haw thinks of a search for new cheese. But Hem is dead set in his victimized mindset and dismisses the proposal.

Candidly, this behavior sounds eerily similar to a lot of our churches. We become complacent in how we serve our members by only allowing them to give when the offering plate is passed. They are only able to give cash or checks, as “it has always been done this way.” Yet, in the real world, our members are transacting commerce using electronic banking, Apple Pay and purchasing everything from bicycles to books on Amazon. Most people I know don’t even know where their checkbook is, yet we continue to go to Cheese Station C hoping we will have enough to fund our mission.

Please take a moment to view the following graph:

DeclineOfChecks

According to the Triennial Federal Reserve the cheese has moved.

In the year 2000 there were in excess of 40 billion transactions made using a Check, yet only 24 billion (combined) electronically. In 2012 the numbers more than reversed. There were in excess of 82 billion transactions made electronically and less than 20 billion using a check.

So what are the implications of this for the church? Where is giving going?

According to the following graph from the Online Marketing Study by Blackbaud, giving online (electronically) is projected to increase 176.4% from 2012 to 2022, yet overall fundraising is to increase 18.4%.

LevelOfOnlineFundraising

Giving appears to be following the marketplace trend where more transactions are being made electronically.

In a recent study 74% of nonprofit organizations said they needed to improve their online/electronic giving experience. Is your church one of them?

Yes, the cheese has moved. Hem and Haw would avoid making a decision and would probably get stuck in committee while Sniff and Scurry would realize they need to invest in a solution designed to serve their members and position them for the future.

We are pleased to say we serve a myriad of churches with iDonate Text Giving and unified giving solutions. Both make it possible for members to easily give from their hand held devices and computers – whatever is most convenient for THEM.

Allow me to encourage you to explore Cheese Station E (Electronic). There is no doubt you and your members will be glad you did.

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