Online Giving for Churches
The Ultimate Guide
We serve a very generous God who demonstrated the ultimate act of generosity: giving His only Son that we may have eternal life.
We serve a very generous God who demonstrated the ultimate act of generosity: giving His only Son that we may have eternal life. Isn’t it amazing that we can become more like Him as we partake in the act of giving? God calls His people to a life of generosity. They have the opportunity to partake in expanding God’s Kingdom.
For churches, receiving financial gifts is extremely important because in order to operate, they need funds. But unlike businesses, non-profits (like churches) cannot rely on income and profits to keep them running. The donations of the congregation are crucial to church growth, ministry, and life change.
That’s where online giving for churches comes in. Providing multiple options to give and making donating as easy as possible will help encourage more people to contribute.
Most donors are willing to give to their church digitally. In fact, churches that accept online tithes and offerings can see a 32% percent increase in their overall donations.
In this passage, we will explain online giving, review the different types of digital giving options, disclose why churches should use online giving, and examine how to effectively utilize these platforms to grow your church and expand the Kingdom of God.
What is an online giving platform?
Online giving platforms help streamline the way churches collect and manage money. It is a type of church software that allows members to give their tithes online and contribute to specific giving campaigns electronically. It is a paperless transaction allowing contributions to be transferred directly from a donor’s bank account or debit/credit cards directly to the church.
More people are paying for things online for the sake of convenience. Churches have also seen an uptick in online giving because it makes it easier, faster, and more readily available. Your church can receive secure payments, inspire generosity, and meet your financial goals because your donors will have more options to help fund your ministry.
Online giving is also beneficial for donors because there are multiple ways to give outside of dropping cash or check into an offering plate during the worship service. They can also give from anywhere at whatever time is right for them.
Choose an online giving platform will integrate smoothly into your church’s general church management software (ChMS). This will make it even easier to track finances and view trends in giving.
Types of Digital Giving
One of the avenues of online giving is hosted directly on your church website. Here, you’ll be able to link your giving page from your home page with tabs and/or buttons and clear calls to action that will lead the giver to your giving forms. Create custom payment forms where donors can easily input information, like their name, contact information, the amount of money they desire to donate, the frequency of their gift, and which ministry or campus they would like it to be designated.
Engage in ministry with people where they are: on their phones. One of the major benefits of your church mobile app is the ability for members to send donations, schedule recurring giving, or contribute to a giving campaign all through their smart phone. They can manage giving on the go and contribute during the offering moment at church, during the week, or from home when it’s most convenient for them.
Text to Give
People don’t always have cash or check on their person, but they always have their phone. Text-to-give is a hassle-free way for church members to donate right from their fingertips. After texting your church’s unique phone number, they’ll be prompted to fill out a giving form directly from their cell. Then they can submit their payment in a matter of seconds.
Touch-screen kiosks are a convenient way for attendees to give on location using their debit or credit card. They’re like a digital offering bucket and can be placed anywhere in your church. Kiosks can also be moved to provide easy giving or event check-in in the lobby, sanctuary, or even kids’ classrooms.
Why Online Giving is Important for Churches
Giving electronically through websites, apps, texting, or kiosks can help to relieve the administrative burden that churches face. eGiving can also increase generosity and promote church growth.
Because people have easy access and multiple options to give, they’ll be more likely to contribute even more to the Kingdom work your church is doing. Below are some of the reasons why your church should use an online giving platform.
People are carrying cash and checks less
It’s pretty obvious that Millennials don’t carry cash, but even older generations seem to be putting away their checkbook in favor of carrying cards nowadays. In this digital age, few people have cash on them and even fewer write checks. In fact, in a recent study, fewer than 16% of people that were polled carried cash on their person.
Some people still utilize the traditional giving method of dropping their tithe in the offering bucket, but churches are missing out on the vast majority of people who prefer to pay electronically if they aren’t using online giving.
Easier for donors to use
Meet donors where they are and allow them to give anytime, anywhere, and in the way they prefer, whether that’s through your church website, by texting an amount, or submitting payments through a church app. They no longer have to remember to bring their cash with them if they can give directly from their phone. It’s also easy for them to use because they don’t even have to be at church to contribute.
Easier for church staff to manage
Using an online donation platform greatly improves organization and management when it comes to church finances. Administration is simpler because the entire giving process is automated. It will save your staff and admins an incredible amount of time. Members can even manage their own giving accounts, lessening the workload for church staff. You can even save money on printing and mailing costs with online viewing of personal contribution statements.
Offering online giving is proven to increase donations. This is a trend that most churches have seen when they’ve provided digital giving along with in-person tithes and offerings. Because it’s easy and convenient to use, more people are willing to give.
Setting up recurring giving (more about this below) also encourages consistent donations because it automates what people would give anyway but might not if they forgot their money at service.
Give from anywhere/anytime
Allowing members to give whenever they feel led, regardless of where they are, can be a major benefit to the church. They can still give from their seat on Sunday, but they also have the option to contribute even if they cannot attend on the weekend. They can give from the comfort of their home, the marketplace, or wherever generosity strikes them. It encourages giving even if people miss church.
Integrations with other software
One of the main benefits of some online giving programs is that it can integrate well with other church software that will save lots of time and effort. Rather than having two separate systems that don’t “speak” to each other, integrated ChMS and online giving can help in many administrative ways. Streamline event registration. Export transaction data for use in your accounting software. Connect with and manage donors you’re your integrated church management software.
One major way that churches have seen an uptick in donations is through their recurring giving program. It allows users to set up a consistent giving frequency that works for them. They can choose the amount they want and how often it should be transferred from their debit/credit card or ACH.
Recurring giving options help to stabilize giving trends and reduce slumps in slower seasons. It’s easy-to-use for donors and beneficial for the church. It makes budgeting easier, too, because your team can have a better idea of what to expect throughout the year.
Recurring giving resources
Fund categories can help inspire people to give for a particular use. Specify ministries, goals, projects, campaigns, or campuses that you might be raising money for. Often, people want to get behind a certain project or ministry that they’re passionate about. This can inspire even more people to give. Fund management can also help with church accounting and designate where funds are being used.
Create valuable giving reports for church leadership and track data to help predict progression and fluctuations. View giving trends, see who is giving, and monitor which giving methods are used most frequently.
Graph monthly trends, recurring giving, and forecasting. Generate reports by person, date range, funds, or transactions.
How to Make Online Giving Effective
Share the heart behind giving
(Most) pastors and church leadership understand the “why” behind our giving. But in order to have your people on board too, you’ll want to share with them the heart of giving. Giving is biblical, so share with your congregation how being generous means we are being more like God. He calls us to have a heart of generosity. Let your congregation know how they can also have an eternal impact through their financial contributions.
What does the Bible say about giving? There are literally hundreds of verses that talk about money.
When people understand the why behind giving, and that it is more of a spiritual thing than a money thing, they’ll be further committed to giving. As a church leader or pastor, you are probably very familiar with these verses. But maybe consider reteaching or expounding on these topics in your sermons, in emails, or devotionals.
Below are some Bible verses to help share God’s perspective:
Scriptures about Giving
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7
But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from You, and from Your hand we have given to You. 1 Chronicles 29:14
A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:38
Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops. Proverbs 3:9
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. "Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it." Malachi 3:10
Talk about online giving
How will your congregation know much about giving, specifically that you have an online solution to give, if you never talk about it? Sure, people might stumble across it as they browse your website, but they need to hear about it. Share from the platform about why we give and how to do it. Mention the multiple pathways to give and perhaps send email reminders and updates. Don’t be obnoxious about it, but the more you talk about it, the more people will know that they have the option to give online.
Leadership as an example
If you want your members to give consistently, encourage your staff and volunteers to lead the way. No, they don’t have to boast about how much they’re giving or how often or anything like that. But when others being to see that it’s a blessing to be a blessing, if they aren’t yet consistently giving, hopefully they will be inspired to join in. Maybe even have a pastor demonstrate the online giving process from the pulpit to show how easy it is.
Make it easily accessible
Having online giving makes it easy for people to access. That’s one benefit of having the church app and text features. Highlight your giving page on your website with tabs and buttons that are clearly defined. From your church’s social media posts, include links to your giving page. Send email blasts that direct them to your giving forms. People shouldn’t have to search high and low to figure out how to contribute.
A major benefit of incorporating online giving is that donors won’t have to be reminded to give of their first fruits if they have recurring giving set up. This is one way your people can help the overall vision of the church, and they can give even when they aren’t at the worship service.
More Recurring Gifts Resources:
Having a variety of different funds for people to give to can help encourage more giving. With fund management, participants can choose which ministry, project, campus, or campaign they want to support. Sometimes people are especially inspired to give to something that they’re passionate about. Maybe host a giving campaign to raise funds for an upcoming mission trip or to help send youth kids to camp.
Stories/testimonies about giving
Stories make a difference in people’s lives and they’re often impacted by how God moves. Share testimonies from people who have given financially and how it changed their own lives as well as the people that the money helped. Tell stories about the community influence a certain giving campaign funded. Publish testimonies on your church blog or send updates in donor emails. Hopefully people will be inspired to give after hearing these stories.
Thank your donors
When you’re able to easily and electronically keep track of who has donated what, then you can stay up to date with your appreciation. Send emails and letters to thank donors for their contributions. Hopefully they give without expecting a “thank you” in return, but honestly, most people feel appreciated when you let them know you’re grateful for their partnership in Kingdom work. Update givers about how their contribution has made a difference. You can even send receipt emails with ease.
God makes it clear that we are to give cheerfully and demonstrate a life of generosity. Online Giving through Church Office Online makes it easier to help your congregation walk in faith and obedience by offering a robust, integrated digital giving platform.
Allow members to give easily, from anywhere. Church staff will appreciate the donation management and reporting features, too. Sign up today to see how online giving with Church Office Online can help reduce administrative work, increase generosity, and further your church's reach.
Table of Contents
- What is an online giving platform?
- Types of digital giving
- Why churches should use online giving
- Fewer people carrying cash/checks
- Easy for donors to use
- Easy for church staff to manage
- Often increases giving
- Give from anywhere/anytime
- Integrations w/ other software
- Recurring giving
- Fund management
- How to make online giving effective
- Share the heart behind giving
- Talk about it
- Leadership as an example
- Make it easily accessible
- Recurring giving
- Giving campaigns
- Stories/testimonies about giving
- Thank your donors
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