If you’re looking for an online giving solution — and if you don’t have one, you should be — there are literally thousands of options out there. But as you’re examining them, you need to be keeping one key piece of functionality in mind: whether that option integrates with your church management software (ChMS).
If you believe, as we do, that financial giving is an external sign of an internal commitment and growth, then we can see the act of giving as a way our people are telling us they’re ‘all in’ with what we’re doing in our ministries. Giving — especially through channels we can track and measure like online giving, checks, offering envelopes, and any other method where the member knows the activity will be noticed — is one of the most significant ways a member can demonstrate their spiritual commitment and their commitment to your church.
So if all these things are true, and we believe them, then shouldn’t we expand our expectations of what an online giving tool can do? In order to get a truly complete picture of what your members are doing to grow in their relationships with God and with your church, you need to be tracking things like giving and other measurable activities.
Just having an online giving option isn’t enough. In fact, using online giving by itself will just create another data silo that isn’t connected with all the other information you have on your members. That means it will become that much harder for you to track giving trends and make strategic decisions based on your data. When you can’t see all that data in one place, you won’t be able to make the most informed decisions.
Making friends of your online giving tool and your ChMS makes sense for lots of reasons. Here are just a few:
- Every number lives in the same place, so you’ll always have the most accurate data on your entire church. Using tools that aren’t connected to your ChMS means data silos pop up far too easily.
- You can examine giving patterns at an individual and church level right alongside other engagement milestones.
- You get a clearer picture of the overall health of your church. By combining your online giving and your ChMS, you can easily measure if a family or individual is fully engaged by looking at their attendance, their volunteer involvement, and their giving records together. It takes a tremendous amount of time and energy to effectively track all these things separately — time and energy that could be much better spent elsewhere.
Having an online giving tool that can’t be integrated with your ChMS creates another layer of complexity and security to manage — and we’re willing to bet you don’t need another one of those. We’d love to talk with you about integrating an online giving option (or updating your existing tool), or you can check out one of our preferred online giving providers.
Is your online giving tool fully integrated with your ChMS? If it is, how has it helped you make better decisions about your ministry?