What Is Recurring Donations or Recurring Giving?


Recurring donations, also known as recurring giving or monthly giving, are a fundraising structure used by many churches. When recurring donations occur, parishioners or church members commit to making regular, ongoing contributions. Instead of making a one-time donation, donors opt to give a fixed amount of money at regular intervals, such as monthly or annually.

Today, many churches offer the option to make recurring donations online instead of with checks or cash. This gives their members the freedom to manage their donations at home, letting them choose when the donations are taken from their accounts and giving them more control over their finances.  

Table of Contents 

Church Stewardship eBook



Faith-based organizations need financial support from their members to sustain themselves and grow. Ministries need funding, administrators need salaries and buildings require maintenance. Setting up a fundraising strategy that allows prospective donors to give easily is crucial for your church to thrive. 

What Are Recurring Donations?

Recurring donations are a key part of many modern faith-based organizations’ financial strategies. This strategy makes it much easier for church members to donate because it can be done at members’ leisure rather than at the set time of service. Recurring donations are nothing new; when you look at the history of faith-based organizations, regular monetary contributions have always been important. (Even the Bible talks about tithing!) Today’s recurring donations are frequently structured as monthly donations or annual donations, but your church can offer options based on member needs and preferences. Building recurring donation programs has never been easier, thanks to the ease of the online donation process. 


Benefits of Recurring Donations for Churches

In today’s economy, finding ways to make the donation process easier means that church members are more likely to give. Having an online donation platform that accepts monthly contributions makes it easier for members to consider automated donations as part of their monthly budget process. While the average monthly donation is smaller than the average one-time donation, the aggregate donation a monthly donor gives usually adds up to more than a one-time gift. 

Predictable Revenue Stream

For churches, having a predictable revenue stream is crucial for budgeting and planning purposes. Recurring donations provide a steady, sustainable revenue source that churches can count on month after month. With the consistent financial support of a predictable revenue stream, churches can better plan their activities, allocate resources for various ministries and undertake long-term projects with confidence. 

Increased Giving and Donor Retention

Recurring donations encourage increased giving among church members. By setting up automatic contributions and an online donation form, individuals find it easier to make a monthly commitment or annual commitment. Additionally, recurring donations contribute to donor retention. When individuals commit to giving on a recurring basis, they are more likely to stay engaged with the church's mission and continue their support over time. This increased giving and higher donor retention rate increase the donor life cycle and can lead to overall growth in the church's financial resources. Ultimately, this will strengthen its ability to carry out its mission and serve its community. 

Administrative Efficiency and Reduced Processing Costs

Recurring donations streamline administrative processes for churches. Instead of manually processing individual donations each week or month, churches can rely on automated donor management software to handle recurring contributions. This automation reduces the administrative burden on church staff and volunteers, allowing them to focus their time and energy on other important tasks related to ministry and community outreach. Furthermore, processing recurring donations typically incurs lower transaction fees and processing costs compared to processing multiple individual donations. Optimizing the donation process helps churches maximize the impact of each donation by minimizing overhead expenses associated with fundraising and financial management. 

Free Finance Tools to Build a Healthy Church

How Recurring Donations Work

Recurring donations are relatively straightforward. They require some setup; you will need donor management software and payment solutions. But once you have the backend set up, church members can easily set up monthly payments. 

From Donor Setup to Fund Collection

Donors typically set up recurring donations by providing their payment information and specifying the amount they wish to donate and the frequency of their donations. This setup process can be done through various channels, including online donation platforms, mobile apps, text-to-give services or directly through the organization's website or donation forms. 

Once donors provide their payment information and specify their recurring donation preferences, they may need to authorize the recurring payments through a secure process, such as entering a verification code or confirming their identity. This varies based on the donor management software chosen and is a way to make your members feel more secure in their financial contributions. 

After the donor setup process is complete, funds are collected automatically from the donor's chosen payment method, usually a credit card or bank account, at the specified intervals. 

The collected funds are typically deposited into the church’s designated bank account, where they can be used to support the organization's programs, projects or initiatives. 

Channels for Recurring Donations 

There are three primary channels for online fundraising platforms: online giving, mobile giving and text-to-give. 

  • Online platforms and donation portals hosted on the organization's website or third-party fundraising platforms allow donors to set up and manage recurring donations easily. Donors can access these platforms using their computers or mobile devices, providing flexibility and convenience in managing their recurring contributions. 
  • Mobile apps developed by nonprofit organizations or third-party donation platforms enable donors to set up and manage recurring donations directly from their smartphones or tablets. These apps often offer features such as donation tracking, customization of donation preferences and secure payment processing to enhance the donor experience. 
  • Text-to-give services allow donors to initiate recurring donations by sending a text message with a specific keyword to a designated phone number. Donors receive a response with instructions to complete the donation setup process, including providing payment information and specifying donation preferences. 

Strategies for Encouraging Recurring Donations

Nearly 80 percent of American adults prefer to manage their finances online. Lean into this trend and use online fundraising tools and fundraising platforms that cater to modern preferences instead of relying on more sporadic financial commitments. For many churches, adopting and promoting recurring monthly contributions is enough to get the ball rolling. Your finance department should communicate the convenience of recurring donations, emphasizing that donors can set up automatic contributions that fit their budgets and schedules without the need for regular manual donations. 

Clearly communicate the impact of recurring donations on the organization's mission and programs, emphasizing how sustained support contributes to achieving long-term goals and making a difference in the community. Streamline the process for setting up recurring donations by offering user-friendly online fundraising platforms, mobile apps or text-to-give services that make it easy for donors to provide their payment information and specify their donation preferences. 

Provide incentives or recognition for recurring donors, such as exclusive updates, special events or acknowledgment in newsletters or on the organization's website, to show appreciation for their ongoing commitment. 

Regular communication and follow-up are also important. You should develop a set of donor email templates for easy communication, including a thank-you template, annual reminders, follow-ups for dropped payments and special communication for any crowdfunding campaigns your organization runs. Stay engaged with recurring donors through regular communication, updates and gratitude expressions to maintain their connection to the organization and encourage continued support. 


Implementing Recurring Donations with Vanco

Ready to get started with recurring donations? First, you need to choose the right donor management software. Choose a fundraising platform that works with a variety of payment solutions and has easy payment processing. Remember, the goal of recurring donations is to make monthly payments as easy as possible for both your church and your church members. 

Features of Vanco’s eGiving Platform

Vanco’s fundraising software makes it easy to accept monthly payments. Our giving platform includes a suite of easy-to-use features, including: 

  • Online giving pages 
  • A customizable mobile app for churches to make mobile giving easy 
  • Event ticketing 
  • Text-to-give 
  • Integrated in-stream online giving 
  • Credit card swipe reader compatibility 

These powerful features are intuitive and simple to use regardless of how your members choose to give. 

Integration with Church Management Software

At Vanco, we understand that integration with existing management systems is key for any donor management software. Our platform integrates with over 60 church management software providers to make your donation reconciliation more streamlined. 

Customization and Branding

Every church has its own mission and identity. Vanco makes it easy for you to personalize your giving pages and add links to your church’s website. You can even embed your giving page within your own website to create a cohesive donor experience. 

Security and Compliance

Your donors’ financial safety depends on their monthly payments being secure. How many times have you heard of a payment processing solution getting hacked and financial information being compromised? Vanco is a PCI Level 1 service provider, which means your church’s precious financial data is protected by the highest standard of security. 

Getting Started

Signing up with Vanco is easy – there’s no need for a long-term commitment. Once you sign up, one of our implementation specialists will guide you through the setup process. They will also help you with our proven launch plan, ensuring that your church gets off to a fast start. 


Success Stories

Monthly givers donate 440-percent more over their lifetimes than one-time donors, and Vanco has helped thousands of churches harness that powerful philanthropic drive for themselves. But you don’t have to take our word for it – you can see how real users compare us to other platforms in our Capterra reviews. 

Trinity Lutheran Church in Moline, IL, found that Vanco is very responsive to questions. Their administration appreciates the pre-made advertisement templates that Vanco provides and notes that even though the church’s congregation skews older, they have had a steady increase in recurring donors. Vanco allows members of all ages to set up recurring donations to support the causes they choose when they choose. For a more in-depth look, explore the Lexington Park UMC case study to see how Vanco’s online donation platform encourages recurring donations.  

Here's another one of Vanco's users talking about the big impact it had on her church.


Key Takeaways: The Future of Giving in Faith-Based Communities

Recurring giving is more than just receiving monthly payments. It’s a way to extend the donor life cycle and make it easy for your churchgoers to give money to the causes they support. Recurring donations create a reliable revenue stream. When coupled with special fundraising events like crowdfunding campaigns, recurring donations can help keep your ministry going for years to come.  

You don’t have to figure out how to run recurring donations on your own. Vanco can help you every step of the way, from getting started to payment processing. Make giving easier for your staff members and volunteers by integrating software for recurring giving into your donation options. 




What are the tax benefits of recurring donations for donors?

Recurring donations may offer tax benefits to donors because they can deduct their contributions from their taxable income if they itemize deductions, similar to one-time gifts. 

How can churches encourage donors to switch to recurring giving? 

Churches can encourage donors to switch to recurring giving by highlighting the impact of sustained support on their ministry, offering incentives like exclusive updates or recognition, and making the setup process easy and convenient. 

What is the difference between recurring donations and one-time gifts?

The main difference between recurring donations and one-time gifts is the frequency of contributions, with recurring donations occurring regularly at predetermined intervals, while one-time gifts are made as single, standalone contributions. 

How does Vanco protect donor information?

Vanco’s payment solutions protect donor information through secure encryption methods, compliance with industry-standard security protocols, and regular security audits to ensure data integrity and confidentiality. 

What support does Vanco offer for setting up a recurring donation system?

Vanco offers support for setting up a recurring donation system through personalized customer service, online resources and tutorials, customizable donation forms, and integration with various payment processing options to meet the needs of nonprofit organizations. 


Unlock the Secret to Successful Stewardship: An Unmissable Guide for Every Church Leader


The topic of money and giving money to the church can be tricky terrain for church leaders. Yet at its core, stewardship is about empowerment, community and growth. With this perspective, we've developed an eBook that reframes this delicate conversation into an empowering discourse. 

Our guide will… 

  1. Help you tap into your congregation’s natural desire to contribute. 
  2. Reveal eight fundamental rules of financial stewardship. 
  3. Showcase 11 untapped revenue sources that could catalyze your church's financial health.  
  4. Detail a foolproof blueprint of 17 key elements to design the perfect stewardship plan. 

Transform the way you approach stewardship and unleash the power of giving with our breakthrough eBook. 

Get the eBook


Related Posts

Related Posts