Asking for money is uncomfortable, which is why many churches don’t put as much time into their websites’ church donation pages as they should. But without having a clear and persuasive ask on your church’s website, it can be hard to maintain healthy financial stewardship.
Making your church’s online giving page shine is easier than you might imagine. All you need to do is follow the church website donation page tips we outline here.
Does Online Giving Increase Donations for Churches?
Before we get into how to grow your online giving, it is important to examine if and how well it works. In an internal survey we conducted, we found that those switching to online giving grew donations by 26 percent.
But the degree of the gains depends on a lot of variables. The most important one boils down to how effective your online church donation page is.
What Is an Online Giving Page?
If you’re wondering how to set up donations for a church website, the answer is an online giving page. An online giving page is a software solution that churches can link to from their websites or embed directly within their websites where donors can process contributions.
In this example, Interfaith Coalition created an online giving page with links to specific charitable programs. Each tile briefly describes a specific program and provides a convenient donate button that links directly to program and payment details.
13 Surefire Ways to Make Your Church Donation Page a Success
Now that you understand online giving pages and their value, here are 13 tips to help you consider what potential donors might want from a church donation page, explore church technology solutions, and take advantage of church website design for donations to make the most of this vital part of your church financial management plan.
1. Gain a Better Understanding of Your Givers
Before you create or improve your church’s website donation page, it helps to understand your churchgoers’ preferences. This will help you organize the layout and text on the page to suit their preferences.
Effective ways to learn about your members’ and guests’ preferences could include organizing a meeting of volunteers in your community or sending a survey.
There are several free resources you can use to create a survey, such as SurveyMonkey. If you’ve never used SurveyMonkey before, you’ll be surprised by how quickly you can set up a professional survey. This five-minute video clip shows just how easy it is.
If you don’t know what questions you should ask in your church survey, don’t worry. Thousands of churches have successfully conducted surveys and many have posted samples online. At Vanco, we even created a guide and a sample to assist the 25,000 churches we work with. Click here to access the free guide and sample.
You can also rely on aggregate data from thousands of churches across the country. We’ve compiled a list of 45 must-know church giving trends and statistics. You can also receive critical data by visiting these sources:
- Giving USA Study: This comprehensive annual study is conducted by Indiana University. It details the latest trends and statistics of charitable giving in the U.S. for both secular and faith organizations.
- Barna: With a focus on church trends and statistics, this resource is valuable for any church, especially because many of their articles are free.
- Pew Research Center: Many recognize Pew for their political research, but they offer plenty of data on religious institutions. In fact, a section of their website is devoted to religion, where you can find free materials to help you stay informed.
2. Select the Right Church Giving Platform for Your Website
You may already have an online giving platform, but is it the right one to help your church meet its stewardship goals? It’s not uncommon for churches to have online giving providers that are not helping them maximize generosity.
Here are a few features your software must have to make your online giving pages a success.
- Cause-driven church donation pages: Church members feel more inspired to give if they can give to the causes that are dearest to their hearts. And their passion for specific missions inspires greater generosity. The right church giving page provides imagery and descriptions for each cause to help tell the story behind each mission.
For example, First Presbyterian Church’s online giving page is a great example. Located in Annapolis Maryland, this church broke out all its missions in detail to ensure their members and donors can locate the causes that mean the most to them. They also added imagery pertinent to each cause and briefly told the story behind it, helping to inspire greater generosity.
- An easy user experience: One of the easiest ways to increase online giving is by making donations simple. We’ve seen this again and again in our work with tens of thousands of churches. That’s why we built our church giving platform to better accommodate giving with a streamlined user experience. Whatever solution you choose, make sure it doesn’t require too many steps. It should be so easy to use that even your least tech-savvy members can enter their donations quickly.
- Recurring giving option: One of the most powerful benefits of an online giving platform is flexibility. In addition to eliminating the need for church members to carry or mail cash or checks, a recurring giving feature enables each donor to decide how much to give and how often — no reminders and no missed donations.
Why Is Recurring Giving a Game-changer for Churches?
If somebody is willing to give once, they’re more likely to give again. So, it isn’t surprising that monthly givers donate 440 percent more than one-time givers (Philanthropy News Digest). But the generosity of repeat givers doesn’t stop with their monthly donations. They are 75 percent more likely to make additional one-time gifts than non-repeat givers (Classy).
Because these types of givers are most committed to your mission, your church donation page should make it easy for them to repeat their gifts. Your online giving page provider should make it as simple as including a check box asking the donor to make their gift continuous.
Having givers donate routinely has a significant impact on giving. In fact, out of the strategies to increase giving used by the 25,000 churches we work with, recurring giving is one of the most effective. If you’re looking for ways to boost recurring giving in your church, we outline 10 strategies to help you get started in this article.
How to Make Recurring Giving as Easy as a Click of a Button
A great example of the power of recurring giving is Interfaith Coalition’s Coffee and Sandwiches Together (CAST) program. This program raised enough support to provide the local community with 9,000 meals in one year, taking a big bite out of food insecurity within the Bellingham Washington community.
The Recurring button helps the church and this important program seize on donors’ generous impulses to make sure their gifts continue to nourish the church’s key community outreach program.
- Offset fees: One feature that encourages eGiving adoption among users is an offset fee. The offset fee allows members to add a little extra to their donations to cover the cost of the convenience of eGiving. This feature helps members who want easy and flexible options to donate specific amounts to the church and helps churches grow giving. Interfaith Coalition’s CAST program provides a simple toggle button that donors can use to offset fees as part of the donation confirmation process.
3. Offer a Clear Path to Donate
Your church’s website is the perfect place to post notifications and communications to members, but it’s also a great home for your church giving page. When users visit your website, they should have a clear path to this donation page. By including a button or a link on every page of the website, you guide web visitors toward a desirable action: giving.
By following a few guidelines, you can encourage your members to explore your missions and donate to them.
- Make your church giving pages accessible: Make it easy for online visitors to give from any page they visit. To do this, church websites can include a donation button on many pages and include a link to donate in the website’s main menu.
- Include donation buttons: Buttons naturally grab a visitor’s focus. Including donation buttons that lead to your online giving page helps keep giving top of mind for your members.
For example, the First Lutheran Church and School in Fort Smith Arkansas has a GIVE link in the top-right corner of their website, so it appears on any page visitors access.
- Make calls to donate stand out: Use bold or contrasting colors on any giving buttons to steer your web visitors’ eyes to where they can go to give. This keeps giving in their thoughts as they read your website.
- Embed online giving pages: Embedding your provider’s church giving page on your website simplifies the giving experience because members can give without leaving your website. It can also let you embed individual giving tiles on any page. Some churches elect to include their cause-driven giving tiles at the bottom of certain pages in addition to their main church donation pages. Although you don’t want to do this for every page, it can help members visiting key pages become donors when they otherwise wouldn’t. When you embed a page on other pages on your website, givers can donate without having to click to a new page.
4. Make Your Giving Button Stand Out
No matter where a visitor is on your website, they should notice the donate button. By using a color that contrasts with your website, you’ll attract attention to your giving button. There’s a complex science that goes into choosing the best CTA colors; however, the general rule is that brighter colors perform better, while colors such as brown, white and black perform poorly. Whatever color you choose, make sure you include the right text within the button. The text you use should be simple (only two to three words) and clear.
5. Demonstrate Your Purpose
When businesses ask for a sale, they show exactly what the purchaser will get for their money. This clear return on their dollar is what helps a consumer decide between Product A and Product B. It might seem entirely different for churches and giving, but the concept is the same. Thousands of organizations request donations and donors’ resources are limited. They can only give to a handful of causes. By clearly showing givers the impact their donations will have, it makes it easier for them to choose your church. Be clear about what you have done with donations and what you will achieve with them going forward.
Successful churches include additional pages detailing the good works the churches have achieved through the generosity of their members and guests. On your site, you can link to this kind of page from your donation page to help donors see the value their gifts provide to those in the community and beyond.
6. Create Social Proof
Social proof is a powerful psychological phenomenon that influences people's decisions by showing them that others have already taken a particular action or expressed positive sentiments. When applied to church online giving pages, social proof can significantly boost the trust and confidence of potential donors.
Why Social Proof Matters for Church Giving Pages
- Trust building: Trust is crucial when it comes to financial transactions, including online donations. When visitors see that others have donated or supported your church's initiatives, they are more likely to trust your organization and feel confident about contributing.
- Emotional connection: Testimonials from church members and beneficiaries can evoke emotions and empathy. They demonstrate the real-world impact of donations, making potential donors feel like they are part of a compassionate community.
- Demonstration of impact: Social proof showcases the tangible results of your church's charitable work. It reassures donors that their contributions will be put to good use and genuinely make a difference in people's lives.
Examples of Effective Social Proof for Church Online Giving Pages
Testimonials from Church Members
"I've been a member of this church for over a decade, and I can personally attest to the incredible impact our community has had on my life. Through the support of generous donors like you, we've been able to provide food, shelter and hope to countless individuals in need. Join us in continuing this meaningful mission!"
"When I faced a personal crisis, this church was there for me. Your donations not only helped me through a difficult time but also strengthened my faith. I'm forever grateful to this church and its caring members. Your support truly changes lives."
Testimonials from Beneficiaries
"As a single parent struggling to make ends meet, I didn't know where to turn. Then, I received support from [Church Name]. Your generosity provided my family with food, clothing and a renewed sense of hope. Your donations transform lives like mine every day."
"I was lost and addicted before finding solace in [Church Name]'s rehabilitation program. Your contributions save lives. Today, I am a proud, sober and grateful member of this church community. Your kindness and faith in me made it all possible."
7. Create Clear and Compelling Headlines
The power of a well-crafted headline cannot be overstated when it comes to your online church donation page. Your headline is often the first thing potential donors see, and it's the key to capturing their attention and inspiring them to take action.
Why Clear, Compelling Headlines Matter
- Capture attention: In a world filled with distractions, a strong headline is your chance to stand out. It's the first impression you make on visitors to your church giving page, and it needs to grab their attention immediately.
- Convey purpose: A well-crafted headline should convey the purpose of your church's fundraising efforts. It helps donors understand why their contribution is essential and what impact it can have.
- Inspire emotion: Powerful headlines can evoke emotions, whether it's a sense of compassion, urgency or hope. Emotionally charged headlines can resonate deeply with potential donors.
- Drive action: The ultimate goal of your headline is to prompt action. A compelling headline can encourage visitors to explore your church donation page further, leading to increased donations and support.
Tips for Crafting Compelling Headlines
- Use vivid words: Choose descriptive and emotive words that paint a vivid picture of your cause. For example:
- "Transform Lives Through Your Generosity"
- "Empower Hope: Give Today for a Brighter Tomorrow"
- Create urgency: Urgency can motivate people to act quickly. Incorporate phrases like:
- "Limited Time Offer: Double Your Impact!"
- "Join Our Mission Now – Time is Running Out"
- Be clear and concise: Avoid jargon or ambiguity. Your headline should be clear and to the point, such as:
- "Support Clean Water Initiatives"
- "Help Us Feed the Hungry"
- Highlight impact: Emphasize the tangible difference donors can make. For example:
- "Your Donation Educates Children"
- "Build Homes, Build Hope"
- Invoke questions: Use questions that pique curiosity and encourage further exploration:
- "Can You Spare Change to Change Lives?"
- "What If Your Contribution Could Save a Life Today?"
8. A Picture Can Speak Volumes
This point goes hand in hand with demonstrating your purpose. Words can’t explain the joy your church’s mission brings to the recipients of charitable donations. For this reason, including pictures of people who have been supported by the church can help givers connect with your mission. Placing these images on your website and linking to them wherever they are relevant shouldn’t take long and can make a big difference.
9. Preselected Donations
It’s amazing what a suggestion can do. By including a preselected donation amount or offering a suggested gift amount, donors don’t have to worry about how much is enough. In fact, you’re likely to influence giver behavior by encouraging them to give more.
10. Send Follow-up Emails
Your online giving platform should have a built-in function to send thank-you emails that confirm gifts have been received and thank the donors. In your thank-you email, you should also include helpful resources to help members stay involved in your church. This could include links to your church groups that tell them how they can join. You could also share a link showing the good works you are already doing with donations like theirs. Demonstrating what your church has done with donations inspires givers to support your mission in the future.
If you’re looking for help wording your church’s thank you, we have created a complete guide to help convey your heartfelt gratitude. In addition to dozens of sample thank-you letters, it includes church giving appeals for just about every situation.
11. Promote Your Church Website and Your Giving Page
Your website and church donation page need visitors to attract members and donations. That’s why you need to promote it. But don’t worry — you don’t need a big church advertising budget to be a success. In fact, all the suggestions in this section don’t cost a thing.
According to Pew Research Center, nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults are on Facebook. That’s why churches should take advantage of social media. Your church’s Facebook page will also help improve your local search visibility on Google and Bing. These search engines use Facebook pages as a key source to determine if your church is local to your area. This means that when somebody new to your area is looking for a church, or simply looking to learn more about your church, it will be easier for them to find yours online.
Aside from being helpful for your church’s visibility online, Facebook can work with your website and donation pages to increase giving.
- Add a donation button to your Facebook page: Nonprofits such as churches can pair their donation pages with Facebook pages and add a donation button directly on their Facebook pages. This allows users to donate to your mission directly from their favorite social media platform. All you need to do is follow a few simple steps to link your church’s website church donation page to the Facebook button.
- Let givers share your causes on your social media: Your members can use the power of social media to spread the word about your causes in their networks. Through the sharing function, you can multiply donations through members’ families and friends.
For example, First Presbyterian Church added a Share button to the online giving page for their Backpack Buddies program. Visitors simply click Share and choose the platform where they want to post their messages.
Google My Business
If you’ve verified your church’s address with Google, which is free, search results for your church’s name will have an additional box on the page. The box includes a picture of your church, the address, a link to a page on your website, a phone number and an option to get directions to your location. If you want to know how to set up donations for a church website, Google My Business will help drive more people to your website to accept donations and promote your church to individuals in your area. If you’re looking to launch your own Google My Business page, you can get started in just a few minutes by following these instructions.
Include Promotional Messages in Church Materials
Adding extra callouts to your church’s flyers, pew cards or bulletins isn’t much work, especially because most of the legwork has already been done for you. Vanco’s launch materials include dozens of ways to help you encourage members to give online. Anyone can use these materials for free.
Use a Mobile App
Why not use a tool that can help you improve communication with members while driving more users to your church’s donation page? With Vanco Mobile, a free app, you can easily manage church groups, track seating capacity for services and events, and facilitate conversations between members and church leaders. The tool also acts as a mobile donation app that lets you link to your church giving page and includes several calls to donate throughout the app. To learn more about this free app, click here to see everything it can do for you and how you can download it.
Ask from the Pulpit
A direct appeal for donations for church mission funding can do wonders, especially when most of your members have their smartphones with them. Remind and encourage members to use your app and church donation page to donate right away from their smartphones.
12. Make Sure Your Payments Are Secure
One of the primary reasons for a secure church giving page is building donor trust. According to a study by Nonprofit Source, 75 percent of donors are concerned about the security of their personal information when donating online. By having a secure online donation process, you can alleviate these fears and encourage more donations from your congregation.
Another reason for secure giving pages is reducing the financial liability for all transactions made within the church. This means that in case of any fraudulent activity, you will not be held responsible for the losses incurred. A secure giving page ensures that all financial transactions are encrypted, which makes it difficult for hackers to intercept sensitive information such as credit card details.
Make Your Online Giving Pages Secure With PCI Standards
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of security standards designed to ensure that all companies that accept, process, store or transmit credit card information maintain secure environments.
Here are some actionable tips to implement PCI standards at your church and keep your donor information safe and secure.
- Select a compliant processor: Choose a giving processor that is PCI compliant. Ensure they handle and store payment card data securely.
- Limit data collection: Only collect essential donor information and avoid storing sensitive payment card data whenever possible. When choosing a giving processor, it is essential to ensure it is PCI compliant. A compliant giving processor ensures the protection of sensitive information and boosts the credibility of your church. It is also important to choose a giving processor that uses encryption technology, as this will make it difficult for hackers to intercept sensitive information.
- Regular audits and assessments: Conduct regular security audits and assessments to identify and address vulnerabilities. Church financial transparency is vital to the entire church community.
- Employee training: Train staff members who handle donor data on security best practices and the importance of PCI compliance.
- Secure communication: Ensure that data transmission between your website and your giving processor is encrypted using secure protocols.
13. Refine and Improve
Does online giving increase donations for churches? Yes! But creating an effective church donation page is not a one-and-done endeavor. If you want to continue to enhance stewardship and grow generosity to fund key church initiatives, you’ll need an ongoing optimization process that continuously refines and improves your church giving pages. Here are a few ways you can kick off a process to improve the efficacy of your online giving pages.
Stress Test Your Giving Pages
- Conduct a page audit: Start by evaluating your current church giving page. Identify areas that need improvement, such as design, content, features and functions.
- A/B testing: Experiment with different elements of your online giving page, such as headlines, donation amounts or call-to-action buttons. A/B testing helps you identify what resonates best with your audience. If you’re interested in getting started with A/B testing, here’s tool with a free plan suitable for most churches.
- User experience testing: Test the page's usability from a donor's perspective. Ensure that it loads quickly, works seamlessly on mobile devices and has clear navigation.
- Review analytics: Monitor website analytics to track donor behavior. Pay attention to metrics like conversion rates, bounce rates and donation amounts. Analytics provide valuable insights into what's working and what needs improvement. One way to do this for free is with Google Analytics. If you don’t have Google Analytics set up on your site, or want to know how to use it, here’s a simple and free course that covers the basics.
- Donor feedback: Actively seek feedback from donors through surveys, emails or social media. Their insights can help you understand pain points and areas for improvement.
- Internal feedback: Encourage your team to provide input based on their interactions with donors and their understanding of your church's goals.
Adjust and Refine Based on Insights
- Conversion optimization: If you notice high bounce rates or abandoned donation forms, address the issues causing donors to drop off. This might include clarifying instructions.
- Content updates: Regularly update your church giving page content to reflect the latest developments, impact stories or urgent needs within your church or community.
See an Online Church Giving Page Software Up Close
25,000 Churches Trust This Game-Changing Software to Grow Generosity
Got 76 seconds? That’s all the time you need to see the software designed specifically for churches like yours to grow giving. Built with the best practices we outlined in mind, the software makes it easy for any church to build an effective online church donation page.