6 available options for online giving for churches

This is installment number 3 of my continuing series of posts about online giving. Once you decide that this strategy is something you want to invest in, what do you do next?

The first step is to figure out which giving options you want to offer to people who want to donate online. By providing as many options as possible, it ensures that your church does not miss any opportunity for giving simply because your preference doesn’t match the preference of the giver.

The first thing you should know is that there is not one right way to give. The first sacrifices were certainly not paper checks and cash. It is not the role of the church to define what giving methods are acceptable. The goal of the church is to move people to be faithful and obedient in giving.

Given that, there are a plethora of options to offer for online giving. Some of the most popular are:

  1. Bank Draft or ACH Debits
    This is where either the church or a third-party processor receives a request from the giver to set up automated giving at specific intervals. Sometimes this is called recurring giving. It is the most valuable and least expensive electronic transaction. This can sometimes be managed within the member profile section of a church management software solution if the functionality exists.
  2. Credit Cards
    Some churches are opposed to allowing members to give using credit cards, and some choose to display statements of caution about doing so. Either way, credits cards are a popular option. One thing to consider is that large, single transactions typically come using a credit card because it is the easiest way for the giver to transfer a large sum of money. Please consider this: by imposing your personal philosophies on people, you potentially create obstacles to generosity.
  3. Debit Cards
    Debit cards function in a similar way to credit cards except they draw direction from a checking or savings account rather than a monthly invoice. This method of payment is very popular among fans of Dave Ramsey and others who discourage the use of credit cards. The processing fees are lower as well.
  4. E-checks
    The member would use a check during a one-time online transaction. This is not a very popular option but does help keep costs down and is a viable alternative to those who don’t want to set up recurring gifts.
  5. Kiosks (GivingKiosk does this well and integrates with CCB)
    These are often available in the lobby of a church. Studies show that people don’t carry much cash. The most likely candidate for a kiosk is someone who is a regular attender or visitor, feels inspired to give, but doesn’t have much cash in their pocket to do so. This is an immediate response tool that can allow the giving to take place before the individual leaves the church campus.
  6. Mobile Giving (SecureGive does this well and integrates with CCB)
    As smart phones become more popular, people are able to conduct more business and personal tasks using their phone. Some churches are posting their church bulletin information through a mobile app. The logical next step would be to make it easy for people to give using something that they are likely to already have in their hand or pocket.

I encourage you to make as many of these options available as possible to people looking to give to your church. When people are prompted to be generous, they will respond by attempting to leverage the vehicle they are most familiar and comfortable with.

If you’re already incorporating technology for your giving, which tools are you utilizing already? If not, what’s holding you back?

Topics: This entry was posted in Leadership Roles, This entry was posted in Administrative Support, This entry was posted in Finance & Generosity

Posted by Steve Caton on May 16, 2012 11:48:31 PM