Churches interested in implementing online giving for their members have many vendors to choose from. If you're looking for a third-party to process an electronic transaction, you'll find a lot of options. I want to suggest you think about the function of online giving differently.
If we believe that giving is an external reality of an inward commitment, then we can safely make the assumption that those who give are ‘all in’. Giving — especially through a measurable channel like online giving, checks, offering envelopes, etc., where the member knows the activity will be noticed — represents a spiritual commitment and a commitment to your church.
If we agree on these things, then why not expand your expectations to include an online giving option that not only processes a electronic transactions but also integrates with a core system (like your church management software) to ensure you have an accurate picture of your member, their habits, and measurable trends?
Simply adding the function of online giving doesn't go far enough. In fact, this approach only creates another data silo that is disconnected from the member profile. The net loss is that it becomes that much more complex to track giving trends and that much less likely that you'll be making strategic decisions with all available data. Why? Because it's not in one place.
Consolidating your online giving tool and your church management software makes sense for a number of reasons. Here are three:
- It ensures that you have the most accurate data, since every number needs to arrive in the same place. Using tools that aren’t connected to your church management software leads to silos and disconnected data.
- It allows you to assess giving patterns in concert with other engagement milestones and markers.
- It provides a better understanding of the overall health of your church. By combining your church management software and your online giving, you can measure if a family is fully engaged, looking at their attendance, volunteer involvement, and giving records together. It takes a lot of time and energy to run things separately.
A third-party online giving tool may ‘get the job done’, but it creates another layer of complexity for the church to reconcile and another password (like we need another one of those) for the member to remember. Maybe it's time to rethink the role and function of online giving in your church as it related to your church management software.
For quick reference, here is a case study we did with three churches who use the Church Community Builder software and saw exceptional growth in online giving usage after integrating that feature within Church Community Builder.
Is your online giving tool fully integrated with your church management software? If so, what impact has this made on online giving participation and overall church funding?