Churches often fall short of their stewardship goals. In many cases, it's because churches just don't have an online giving platform, leaving church members unsure of how to give.
If you want to know more about the benefits of online giving for churches, keep reading. We'll explain just how many ways this user-friendly technology can strengthen your church community.
1. Facilitates Automatic Giving
One-time gifts are wonderful. But automated monthly giving is the best for any church. Reliable monthly donations are the backbone of a church's income.
While some donors prefer to send a physical check through the mail every month and others use automatic giving through their bank, these solutions are only workarounds. They're time-consuming for the donor and create extra work for you too.
On the other hand, an online giving portal makes monthly giving simple for your congregation, and easy for you. The software eliminates paperwork and automatically registers all your client data.
If you're worried your congregants won't warm to the idea of online giving, show them how user-friendly an online giving portal can be. It couldn't be easier for donors to commit to monthly online giving.
2. Doesn't Depend on Cash or Checks
Here's the cold hard truth: most people just don't carry checks anymore.
That means if you set up your fundraising event assuming donors will simply whip out their checkbook and write you a donation in hard copy, you might run into disappointment. Successful fundraising in the 21st century means having online donation options at your fingertips.
With an integrated system, you can pull up your church's donation page on your computer or help donors to find it on their devices. Either way, your fundraiser will be flexible to your donors' preferences.
3. COVID Safe and Contactless
Before COVID-19, online giving was a good option. Now, it is the option.
Contact-free donation options eliminate virus transmission concerns that go along with cash and check donating. Few people are even willing to receive cash, so an online giving system is a must for your church's treasury team as well as your donors.
Here's the good news. You don't have to throw out your existing church management software to pivot to a fully online system. Find an online giving platform for churches that integrates with your donor software.
By combining the professional online giving portal you need with the church management software you already have, you can get maximum COVID safety with minimum hassle.
4. Lets Donors Give Quickly
Did you know that most online giving options let you give within a minute?
For Gen Z users, that's a perfect time frame. This generation, born after the mid-1990s, grew up with smartphones in hand. They're accustomed to fast online transactions and quick decisions.
Many churches make the mistake of overlooking this younger generation's desire to give. And yes, the majority of them are teens right now.
However, they're not called "Philanthroteens" for nothing. They are actually highly socially engaged and willing to donate — as long as they can do so in the fast, high-tech way they're used to.
Do you have a strong Gen Z demographic in your church? If so, mobile online giving is a must for you. It lets your younger crowd express their generous nature in the lightning-fast time frame that feels comfortable to them.
Although Gen Z has been the quickest to adopt mobile and online giving, older generations have followed, especially when C0VID-19 limited other giving options. With eGiving as the new normal, members of all ages understand the convenience of online giving options and have come to expect them from their church.
5. Lets Donors Choose Which Fund to Support
How do you help contributors stay invested in your work? One important way: make it personal.
Many donors come with a particular cause that God has laid on their hearts. It might be the overseas mission work your church supports or your local youth outreach program. At the same time, other donors feel called to give to the general needs of the church without earmarking them for a specific fund.
Online giving options make it easy to showcase the different funds that donors can choose, like the example below illustrates.
Your church can set up the different funds you need, including special fundraisers. When they open the page or app, donors can see all their options and choose between them with a click.
6. Makes Church Record-Keeping Easier
If there is one thing that church administrators spend their time on, it's one little task: donation processing.
Which event did the donations come from, and who gave? Have the donations been recorded, processed, locked away in the safe and finally taken to the bank? Has the donor been thanked and had their tax-deductible receipt issued?
When donors give their gifts online, paperwork disappears. The online giving platform records the relevant information and eliminates the need to store and deposit cash and checks. Your church administrator will have something very different on their hands: free time.
7. Lets Donors Give Before They Forget
Almost everyone in your congregation, young and old, has a smartphone in their pocket. That means everyone has notifications, emails and ads demanding their attention. No wonder Americans check their phones over 2,000 times per day.
Despite our best resolutions, we have to admit that with so many distractions, it's easy to let things slide. Good intentions to give our Sunday tithes can go on the back burner. And that's especially true if your donors have to put off making their donation until later on, like when they can find a minute to sit down at a computer.
But smartphones aren't just a distraction — they're a donation opportunity. A mobile donation app lets your church members give right away.
Whether your church meets in person or virtually, just give a gentle reminder in place of passing around the collection plate. The congregation can pull out their phones and donate right away before something else snags their attention.
8. There's an Option For Every Church
When it comes to choosing the right online giving method for your congregation, use wise discernment. There's an online giving option to fit the needs of every church.
Start by considering the size, demographics and preferences of your church attendees. Is your church mostly made up of younger people who are already comfortable with online shopping and mobile banking? Then an integrated online giving app is the best choice for you.
But if you minister to many older individuals who may not carry a smartphone (or if they do, may not be comfortable using it for financial transactions) a desktop site is your best bet. Find one with a clean layout and a straightforward donation process for the most user-friendly experience.
Don't forget to think outside the box. Are you launching a new fundraiser that your whole city can support? Then consider using text-to-give—you'll be able to circulate your unique number to charities and businesses so that everyone can donate with a simple text message.
9. It Makes Giving More Secure
Snail mail can still work for those who are bound and determined to put their physical check in an envelope and send it off with a stamp to your church treasurer. However, with yearly estimates of lost mail as high as 4.7 percent, many people are rightly concerned about sending cash, checks and personal data through the mail.
Even money placed directly in the collection plate can get lost or misappropriated.
That's not a problem with online giving. Using a secure platform, your congregants know that their gift goes directly to its destination. To enjoy maximum security for your payments, make sure your online giving platform is a PCI DSS level 1 processor. PCI level 1 compliance means that the payment processor adheres to the highest security standards set by prominent credit card companies including Visa, American Express and Mastercard.
10. It Widens Your Giving Base
Years ago, if you wanted to extend an opportunity to give to those beyond your immediate community, you had to send out a mail blast with newsletters, a donation appeal and a postage-paid envelope.
Some organizations still do this successfully (especially those who are reaching older adults). However, with online giving, it's much easier to widen your giving base and reach new donors who want to support your church's work.
Are you launching a project that people outside your congregation would be interested in supporting? Invite your congregants to share it on social media to reach exponentially more people in your city and beyond.
Another opportunity for churches is the "birthday fundraiser." This involves asking friends to give to their favorite charity instead of buying a gift. Invite your congregation to consider making one of the church's charities their birthday fundraising initiative. With online donating, it's easy to do.
Best of all? Unlike paying for a mail blast, it doesn't cost your church anything to share a link online.
11. Lets You Send Thank-Yous Right Away
If you want to create and develop relationships with donors, there's one thing you need to do: affirm, affirm, affirm.
Let's face it: parting with our hard-earned money is difficult, even for those who already feel committed to tithing.
If your church has freely received from the generosity of your members, don't forget to give freely as well (Matt 10:8). Be generous with your gratitude, and you will develop devoted donors who are committed to supporting your work.
The most important way to put that principle into action is to thank your donors as soon as possible. Let them know right away that someone sees and appreciates their sacrifice.
With online giving, you don't have to wait weeks until your thank-you note gets dropped in their mailbox. You'll be able to send them a heartfelt note right away through the same digital means that they used to donate.
All that you have to do is write a great thank-you note and your donors will be glad that they gave.
12. Simplifies End of Year Contribution Letters
At the end of a long year, it's good fundraising etiquette to send a final thank-you. Many charities choose to combine this with a Christmas card to acknowledge the season of giving.
Donors feel particularly affirmed when their unique contribution is acknowledged. In other words: let them know how much you appreciate them by stating exactly how much they gave. And since digital donating platforms automatically keep track of each donors' contributions, it makes writing those year-end contribution letters a breeze.
Even if their total donation was relatively small, receiving a card that says, "We are so grateful to you for giving over $20 to our work!" will let them know you appreciate their widow's mite.
13. Makes Budgeting More Predictable
A secure online giving platform helps donors feel confident committing to automatic monthly giving. Donors quickly discover that automatic giving is much more convenient than making individual donations. That's why many online givers choose to move to automatic gifts.
As anyone who has looked in the books of a non-profit or church knows, donations can be unpredictable. It's hard to set a budget when you're uncertain of just how much money will come in.
Monthly giving is a tremendous gift because it makes budgeting more predictable. You can count on the monthly financial commitments that your congregants have made.
It also flattens out common spikes in donations (during Christmas and Easter) and lulls in giving(the summer giving slump) that occur throughout the year.
Are the Benefits of Online Giving for Churches Worth It?
Giving online is the new frontier for many church communities. Even though online giving in the past was complicated and even intimidating, today's user-friendly online giving platforms make digital donating simple.
With so many benefits of online giving for churches, choose a trustworthy donations partner like Vanco. Contact us today to learn about how our state-of-the-art software can help boost donations for your church.