In today’s world, numerous companies seem to have lost their connection with the communities and causes they aim to engage with. Many advocate that technology is the ultimate solution to boost church donations. However, our findings indicate that flashy church apps and websites alone don’t inspire people to invest in your ministry. Merely providing online donation platforms has its limitations.
While these channels are important to have, their mere existence doesn’t inherently encourage giving. Instead, they serve as tools for those already inspired to contribute. If simply adding a button on your website or initiating a text-to-give campaign doesn’t yield increased giving, then what approach will?
Do You Really Need Online Donation Channels?
The traditional practice of passing around an offertory basket to cover your church’s daily operations is becoming a thing of the past. Although congregations may still make offerings on Sundays, this method is gradually becoming less common. However, it’s essential to note that this change is not due to people’s unwillingness to give.
Online Donations Bring Big Increases
In 2018, church giving experienced a remarkable surge of 18.1 percent, marking the most substantial increase among all forms of charitable giving. This trend reflects people’s continuous and growing desire to support their local community churches. However, despite these positive indicators, offertory baskets are no longer sufficient to cover expenses.
The reason is straightforward. As times change, so do people’s payment preferences. Debit and credit cards have become the preferred method for 80 percent of Americans to handle their financial transactions. Year after year, cash and checks are witnessing declining usage.
A study revealed that 50 percent of individuals carry cash with them less than half the time when going out, and over three in four people carry less than $50 in cash. Nearly half of them carry less than $20. A remarkable 46 percent of people use cash fewer than eight times a month, and 5 percent never use it at all.
New Ways of Giving
There’s no denying the changing landscape of spending and giving among Americans. To adapt to these shifts, exploring new channels for receiving donations is essential, offering greater convenience to your congregation.
Doing so will open doors for potentially higher donations from those who currently give in cash. Additionally, it will provide an avenue for other members who might not regularly give due to the limitations of cash and check donations.
However, in this pursuit, it’s crucial not to replace traditional giving methods — but rather complement them with more accessible options.
Online Giving Is Only Supplementary
Viewing online donations as a replacement for traditional giving methods is not advisable. While some members may prefer placing money in the offertory basket as it passes from pew to pew, others in your congregation are more inclined to embrace digital giving.
Recognize that each member has their preferred way of giving. While the offertory basket may suit some, relying solely on this method can be inconvenient for many others. It requires them to go out of their way to find an ATM or visit a bank, withdraw cash, and carry it every week for regular donations.
Such inconsistency and inconvenience may dissatisfy donors. To enhance giving experiences, it’s crucial to introduce new channels that expand donation options for your church. By doing so, you offer a refreshing and simpler way for members of all ages to contribute.
Avoid Limiting Your Church to a Single Channel
Having multiple channels for donations is undeniably the most effective approach to boosting church giving stats. Text-to-give stands out as one of the most popular online donation methods, catering to nearly all generations. Additionally, having a simple online form is essential for web-based donations, catering to both desktop and mobile users.
Interestingly, adding a donation button to your website can significantly increase giving. Moreover, optimizing the donation page for mobile usage can lead to an average increase of 126 percent in pledges. These remarkable outcomes can make a substantial impact on your church’s finances. Nevertheless, as mentioned earlier, merely introducing new buttons or mobile-friendly forms won’t guarantee donations on their own.
How to Increase Church Giving With New Channels
Introducing a new donation channel is an excellent initial step toward boosting giving within your congregation. However, it’s not the sole action required. To encourage people to make use of the new channels, some essential outreach and specific accomplishments are necessary.
1. Make Sure Your Congregation Knows
Ensure your congregation is well-informed about all available giving options at your church, enabling them to choose the method that suits them best. There are various ways to disseminate this information effectively. Displaying options prominently on your website is a good start, but direct methods should also be employed.
To reach a broader audience within your congregation, explore multiple communication channels beyond your website. Utilize social media platforms and leverage announcements during church services to promote the exciting launch of new donation channels.
Additionally, consider hanging posters or distributing flyers in the church’s entryway to inform all members about the various giving methods available.
2. Educate Your Congregation About Online Donation Channels
Text-to-give software and similar donation channels offer an incredible level of simplicity for everyone to get involved. Donors can contribute easily by texting a short number, clicking a link, and filling out a brief form with payment details. Illustrating this ease is crucial in encouraging donors to try it out, and once they do, they’ll be hooked on its speed and straightforward nature.
To get potential donors on board, demonstrate these simple steps to them. Ensure they understand why they should choose this new channel and how to use it. Social media posts with short video walk-throughs or images illustrating the process work wonders for educating your congregation in a clear and branded manner.
3. Stay in Contact With Donors and Potential Donors
Building rapport with each person who enters your doors is paramount as a church, and your marketing practices play a significant role in this endeavor. By correctly utilizing various communication channels, you can gather essential information about your donors.
Understanding your donors better allows you to provide improved service and tailor the right messaging for fundraising and campaigns at your ministry. Collecting details ranging from names to birthdays enables you to personalize your communications effectively. This, in turn, fosters a stronger connection between donors and your church.
Maintaining this personal connection is vital, especially for those transitioning from in-person giving to online methods. Ensuring your church members feel individually appreciated, valued, and recognized significantly encourages regular giving and overall support.
Going the extra mile in this regard works wonders for nurturing a strong and lasting relationship with your congregation.
4. Make Sure Campaigns Are Cause-driven
To boost active support and donations from church members, setting specific goals and causes proves highly effective. Creating cause-driven campaigns throughout the year with finite goals encourages participation, even from those unable to set up recurring donations.
Such campaigns create a sense of urgency and inspiration among donors. With a clear fundraising target and deadline, everyone is motivated to act swiftly. Donors feel a more profound sense of impact when they contribute towards reaching the goal.
Campaigns can have varying funding goals and deadlines, ideally being short-term and actionable with a clear purpose. For instance, fundraising to send the youth group on a mission trip next summer should include specified amounts, deadlines, and personal stories to foster connections within the congregation.
Sharing information about youth group members and their families helps create a close-knit community, even in larger congregations. Including quotes and comments from the members and counselors enhances the importance of the mission trip and highlights the impact on everyone involved.
5. Keep Donors Updated on Progress and Impact
To maintain a personal connection and encourage giving through online channels, keeping donors informed is crucial. Offer a subscription list for easy opt-in when donating or when visiting your website. This keeps members updated on fundraising goals and where their donations are utilized.
Highlighting the impact of donations within the community and beyond assures donors that they are making a difference. Share progress reports through emails, pamphlets at services, and social media posts to raise awareness among the congregation.
For significant events or contributions, create blog posts and share them widely to demonstrate how funds are used for wonderful causes close to home. Utilize images and videos to foster a human connection. For short-term campaigns, send text updates to donors to create urgency and appreciation, encouraging them to share the campaign with friends and family.
6. Set Expectations About Online Donations and Speak About Them
Setting and discussing giving expectations may seem challenging to some pastors who fear it might come across as greedy or legalistic. However, doing so can be highly effective. A friendly approach during new church member meetings is a suitable place to introduce these expectations without being forceful or exclusive.
Bringing up past causes and financial requirements for youth groups and programs naturally leads to discussing the amount needed from donors to sustain these initiatives. By presenting giving expectations in this manner, even new members understand that their donations support worthwhile endeavors.
During services, pastors can address giving expectations and the church’s financial needs through sermons on giving and generosity. This approach makes the topic approachable and avoids any solicitation vibes.
Leading by example is vital to garner recurring donations and attract new donors. When setting expectations for churchgoers, ensure ministry leaders match the requested contributions. This fosters trust, shared goals, and a stronger sense of community within the church.
7. Always Find Ways to Show Gratitude
Showing appreciation to church donors is a powerful way to encourage giving from new and existing members alike. Tailoring the method of appreciation to match the donation method is essential.
For text-to-give donors, send a grateful text message; for online givers, an email thank you; and for in-person contributors, a handwritten note or direct expression of gratitude. Publicly thanking loyal and major donors during services can also be impactful, but always obtain their permission first to respect their privacy.
Include thank you messages in public financial statements and send thank you cards along with end-of-year giving forms to all donors. Implement an easy process for expressing thanks, as it strengthens relationships and fosters more giving from both current donors and other parishioners.
8. Ask Your Congregation for Feedback
Every congregation varies, often with a diverse group of churchgoers spanning different ages and life circumstances. The majority of your members are likely willing to donate, but are you clearly communicating how they can do so? Is the process made easy for them?
These are essential questions to consider. To find answers, it’s best to engage directly with your church members. Understand their preferences for new forms of interactions and how they want to engage with the ministry and its projects, be it through social media, the website, or elsewhere.
Valuable feedback can be easily gathered, helping your ministry adapt and grow to meet the needs of your congregation.
The DonorWerx Promise for Online Donations
Unlock the potential of digital donations for your ministry with DonorWerx. In just 30 minutes, we guarantee to boost your church’s donations by 10 percent over the next six months. Our confidence in the effectiveness of the DonorWerx giving framework is unwavering. Schedule a Discovery Call with us today to explore the possibilities.