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November 12, 2019
The most significant change taking place in church giving is donating online. See how 15 churches have increased their church giving online.
March 14, 2019
The most significant change taking place in church giving is donating online.
According to research, every year, more and more people prefer to donate their tithes and offerings online. Whether it’s donating to their church via online giving, text giving, or mobile giving, church online giving is the new normal.
As a church leader, how you respond to these changes will determine if your church giving will grow like 12-year-old Lebron James or rust out like an old junkyard card.
Do you want your church giving to increase with an optimized online giving page? Or do you prefer to stall and eventually make church budget cuts?
Let’s agree to enhance your church’s online giving, cool?
In this post, I’d like to share with you four proven strategies you can use to increase online giving in your church, and show you a few examples of how some churches added online giving to their website.
Let’s get started!
Observing bees can teach you a lot about increasing church giving online.
For full disclosure, I’m not a bee farmer.
But here’s what I know:
If you want to attract a swarm of bees, you have to use honey to attract them.
Obviously, this process is a bit more nuanced than what I’m leading on to believe, and you’re probably thinking, What does attracting bees have to do with online giving?
To increase online church giving, you have to provide and promote online giving.
You don’t have to be fancy or overtly creative to increase church online giving.
Simply promoting what you have to offer (honey) will attract the people in your church who prefer to donate online or with their mobile device.
To help you get started, here are four proven strategies you can use:
Let’s take a look at these in detail.
Your church website receives hundreds or thousands of visitors every month.
Many of the people who visit your website are church members or people interested in supporting your ministry. Based on research, many of these people will be inclined to give to your church. In fact, we found that most giving actually takes place Monday through Saturday—not on Sundays.
Know how people give throughout the week?
Most of them make a donation online or with their mobile device.
Make it easy for people to donate to your church during the week by including a giving button on your church’s website. Many churches find it helpful to add a clickable “Give Now” button in the primary navigation bar of their website.
For examples, be sure to scroll below to see how many churches include an eye-catching giving button on their website.
Regardless of where you add a button to promote giving, be sure to highlight it in some way to create awareness.
When it comes to online giving, you may be missing out on one-half of your opportunities.
As of 2017, more than half (51%) of global Internet traffic originated from a mobile device. Depending upon the demographics of your church, the number of people visiting your website from a mobile device may be higher or lower.
Not only are people visiting your church’s website from their mobile phone, but they’re also inclined to donate with their phone.
Mobile giving continues to increase year-over-year, and, according to The Millennial Impact Report, the number of millennials who want to give online is 84%.
With Tithe.ly, you’ll get a simple, clean, and mobile-friendly giving form.
Check out this example:
As the trend of online shopping, banking, and giving continues to climb, it won’t be long until most of the people in your church will to donate with their mobile phone... so why not give them a free mobile giving app to use when giving to your church?
Branding can be somewhat of a taboo topic in the church.
But when it comes to talking about online giving, branding actually plays an important part.
Including elements of church’s branding on your giving form will—such as your logo and similar colors—will instill a sense of confidence in your online visitors. By making your giving form look similar to your church’s website, people will feel more comfortably making a donation.
Don’t believe me?
Check this out.
According to a study by Network for Good, they discovered that generic giving pages performed 66.7% lower than branded giving pages. What is more, Network for Good also observed a 38% increase in the average gifts made through branded giving pages.
Here’s the deal:
When people click on your page to make a donation, instead of leading them to a different site or third-party application, it’s best to keep them on your church’s website to increase the number of donations you receive.
Here’s an example of how you can create consistent branding:
Does your online giving form lead people to a different site or look different from your church’s site?
Switch to Tithe.ly.
Make your giving form look similar to your church’s site.
Then watch the number of people who visit your giving page and donate increase.
Not every giving form is created equal
There are practical things you can do to make it more compelling for people to donate.
Here are some best practices to keep in mind:
Think about the title you use on your giving page.
Be sure it clearly communicates what you want people to see and think.
You don’t have to be clever to encourage people to give.
Just letting people know how they can donate makes a big difference.
On your page, be sure to let everyone know how they can donate.
There are some great examples below on different ways you can do this.
This is a great example of telling and showing your church members how to give.
Don’t make your giving page cluttered.
Focus on your main point (what’s called a call to action).
Keep things simple, clean, and pleasant to look at.
For more ways on how you can increase church giving, check out 9 Proven Strategies to Increase Online Giving in Your Church.
Below are 15 churches who’ve added online giving forms to their church’s site using Tithe.ly—one of the best online giving tools for small churches and large churches.
When you take a look at the examples below, keep in mind the five best practices we just shared above. See how these churches clearly added a giving button, told a compelling story, or use consistent branding.
There are countless ways you can add online giving with Tithe.ly to your church's website.
At a minimum, be sure you:
Remember, your giving page doesn't need to be flashy or complicated—just effective.
A Tithe.ly, we make online giving easy (and beautiful) and you can be up and running for free in the matter of minutes.
In a previous blog post, I shared the different ways your church can thank donors—from automated emails to year-end giving reports. Printed donation letters also play an essential role in your church’s stewardship efforts.
Donation letters are the Swiss Army knife of your church’s gratitude arsenal. It may not be the most powerful—but it’s versatile, handy, and gets used often.
Your basic church donation letter can serve many different purposes, including:
A single, well-crafted donation letter can pull together several of these things simultaneously. Better donation letters lead to more giving, which leads to more donation letters—thus creating a cycle of on-going church generosity.
Here’s the good news—you don’t have to write an individualized letter for every person who gives to your church. That would be tough to do for even smaller churches. And most donors don’t expect you to. They’d rather you be putting their gift to better use in the community, instead of ceaselessly writing thank you notes.
With the possible exception of some unique circumstances, your church can use template language for the majority of your church donation letters. You’ll have to add in custom details like the donor’s name and gift amount, but you can write everything else in advance.
To make this even easier on you, here are a few basic church donation letter templates you can copy and paste. Keep in mind that not all of these have to be in print—you could just as easily turn some of these samples into email appeals.
The Donation Acknowledgement Letter is a basic way you can confirm and affirm a monetary gift to your church. Sending these is standard practice in church and nonprofit culture.
Dear [first name],
I want to personally thank you for your donation of [gift amount] to [church name]. We’re honored you would bless us with your generosity. Donations like yours make a big difference in the work our church is doing in the community.
Without givers like you, our church can’t have an impact or influence in our community. With your support, we’re partnering with local nonprofits, sending out global mission trips, and hosting small groups on topics that help real people like you. Together, we can make a difference.
Because we’re a tax-exempt nonprofit, you also get to write this donation off on your taxes. This letter serves as official proof of your donation, so keep it in your records come tax season. At the end of the year, we’ll also send you an annual recap with how much you’ve given to the church.
Thank you for supporting [church name]!
Not every church member realizes the importance of giving, or understand Bible verses about tithing and giving. So a Donation Request Letter helps to spread that awareness and encourage a spirit of generosity.
Dear [first name],
How are the finances in your household? That was a rhetorical question, so you don’t have to answer—besides, this is a letter so we wouldn’t hear you anyway. But we still want you to think about that question.
Money is a uniquely human issue, one we all struggle with to one degree or another. Even if you’re financially blessed, you still have the burden of stewarding your money wisely. And we believe that one of the best ways to invest your money is into the local church.
Tithing (giving 10% of your income) on a regular basis not only supports the work we do at [church name]. It doesn’t just support local missions and community growth. It also shows an obedience to God by making his work a financial priority in your life.
So if you find yourself ready to put God first in both your heart and your wallet, we encourage you to make a one-time gift or sign up to make recurring donations. That way, you won’t have to ever wonder again about the financial status of your household.
Many church donations aren’t just one-time gifts. Plenty of givers contribute monthly—and that should be acknowledged.
Use this template to correspond with recurring givers.
Dear [first name],
Thank you for being an active and faithful member of our church community. By giving to our church on a monthly basis, you’re showing that our church has a meaningful place in your heart. We just wanted to write this to let you know that you’re in our heart, too.
Donating to the church monthly allows us to preach the gospel, make disciples, and support others in our community who need help. Others like the local food bank and the nearby homeless shelter. We’re answering the cry of the needy, and it’s all thanks to contributors like you.
We earnestly appreciate your ongoing support and want to let you know we’re here for you. If there’s ever anything we can do for you and your family, don’t hesitate to reach out. You are a valued member of our church family. And you’re financial support is making a difference.
At the end of each year, it’s customary to give your church supporters a summary of their gifts. The primary reason is for tax purposes, but it’s also a way to recap everything your church has done over the past year with their support.
Dear [first name],
You’re getting this letter because you gave to [church name] at some point during the past year. That might have been a one-time gift, or recurring donations. Either way, we want to thank you for your generous support. Every contribution helps.
One of the official reasons for this letter is for tax purposes. That’s right—you get to write these donations off on your taxes. Which is why we’ve included a summary of all the contributions you’ve made to our church this year.
But the other reason for this letter is to let you know what we’ve done with the money you gave. We take stewardship very seriously, which means we value spending our time and resources wisely.
During the year, our church supported local nonprofits, sent global missions teams, and baptised quite a few people. It was a great year for us—thanks in large part to donors like you.
So thank you for your support of our church, and we hope you’ll consider continuing to contribute to our mission in the coming year.
Sometimes you need to make a more significant financial push using tried and true church fundraising ideas. Some churches call this a Stewardship Campaign or a Church Capital Campaign. Either way, the goal is to raise a certain amount of money for a big project. And typically, a solid letter of appeal is an integral part of that.
Dear [first name],
God has a plan for everyone and everything. That includes you, and it includes [church name]. None of us can fully know God’s plan—the best we can do is pray and listen for clarity. Our church leadership has been doing just that and are excited to announce our latest church project.
[Detail the outline of the major church project—this could include a building campaign, or raising support for a global mission trip. Anything specific to your church that requires a fundraising letter. Be sure to include a fundraising goal so everyone knows what you’re shooting for.]
But we can’t pull this off without your support. Whether you give to the church on a regular basis, or just attend on occasion, we’re asking you to consider contributing to this massive undertaking prayerfully. It’s something we need our entire church community’s help with.
Even if you can’t make a large gift, know that every little bit helps. It’s more about coming together as a community united behind a common cause. We hope that you’ll consider making a donation towards this great step forward that we’re making together.
It’s not enough to just copy and paste this content and send away. The key to an effective church donation letter is a touch of personalization. Follow these tips to take your donation letters to the next level:
There’s no one right or wrong way to write a donation letter or request contributions. You’ve got to do what is right for your church and congregation. But if you stick to these general tips, you’ll probably start to see some traction when it comes to giving.
Most people don’t love talking about money in church. But it’s a necessary and vital part of your church. And maximizing your efforts when it comes to donation letters will help make those conversations more comfortable. So what do you do next to put this into effect?
And if you’re looking for ways to grow your church’s giving capacity, Tithely can help.
Tithely’s systems make it as easy as possible for people to give to your church. Now all you need to start doing is generating a culture of gratitude. There’s nothing standing in your way. Go unleash generosity in your church.
How does your church use donation letters to spread generosity? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Editor's Note: This is a guest post from Robert Carnes. Robert is a writer and storyteller. He's the author of The Original Storyteller: Become a Better Storyteller in 30 Days. A former church communicator and nonprofit marketer, Robert works as a managing editor for Orange in Atlanta.