If you follow this blog, you already know that I am pretty passionate about online giving. I have been involved in one way or another in the world of donor management and generosity for over 12 years now. I have seen a lot of amazing things happen through the power and simplicity of the online gift. I have also seen some pretty silly stuff too. I can still remember conversations I had with church and ministry leaders in the early 2000's who wondered out loud whether anyone would ever make a donation on that "w...w...w...dot...whatever!" The bottom line is that online giving is here to stay and growing exponentially in it's acceptance. If your church doesn't embrace it, you are quite simply leaving money on the table.
Because I am such a big proponent and I work for a company that offers great tools, I get asked a lot about my thoughts on how churches can make their online giving experience more effective and user-friendly. Here is a list of seven things I think are absolutely essential.
- Make online giving easy to locate on your website.
Put a link to online giving on your church’s home page—and make sure it is on the top half of the page where no matter what screen a person is looking at (smart phone, tablet, PC) they can see the online giving button. It drives me nuts when I have to go hunting for this!
- Make the online giving function easy to navigate.
The form people complete must be simple and straightforward. Oh, and PLEASE DON'T make people create a login in order to make a one-time gift!
- Provide multiple options.
Let donors make the choice: one time gift, recurring gift, credit card, ACH, etc.
- Include a link to online giving in all digital communication channels.
Include an online giving link in all emails, newsletters, and other print and digital communications. You must drive people to your online giving page when they are ready to give. What may seem like overkill to you as a leader is often very helpful to the giver.
- Make online giving meaningful.
Include written testimonials and even video to tell the story of how givers are making an eternal difference. Thank those who gave online when you take up the offering on Sundays.
- Be careful not to spam your members with overt online giving appeals.
Find a balance between making sure people know where to give online and overwhelming your donors with too many emails. Consider including a easily noticed link to online giving when your members log into your private online community (assuming you have one).
- Inform people about alternative giving options.
Be sure to communicate other ways people can donate if they don’t want to do it online. Provide the church address, phone number, and even a text to donate number. Also, include a note about non-cash giving and how a giver can initiate that process. While this may not affect a broad section of your givers, it can facilitate large gifts from your high-capacity givers.
So what do you think? Did I miss anything? Do you have a different viewpoint? Please share your thoughts and ideas.