While we all know that online giving is on the rise and more dollars are going digital, there is, however, still a general lack of awareness about how online giving helps church leaders connect with people on a deeper level.
A person’s giving habits can provide us with a window into their spiritual growth, ministry commitment, life situation, and more.
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, and offering envelopes where the member knows the activity will be noticed – signifies a spiritual commitment and a commitment to your church.
Then it should stand to reason that expanding your expectations to include online giving options that not only process electronic transactions but also integrate with a church management software would ensure you have an accurate picture of each member, their habits, and measurable trends.
Yet many churches manage the online giving process separately from the church management system that manages the relationships in their church.
This is a missed opportunity.
Churches interested in implementing online giving for their members have many third-party vendors that process electronic transactions from which to choose – but we want to challenge you to think about the function of online giving differently.
Simply adding the functionality for online giving doesn't go deep enough. In fact, this approach only creates another data vacuum that is disconnected from the member profile. It becomes that much more difficult to track giving trends and that much less likely that you'll be able to make strategic decisions with all available data.
Why? Because it's not all in one place.
When churches integrate their online giving with their church management software, they experience a measurable increase in online giving participation and greater clarity about the people in their pews.
There are several ways a church management system can enhance your church’s ability to cultivate online giving and increase generosity. Here are just a few to consider:
1. It creates a system to help you track and follow up with first-time givers.
When your church management software and online giving systems aren’t connected, it’s easy to delay the follow-up process with first-time givers. And this will cost you – not just money, but also members.
2. It helps ensure you have an accurate picture of your members, their habits, and measurable trends.
When you utilize online giving and merge it with your church management software, you’re able to make sure that both you and your church members are aware of their online giving trends. It allows you to assess giving patterns in concert with other engagement milestones and markers.
3. It records information to help connect personally with each individual giver.
When you can assess giving habits alongside other involvement indicators like volunteering and attendance, you have a more complete view of people which can help you engage them much more intimately. You also gain a sense of life situations which creates opportunities for you to minister them in ways they never expected.
4. It ensures that you have the most accurate data since every number is recorded in the same place.
Using tools that aren’t connected to your church management software leads to silos and disconnected data.
5. 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 by looking at their attendance, volunteer involvement, and giving records all in one comprehensive place. It takes a lot of time and energy to run things separately.
***PRO TIP: This tip can dramatically change the value of online giving for your church. It may seem basic – almost insultingly obvious – and you may even underestimate its potential to increase online giving in your church. But don’t undermine its effectiveness because of its simplicity. Ready?
Put a ‘give now’ button on your home page.
Yup. It’s that simple. If people can’t immediately find this on your homepage, it’s likely they won’t stick around long enough to figure it out. So many churches unwittingly bury their ‘give now’ feature so that only insiders can find it.
***BONUS PRO TIP: Did you know people are more likely to click on buttons than links? And they’re even more likely to click on that button if it is red instead of green?
Here’s the bottom line:
By connecting your online giving process with your church management system, you increase your ability to better steward and care for your people. And when you care for people more effectively, they tend to give more frequently. Isn’t that an outcome worth working toward?