Online giving has moved beyond something churches should consider. It has become a viable option for stabilizing overall giving and even increasing revenue and generosity for many churches. Statistics prove it. Yet, while more and more churches are starting to offer cloud-based giving options, there are several issues keeping them from experiencing any sort of notable results.
The reason most churches struggle to see any fruit from online giving is because they never took the time on the front end to develop a system for effectively implementing it. One day they think, “We should really offer online giving”, and the next day they have it on their website. For some reason, they’re surprised when people don’t flock to give online. This is why we encourage each of our church partners to create a process for online giving.
Whether you’re looking to develop an online giving process or improve your current process, these five steps will help you create noticeable results:
- Find an online giving provider. The first thing you should do is research which online giving provider your church is going to use. Do you need one that offers e-check or automatic draft? Do you want something that allows people to set up repeat giving? If you’re looking for recommendations, we have several online giving solutions in our list of preferred service providers.
- Integrate online giving with Church Community Builder. This is a crucial step in the process for several reasons. When a donor gives, that contribution can be tracked in their member profile. This helps cultivate generosity by giving you the opportunity to manage your donors and your finances. Integrating the two also eliminates a data silo, because donors can give through their member profile. We’ve seen firsthand the impact consolidating all that information in one place has on the overall giving for churches.
- Develop ways to intentionally let people know online giving exists. The reason most churches don’t see any results from their online giving is because they never talk about it. You need to let your church members know that online giving exists from the pulpit. Talk about it in your email newsletters or snail mail. Encourage your life group leaders to talk about it with their group. While it’s going to look different for every church based on your culture, the key is to let people know why it’s a good option and why it’s important. Just like vision, when you think your donors know about it, talk about it even more.
- Encourage church members to use their individual giving reports. Your church members are used to using online tools to manage their budgets or finances, but they might not know they can do the same thing with their giving. Create awareness for donors by encouraging them to create their own giving statement. This gives them an opportunity to track how much they’ve given and provides a level of personal accountability they didn’t have before.
- Utilize administrative reporting to cultivate generosity and online giving. The best way to increase giving in your church is to use the tools you have to cultivate generosity. Taking the time to create a 'tell-all' giving report for your church could make a huge difference in your annual or campaign giving. It gives you a high-level view, but you can also drill down with specific searches. For instance, you can search for 'all donors who gave through traditional methods in 2012, but now give online in 2013' or 'all donors in 2012 who gave more than $10,000, but haven’t given in 2013'. You can access this information anytime and anywhere through the cloud.
When you take the time to develop a process for online giving, you will see results.
Has your church taken these steps in your online giving process? What results are you seeing?