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Electronic Giving: Should Churches Use PayPal or Donation Pages?

paypal or donation
The adoption of electronic donation options in American churches has seen significant growth, with 74% now offering these options compared to 42% in 2015. Credit card donations account for half of all ministry donations, indicating the enduring popularity of digital giving. When establishing or updating your church’s electronic giving system, it’s important to consider the various donation page options and their impact on cultivating a culture of giving.

If you’re already contemplating these questions, you’re heading in the right direction. Making digital donations effortless encourages greater participation, with churches that offer online tithing systems experiencing a 32% increase in donations.

PayPal is a widely recognized platform for online financial transactions and offers a nonprofit platform specifically tailored for collecting donations. As you explore the websites of faith groups and related organizations, though, you’ll also encounter different types of donation pages.

To determine the best option for your community, continue reading for a comparison of these choices.

Paypal for Electronic Giving

Setting up PayPal for receiving donations in congregations is a straightforward process with clear instructions provided. While there are limited customization options for PayPal buttons, the setup is quick, and the final step involves adding the button to the website to start collecting gifts.

As a company, PayPal charges fees to sustain its operations. Currently, they retain 2.2% of each donation plus $0.30. However, they offer a generous 25% discount on their primary commercial plan for organizations that benefit their communities. Other alternative services integrated into a donation page may also have fees.

These fees contribute to ensuring the smooth functioning of the software across various computer and phone systems and provide robust security measures to safeguard financial information.

Efficiency and Familiarity

PayPal brings familiarity and credibility to your donation system, with its presence on popular online retail sites and extensive use by over 500,000 nonprofits. Users trust PayPal to securely handle their money. Many congregation members already have PayPal accounts, but even guests can easily donate with a credit card. With stored bank information, donations can be made swiftly.

Minimizing the steps required for a donation increases the likelihood of completion. PayPal’s simplicity, however, makes customization challenging. Setting up recurring donations or assigning gifts to specific projects can become complex. Additionally, when users click the PayPal button, they are redirected away from your church’s website, resulting in the loss of your branding and other content.

Using Donation Pages for Electronic Giving

Donation pages offer a seamless giving experience within your church’s website, allowing for a personalized approach. While constructing these pages may require more effort than using a PayPal button, the benefits can be significant.

Maintaining control over your donation page enables you to leverage branding to influence donors. With your logo, name, and website layout present, church members are reminded of their connection to your organization, which can positively impact their giving. In fact, donations made through a branded form tend to be 38% larger than those made through a generic PayPal page.

Opting for a custom donation page still requires the use of a third-party processor to handle the transaction process. However, unlike PayPal, the processor software seamlessly integrates into your website, preserving the visitor’s experience without redirecting them elsewhere.

Tailor Giving Pages to Your Congregation

When donors make a donation on your website, you can continue to guide and engage them. This moment of motivation and increased involvement with their faith provides an opportunity to direct their enthusiasm. You can customize the webpage design to suggest ways for donors to allocate their donations and even include a link to the church event calendar in your thank you message.

By allowing donors to choose where their donation goes, you empower them and fulfill their desire to feel helpful. Connecting their gift to a specific result creates a meaningful representation of their contribution, enhancing their memory of the donation and maintaining their interest in that particular project or aspect of the ministry.

Consider the following tangible options for donors to contribute to:

  • Ongoing fund “Support the church’s youth by helping establish a new rec room.”
  • Service project: “Make a pledge to provide meals for the families at the Women’s Shelter during our annual Christmas dinner.”
  • Day-to-day expenses: “Contribute to dressing choir members in new robes with a $40 donation.”

By presenting these choices, you enable donors to align their giving with causes that resonate with them, fostering a sense of ownership and a deeper connection to your ministry.

Electronic Giving Is Not Set in Stone

The flexibility of your chosen solution allows for continuous improvement. Gathering feedback from users and monitoring usage patterns will enable you to make adjustments and optimize the system over time.

While online giving options can boost tithing and one-time donations, it’s important to recognize that technology alone cannot address all challenges. Developing a deeper understanding of your congregation’s needs and interests is essential for achieving the desired impact.

In addition to considering PayPal and donation pages, you can benefit from the expertise of DonorWerx professionals. With a focus on serving faith communities, our giving software and support have benefited numerous congregations.

We empower church leaders to leverage digital tools and their own expertise to align giving with your mission. Schedule a free 30-minute Discovery Call to explore the fundraising strategies that best suit your community. We are eager to discuss how we can assist you.

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