Church Giving During COVID: Reasons for Optimism
God’s people are still giving, churches are learning from this pandemic, and God is still faithful.
October 26, 2020
Church giving and 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. Makes you wonder why smaller churches aren't great at online fundraising?
What’s the takeaway?
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.
Looking for ways to increase online fundraising?
Ready to dig into each of the nine tips for increasing online giving?
Merely providing ways for people to give online or with their mobile device is not enough to get results and certainly doesn't mean you've thought through an effective online fundraising strategy. 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:
Again, your promotions and online fundraising efforts don’t have to be flashy, but informative and educational. Just letting people know the different ways they can give works well for many churches.
To help increase 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. It will also go a long way in driving quick adoption by your congregation and get them comfortable with making online donations.
For this online fundraising strategy to work, consider asking people to give a small amount, say $5. Then give the money you collect to a specific cause in your community that your church supports.
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 pointing to your donation page on your church’s website. Many churches find it helpful to add a clickable “Give Now” button in the primary navigation bar of their church’s website pointing directly to their donation form.
Here’s an eye-catching example of an online giving button from Third Coast Church:
Here’s another example from The Rock Church and how they've built their donation page:
Regardless of where you put a donate button leading to your giving form, make sure you highlight it in some way to draw people’s attention to it so they can find their way to your donation page. This is mission critical for any effective online fundraising strategy.
When it comes to increasing 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. Post 2020 it will likely be much higher.
Not only are people visiting your church’s website from their mobile phone, but they’re also inclined to make an online donation via your church donation page 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%. That should make it pretty clear that your online fundraising strategy should have a heavy dose of mobile in it.
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?!
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 donations.
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 and increase online donations. 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.
Monthly and weekly giving is an essential part of your church’s budget. It's also one of the key ways to increase online donations. 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 from your donation form give more frequently and more dollars 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.
To increase online donations, 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.
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:
Your church’s website serves many purposes, one of which is helping your congregation to become generous givers in Christ. It's a key element of any online fundraising strategy.
Now that you've got traffic and a great giving button on your church website, it's time to optimize the actual donation page + donation form people visit when giving. Check out how Refuge Church does it (see image below)! A great page like this will go a long way towards increasing online giving.
There are a few key elements of an effective online giving page.
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.
It’s easy to forget to say “thank you” after someone gives online from your church online donation form. Expressing your appreciation, even if it’s an automated message, goes a long way to encourage your donors and should be an essential part of your strategy when looking for ways to increase online fundraising.
Here are several ways you can say thanks online:
To this list, there are other ways you can express your appreciation:
There are more ways you can say thanks, but this list will get you started.
These tips are powerful and will 100% increase your online fundraising efforts, but they're only scratching 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!