Increasing Virtual Tithing Through Appropriate Surveying
People are coming to church less frequently, and even faithful congregants end up staying home during social distancing measures. These facts have made virtual tithing an essential reality for houses of worship, but even having access to such a useful technology doesn’t guarantee that it will be used. Fortunately, church leaders can use questionnaires and survey tools to increase this form of giving.
The Importance of Virtual Tithing
In previous decades, church leaders could trust their congregations to show up and tithe simply because the Bible says to. Unfortunately, this has changed over time. Church attendance has dropped dramatically in the last two decades. While this shift has been occurring, the amount that churchgoers give has simultaneously been decreasing.
This new reality pushed the “old way” things were done right out the window. The “new way” involved offering virtual tithing as an option while striving to engage parishioners in church. Unfortunately, even this strategy is now useless due to COVID-19 social distancing measures. This means pastors have to focus on the “now way.”
These necessities now include utilizing virtual tithing in conjunction with a larger focus on the donor experience. People now have far more options in where they send their money, and many donations that would typically have been tithed are finding their way to nonprofits. People are still giving, so it’s up to you to improve experiences so they’re giving to your church.
Creating a Survey to Increase Virtual Giving
As a church leader, you should already be giving back to your donors. In many cases, though, we don’t quite know what this entails. A “thank you” letter can go a long way, but the fact is that people want more. They want to know you’re concerned with what they believe and what they’re looking for in a church. Folks want to give – they just want their giving to mean something.
This is where surveys to increase virtual tithing come in. If you can use questionnaires, surveys and interviews to discover what congregants really care about, you can update your offerings and better target your messages. Not everyone will be looking for the same thing, but that’s an easy hurdle to clear once you build an appropriate survey.
Consider the following strategies:
Include a Few Open-Ended Questions
Multiple choice and fill in the blank questions are great for gathering data and making it simple to process. There are just some things in life, though, that shouldn’t be condensed down to a datapoint. When asking questions related to what parishioners enjoy or would improve at church, open-ended queries are helpful. Always remember, though, that other question types increase the ease of completion.
Keep Questions Simple
Long surveys can be extremely informative, but they’re more likely to dissuade the majority of people from filling them out. Not only does this mean you’ll miss out on vital data, but it also ensures the answers you get will come from congregants who are already fully committed to helping the church. Your goal is to find those who may be less committed and figure out how to get them engaged.
Distribute the Survey to Everyone
When you send a survey out via your email list, you likely assume you’ve covered all your bases. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Younger parishioners may delete a church email without even glancing at its subject. Conversely, older congregants may not even see your post on social media. It’s important to distribute your survey via as many platforms as possible to maximize your response rate.
Remember Your Objective
There are innumerable questions that are appropriate for a church audience, but it’s important to remember your overall objective: boosting revenue through surveys. The best way to increase virtual tithing activities – which are essential to the “now way” – is to pinpoint what parishioners want from their church experience and implement changes where possible.
This should be the goal of all the questions on your survey. Ask what respondents think about certain programs. Provide prompts that let them explain how they’d improve something. Find out what’s most important to them in their church family and experience. Once you have this data, putting it into action to increase virtual tithes is easy.
Using Answers from Surveys to Increase Virtual Tithing
You can begin using data gathered from your survey almost immediately. Take note of any issues or requests that are seen repeatedly in responses. Did several parishioners mention that improving the young adult ministry would get them more involved? How about questions regarding services? Did respondents say they leave feeling unfulfilled?
When you consistently encounter these answers, it’s time to start planning on changes. Increased tithing, planned giving and volunteerism only comes from those who feel like they’re part of something. By responding to parishioners’ concerns and building a stronger and more engaging ministry, this is the exact type of environment you’ll be fostering.
In addition to making changes that improve the overall experience of churchgoers, you can also use survey data to better target your “asks.” Were congregants under the age of 30 likelier to say they think more work should be done for the homeless? Did respondents with children say the youth ministry should be expanded?
Regardless of the specific answers, you can use donor segmentation to divide your entire congregation into groups. You then have the ability to target your donation request emails based on this information. The 30-year-old members who mentioned the homeless, for instance, would receive a message asking for financial help in building the homeless ministry. This form of personalization has consistently proven effective over time.
Trust Surveying to Increase Virtual Tithing
If you already used virtual tithing, you were partially prepared to deal with social distancing measures. If you didn’t, however, there’s still time to right the ship. Virtual giving tools like those provided by DonorWerx can give parishioners the chance to tithe even when stuck at home. And when you combine this with surveys focused on congregant concerns, the “now way” can keep your church going strong.