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How to Get Started with Online Giving for Churches

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How to Get Started with Online Giving for Churches

Last year represented the sixth consecutive year of growth for giving, with online giving seeing a growth rate of over 12%. Meanwhile, nearly 45% of donors around the world say they’re now enrolled in a recurring giving program. What does all that mean with online giving for churches and your ministry?

To put it simply, online giving is growing at three times the rate of overall giving, which shows that more and more donors are choosing to give digitally — through websites or text — than in cash or in person. In other words, if your church isn’t yet accepting online gifts, it’s time you got started.

How to Collect Donations Online

The world of digital giving can seem daunting to a church that’s never ventured into this area before. With the right software, though, you’ll usually experience a seamless and stress-free transition. Of course, choosing that software is no easy feat. With so many options, you need to make sure that you’re choosing a fully-integrated, feature-rich donation software that gives your church room to grow.

Here are three collection methods for online gifts that you should know about and ensure your donation software addresses.

Online Giving for Churches Forms

If you keep up with other nonprofits, you’re surely familiar with online donation forms. What started as a PayPal “Donate” button all those years ago has now developed into full-fledged, fully-branded, and completely customizable donation forms that integrate directly into your web pages.

Donors have been shown to give 38% larger gifts when giving through a branded donation form, so make sure the software you choose offers full integration and customization instead of a link to an off-site donation page or a poorly embedded form that matches the service provider and not your own site.


Another popular form of digital gifting caters to mobile users. Rather than having smartphone and other mobile device users venture onto your website to find your online giving form, you can give them a much more direct way of gifting by having them text a keyword (like “GIVE10“) to a short number (like “55555”).

While you may not use text-to-give all the time, it’s a very powerful tool for fundraising campaigns that address specific causes. That’s why you should rule out any donation software that doesn’t provide text-to-give as an option.

Types of Gifts to Consider

When it comes to collecting gifts, many churches set their minds on getting someone to donate for the first time. The issue is that chasing after one-time gifts isn’t sustainable. While one-time gifts will play a part in your financials, you should try to engage donors so that they commit to recurring gifts instead.

Here’s a look at all the types of gifts that can make online giving for churches a successful part of your strategy.

One-Time Gifts

The fact is, if a donor gives to your organization and then never gives again, you did something wrong. You could convert almost every donor who gives to your organization once into a recurring donor who gives on a weekly or monthly basis.

The key is investing in the right follow-up strategy so that you can keep them engaged, feeling like they’re making an impact, and motivated to continue supporting your organization. There are exceptions, of course. For instance, a corporate sponsor may make a one-time gift, but you’ll ideally revisit with them later on and have them make another large contribution down the road (like on an annual basis).

Monthly Recurring Gifts

The best thing you can strive for at your organization is to follow-up with every donor so that they become motivated to commit to a monthly recurring gift rather than making a one-time gift or donating at random intervals. There are countless benefits to recurring gifts, with the biggest and most obvious being sustaining income for your organization.

When you get multiple donors committed to making recurring gifts, whether $5 each or $100 each, you’ll suddenly have a much clearer picture of your organization’s financial wellness and you’ll be able to plan expenditures more effectively. The tricky part is keeping recurring donors passionate about your causes through education and reporting.

End-of-Year Gifts

Research has found that 10% of giving happens in the last three days of the year. For some, a last-minute gift can present tax advantages before the year closes. Others might find motivation in different reasons. Regardless, encouraging end-of-year gifts can boost your budget for the New Year and help you target donors who may only give occasionally.

End-of-year gifts also tend to represent quite large contributions, especially if you target donors who have the capacity to give a large donation. The right donor management software with data enrichment can help you find these donors in your database so you can reach out to them effectively.

Legacy Gifts

When a member or supporter of your organization passes away, they have the option to leave a legacy gift. That means part of their estate will be donated to your organization as a final offering. Educating your supporters about the option of a legacy gift and its impact will help you increase overall giving.

While legacy gifts can be a difficult topic to approach, they are worthwhile to discuss. This is a great way for supporters to make a big impact as a final wish in their will. Reaching out to a probate professional is a good idea since they can familiarize you with the legacy gift laws in your area.

You can then use that information to make a guide for your donors. You can also create talking points to start the conversation about legacy gifting amongst your supporters.

Creative Online Giving for Churches Ideas

Once you have all your software in order, don’t assume donors will just start giving you more money. Simply unlocking new methods of collecting money won’t lead to increased giving alone. Digital gifting definitely makes donating a simpler and more convenient process for your donor base. Always remember, though, that it’s not completely hands-off.

You can encourage digital gifting by:

  • Running social media campaigns to spread the word about the new ways you accept gifts.
  • Emailing your newsletter subscribers and informing them about the new donation methods.
  • Adding pop-ups and blog posts to your website describing these new methods.
  • Creating short videos and tutorials showing donors how to use these new methods.

Power Your Online Giving With Powerful Software

Now you know the ins-and-outs of online giving. So, how does your church plan to step into the new digital age? The fact is, there are many technical considerations you have to keep in mind. This means the right software is critical to a successful transition.

Here at DonorWerx, we have helped countless churches just like yours adopt, implement, and thrive with digital giving through powerful software and one-on-one coaching. Want to learn more about what we can do for your church? Schedule a 30-minute Discovery Call by clicking here.

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