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Faith Leaders 4min read

How to Make Online Giving Work for Your Church

Usually, implementing online giving goes smoothly, and on average ministries that do so see a 32% increase in overall giving, according to one nonprofit research group.

If launched incorrectly, however, you might hit some bumps along the way. Here are some tips for getting past those roadblocks and making online giving work well for your place of worship.

Seeing Too Much Confusion?

How to Make Online Giving Work for Your Church

Are you receiving pushback from your membership? Do they seem confused by the new technology and resistant to using it? If you’re receiving this kind of negative feedback after implementing online giving, you likely have a communication gap. Here are some ways you can clear things up for your members:

Solution 1: Communicate. Educate. Remind.

Think about the first time you used a smartphone. Did you understand how to use it right away, or did you struggle to get accustomed to swiping, zooming, and using apps? Any new technology seems difficult at first, but once you understand how it works, you become more comfortable. This will also be the case for your parishioners and online giving.

To make sure your members don’t become overwhelmed or confused, make a deliberate effort to teach them how it works. Make sure that everyone is informed about the new giving option, show them how to use it, and then give them continuous reminders going forward. Once they get into the habit of using online giving, it will become second nature.

Solution 2: Use a Modern, Intuitive Platform

You want the online giving process to be as frictionless as possible. If prospective givers have to search hard to find a giving link or if they are confronted with long, complicated forms to fill out, some will shy away.

A quality online giving platform will have several convenient ways to give, including a website button, a mobile giving app, and social giving links. This is important, because not everyone wants to give the same way. At the same time, if you’re not careful, you can overwhelm the less technologically inclined.

Keep in mind that while different people may lean towards one method or another, it’s okay to highlight one as the “easy option” and push that one to your less tech-savvy members.

Solution 3: Avoid Text to Give

Text-to-give comes with its own hurdles. You can throw text-to-give directions up on a PowerPoint screen, but what happens after you move to the next slide? People who didn’t catch the information will have no way to participate, and anyone who couldn’t attend in person will be completely lost as well.

Besides, a system that doesn’t work without memorizing a numeric code (and typing it in accurately) is outdated now that mobile apps and direct giving links are an option.

No Giving Bump?

How to Make Online Giving Work for Your Church

If you’ve implemented online giving in your church but haven’t seen the giving increase that usually follows, something isn’t right. Try one of the following fixes and see if your numbers start rising:

Solution 1: Make Online Giving Visually Present

It’s great to offer online giving, but if people don’t know about it, they aren’t going to use it. Advertise your giving options in pre-service slides and in your bulletin or order of worship.

Make it easy for your members to locate the information, find their way to your giving app or website button, and make their contribution.

Solution 2: Present It as an Option, Not an Ultimatum

Some folks just want to keep giving with cash or checks. Make sure they understand that they can still continue to give in this way. If you push online giving too hard or as the only way to give, you might receive a little backlash from those who don’t (and may not ever) prefer it.

Remember, online giving is about adding an alternative for people who need a solution that fits their needs. Let your more traditional members know that you aren’t going to stop passing the offering plate.

Solution 3: Extend Giving Beyond the Service

One of the best things about online giving is how easy it is for people to give anytime, anywhere. They don’t need to be present for services every week in order to give. If you have a church live stream on Facebook Live or another video streaming service, include a link so people watching at home can participate in giving.

You can also use your social giving link in email newsletters and social media posts throughout the week. You may be surprised by how many people choose to give after they receive their paycheck on Friday!

About the Author

Doug works to ensure member organizations maximize their fundraising potential. He is responsible for sharing best practices and guiding new Givelify partners to a successful launch. He has also been a volunteer tutor.

Doug Bergren