Everything You Need to Know About Church Online Giving
Technology has found its way into nearly every corner of the ministry, and one of the most impacted areas involves church online giving. Many pastors view this as an unnecessary expense that will do little for their congregation. When you take a look at the cold hard facts, though, this belief is simply inaccurate.
Offering online giving as an option for your congregants can increase tithes and donations exponentially. Of course, this is only the case if it’s accompanied by an appropriate giving strategy. This makes it imperative that you understand digital giving, the statistics related to it, and the benefits your ministry can obtain. The following guide will help you do just that.
Churches Are Falling Behind
The most important thing to know about church online giving is that – if you haven’t implemented such a strategy – you’re far from being alone. The Washington Post reported that fewer than 50 percent of ministries around America have the capability of accepting online donations. Unfortunately, this was listed as a top reason so many churches began to fail during COVID-19.
While having less than half of ministries utilize online giving may seem like a small number, it’s important to remember that virtual donations were nearly nonexistent just a few short years ago. One of the simple truths about church tithing is that it’s increasingly performed online. And by the time America is done social distancing, this may be the main source of church giving.
The Benefits of Church Online Giving
While more ministries are making the move towards digital giving, this isn’t necessarily a reason for all houses of worship to follow suit. After all, the Bible tells us that the road to destruction has many people on it. When it comes to church online giving, though, it’s actually better to go with the crowd. That’s because the trend is occurring due to numerous benefits.
Just consider the following:
- Online giving allows donations even when not in attendance.
- Younger generations are more likely to give digitally.
- Giving software used for online gifts can also be used for app giving, text-to-give, and kiosk offerings.
- Church online giving dashboards allow you to track insights and create data-driven fundraising strategies.
- Online donations can be transferred directly to ministry bank accounts for quick use.
- Congregants can set up automatic payments to simplify tithes and donations.
These are just a few of the benefits enjoyed by churches that include online giving in their revenue strategies. The world is going digital, and staying behind simply isn’t an option. The advantages garnered through church online giving should be enough to justify the change. If you’re still on the fence, though, the following statistics will help you make an informed decision.
Church Online Giving Statistics
The online giving statistics for churches tell a story of necessity rather than luxury. Pastors and other ministry leaders aren’t making this change because they feel like learning something new – they’re doing it because they recognize its inevitability. Between 6,000 and 10,000 churches close yearly – even before accounting for coronavirus – so no revenue source can be overlooked.
The following online giving statistics showcase just how important it is for congregations to evolve:
- 49 percent of all donations to churches now take place with debit or credit cards.
- Among churchgoers who attend at least two weekly activities or groups, 80 percent prefer to give electronically.
- Offering church online giving increases overall donations by an average of 32 percent.
- One-third of American churches have no savings. COVID-19 hit ministries in this category that couldn’t take online donations particularly hard.
- Donations via text have become a multi-billion dollar industry in recent years.
- 98 percent of all church revenue comes from congregant tithes and donations.
- 60 percent of American churchgoers are willing to give online or through other digital methods.
These statistics show a need for increased donations and a proven method for achieving them. Unfortunately, many ministry leaders simply feel like they don’t have the technological savvy to implement a digital giving strategy. While this may have once been an issue, constant improvements now make church online giving a simple endeavor.
The SecureGive platform utilized by DonorWerx is an example of just how user-friendly online donation tools can be. And when it’s used as part of the overall DX Framework, you can increase giving while monitoring the success of proven campaigns. Schedule a Discovery Call with us today to learn more.
Surviving the Storm
In 2019, ministries that were doing well without church online giving could make an argument that is was an unnecessary resource. This stance became much harder to justify in 2020 when COVID-19 started causing lockdowns and social distancing orders to go into effect. Even when authorities lifted these orders, attendance still remained lower due to fears of infection.
By April 2020, 56 percent of churches had already seen a drop in giving levels. If people are unable to give online, many simply won’t unless they’re present in the sanctuary. While COVID-19 might provide a recent and resounding example of why church online giving is essential, the importance extends far beyond this.
Consider the following:
- Between 2018 and 2019, 28 weather/climate disasters caused more than $1 billion in damages.
- America experiences about 14 weather and climate disasters yearly.
- Structural restoration costs after a flood – not counting items damaged – costs $7,000 on average.
- It took years for churches in New Orleans to reopen – if at all – following Katrina.
- Over 1,700 fires occur in houses of worship yearly.
What do all these things have to do with church online giving? It’s the fact that digital donations are often all a church can receive following a disaster. This is why offering online giving options should be part of any continuity of operations plan. If you don’t have such a plan in place, review the Model Emergency Operations Plan for Houses of Worship.
Accepting online donations is about more than raising revenue to cover your missions. In reality, it could literally make the difference between surviving and closing down following an unforeseen disaster. If you’re still hurting from a loss of revenue linked to COVID-19 or unrelated declining donations, it’s not too late to adjust. Make plans to implement church online giving today.
Increasing Your Campaign’s Effectiveness
There are an abundance of reasons your church needs digital giving software for online donations, but it’s not all that you need to increase donations. You must utilize online giving tools alongside effective communication strategies. As we explain in the DonorWerx Framework, you have to give congregants a reason to contribute.
You could obviously say “because the Bible says so,” and some congregants might go for that. Unfortunately, people don’t trust organized religion like they once did. In fact, they often feel that giving to any important cause meets the Biblical definition of tithing. That’s why you need an effective messaging campaign to work alongside your church online giving strategy.
Consider the following:
- Know your donors: If you know what’s important to your donors, you can use this information to increase overall giving.
- Donor segmentation: The congregants in your church obviously have differences. What’s important to some may not be important to others. You need to segment donors based on these variations.
- Target messaging: You should have different messages targeting different congregants based on their values and priorities.
- Consistent messaging: When starting new general campaigns, messaging should remain consistent whether it’s coming from social media or the newly hired executive pastor.
- Donor centricity: Every strategy you implement to accompany your church online giving campaign should focus on your donors.
While digital giving software or even setting up a temporary fundraising page can increase overall giving, you won’t be able to take it to its full potential without a concomitant focus on donor engagement. When people know you’re listening and share the same values, they’re far more likely to give.
Keep these steps in mind while implementing your new church online giving strategy. You can find more information on these accompanying steps by reviewing the full Donor Centric Communication Framework developed by DonorWerx.
It’s Time to Review Your Giving Strategy
Whether you experienced decreased giving related to COVID-19 or have always had a problem getting congregants to tithe, now is the time to review your giving strategy. The bulk of church revenue comes directly from contributions from congregants, and if you’re dropping the ball in this area, your ministry is going to suffer for it.
At DonorWerx, we understand the importance of church online giving because we’ve spent years working with ministries across the country. We’ve seen consistent growth in houses of worship that implement online strategies, so if you’re ready to get your congregation on an upward track, schedule a Discovery Call with one of our giving professionals today.