Generosity

9 Proven Strategies to Increase Online Giving In Your Church

Here are eight tips to help you increase online giving in your church.

9 Proven Strategies to Increase Online Giving In Your Church
by

Donating online is becoming the new normal.

Many churches are attempting to provide their congregation with the ability to give online, and some churches, in particular, larger churches, experience success. However, according to a recent church online giving study by Dunham+Company, most smaller churches observed a decrease in online donations.

What’s the takeaway?

Simple.

Increasing your online giving requires more than just making it available on your church website. Adding a donation form or a give now button isn't enough. You have to promote online giving and help the people in your church give online.  

Here are nine tips to help you increase online giving in your church.

#1. Promote online giving

Merely providing ways for people to give online or with their mobile device is not enough. You have to promote the options people can use to give consistently.

To promote online giving, you don’t have to coordinate a big campaign to get people's attention. The only thing you have to do is to let people know that online giving is available regularly.

There are many ways you can promote online giving, but it all depends on how your church goes about creating awareness for something:

  • Announcements during your worship service
  • Mention online giving during the offering
  • Inclusion in your bulletin
  • Promotions in your newsletter, emails, or social media
  • Posters in your foyer
  • Flyers on your informational table

Again, your promotions don’t have to be flashy, but informative. Just letting people know the different ways they can give works well for many churches.

#2. Take a one-time offering during your worship service

To help promote online giving in your church, you can take a one-time offering during your service and encourage people to use their mobile phone to donate.

This tactic will not be relevant for everyone in your church, but it will help people who own a smartphone to take one step toward giving online if they’re not already.

For this tactic, you can consider asking people to give a small amount, say $5, and then give the money you collect toward a specific cause in your community.

#3. Include an giving button on your church’s website

Your church website has hundreds or thousands of visitors every month. Many of these visitors are probably members of your church or people who are interested in supporting your ministry.

Be sure to include a button on your church’s website that promotes your giving page. Many churches find it helpful to add a clickable “Give Now” button in the primary navigation bar of their church’s website.

Here’s an eye-catching example of an online giving button from Third Coast Church:

Here’s another example from The Rock Church to consider for inspiration:

Regardless of where you put a button leading to your giving form, make sure you highlight it in some way to draw people’s attention to it.

#4. Make giving mobile-friendly

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 on 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 from Freedom Church:

As more and more people in the United States become owners of smartphones, and 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 want to donate with their mobile phone ... so why not give them a free mobile giving app to use when giving to your church?!

#5. Use consistent branding

Branding can be somewhat of a taboo topic to discuss in the church. When it comes to talking about giving, branding actually plays an integral part in increasing online giving.

Including your church’s branding on your donation form will instill a sense of trust and confidence in your online visitors, which will compel them to give more. For example, check out how Central church in Canada keeps people on their website while giving and uses their branding!

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.

If you’re reticent to include your church’s branding on your giving page, it’s time to get over this internal struggle. You can inspire more people to give online by simply adding your church’s branding.

#6. Offer recurring giving

Monthly giving is an essential part of your church’s budget.

Whether people in your congregation use cash or checks to donate monthly, or if they’re set up on automatic payments with their debit or credit card, regular monthly contributions lay a solid foundation for your budget.

On average, people who make recurring donations online give more frequently and more per year. Leading the members of your church to automate their giving online will help you to create a steady and predictable source of donations for your church.

Related: 6 Reasons Your Church Should Regularly Promote Automated Recurring Giving

To increase online giving, encourage the people in your church who regularly give with cash or check to set up recurring giving online.

At Tithe.ly, we understand the importance of recurring givers, so we made it super simple for people to set up recurring giving with a few clicks.  

#7. Increase traffic to your church website

In general, if more people visit your website—especially your giving page—you will experience an increase in your online giving.

To promote your church’s website, you can:

  • Mention it during your worship services
  • Include it in your bulletin
  • Promote it on social media
  • Optimize your church SEO

Your church’s website serves several purposes, one of which is helping your congregation to become generous givers in Christ.

#8 Optimize your giving page

Now that you've got traffic and a great giving button on your church website, it's time to optimze the actual donation page people visit when giving. Check out how Refuge Church does it (see image below)!

There are a few key elements of an effective online giving page.

  1. First, think about the title you use. Be sure it clearly communicates what you want people to "fee" and think about when visiting.
  2. Second, list the ways people can give in a simple to follow and understand way.
  3. Third, make sure it's visually tidy and plesant to look at.

Be sure to take all these things into consideration when creating your church online giving page. Or just copy what Refuge Church did :) ... I don't think they'll mind.

#9. Say, “Thanks!”

It’s easy to forget to say “thank you” after someone gives online. Expressing your appreciation, even if it’s an automated message, goes a long way to encourage your donors.

Here are several ways you can say thanks online:

  • ​Include a “thank you” confirmation page
  • Send a “thank you” email
  • Send a “thank you” text to people who give by text

To this list, there are other ways you can express your appreciation:

  • Mention online givers during your offering
  • Celebrate recent online donations
  • Share stories on how donations are being used in your church
  • Write a personal note to people who give online

There are more ways you can say thanks, but this list will get you started.

Your turn

These tips just scratch the surface when it comes to increasing online giving in your church. There are many other ways you can build a generous church culture and boost your online giving.

How has your church increased online giving? What did you find helpful? Share your experience in the comments below!

Why Write Church Donation Letters?

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:

  • Acknowledging that you received a donation
  • Thanking the giver for being generous with their finances
  • Sharing other ways the person can support your church
  • Allowing the donor to write the gift off on their taxes
  • Encouraging supporters to make recurring donations
  • Requesting future donations from church members

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.

Church Donation Letter Samples

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.

1. Donation Acknowledgment Letter

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]!
Sincerely,
[your name]

2. Donation Request Letter

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.
Sincerely,
[your name]

3. Monthly Giving Letter

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.
Sincerely,
[your name]

4. Year-End Giving Letter

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.
Sincerely,
[your name]  

5. Church Fundraising Letter

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.
Sincerely,
[your name]

Tips when writing church donation letters

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:

  • Examples: Add specific examples of how your church will use the donation. Tell a story about the work your church is doing in the community and connect that with giving.
  • Personalization: For regular donors, don’t be afraid to add a short, handwritten personal note. This shows that you’ve singled them out with praise.
  • Timeliness: Sending donation letters quickly reminds people you’re thankful for them. But this also takes organization and efficiency. All the more reason to use pre-written templates.
  • Storytelling: Everything is better with stories—including donation letters. Weave in a specific narrative of how your church is making a difference and how the money will be used.

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.

What’s next?

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?

  • Customize these letters: Take the samples above and make them work for your church. Personalize the content. Remove the stuff that doesn’t sound genuine and add in stuff that does. Remember that these are just a starting point.
  • Create some systems: Develop processes that make it easy for you to replicate sending donation letters. Use a letter template that allows you to drop in names and details. Then develop guidelines for when these letters will be sent out.
  • Empower a champion: Find out who is going to be responsible for making these letters happen. Rather than thinking of this as adding more work to their plate, think about how you can elevate their work. This could be a staff member, or a volunteer.
  • Start sending: All of this will be for nothing if you don’t actually send out the letters. Take the time to get it right and get them into the hands of your church donors.

And if you’re looking for ways to grow your church’s giving capacity, Tithely can help.

We provide several different ways your church members can support your church financially—from online giving, text to give solutions, and giving kiosks.

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.

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9 Proven Strategies to Increase Online Giving In Your Church