Generosity

7 Ways to Optimize Your Church’s Online Giving Page to Boost Giving

Improving your online giving page is an easy way to encourage more support for your church. Check out these best practices to get started on yours today!

7 Ways to Optimize Your Church’s Online Giving Page to Boost Giving
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Your church already knows the importance of engaging its congregation to solicit support. Tithes and gifts are crucial to the sustainability of any religious organization, particularly ones that serves as community hubs like churches.

It can be challenging to integrate online giving and mobile giving and strategies into your giving process, but the effort is worth it!

When it’s easier for your entire congregation and community to support your church’s work in multiple ways, they’ll feel more motivated to do so.

That’s why optimizing your church’s online giving page is one of the best church fundraising ideas out there. Too many churches (of all sizes) neglect their online giving tools despite working hard to provide an informative website.

There are many best practices you can follow. Here are seven of the most important and actionable ways you can improve your church’s online giving page:

  1. Direct traffic to a single point for online giving
  2. Incorporate matching gift tools on your ways to give page
  3. Learn more about your online supporters
  4. Focus on a simple design for mobile use
  5. Feature useful social media tools for supporters
  6. Integrate your giving page with your database
  7. Offer recurring gift options on your donation page

Digital tools represent a significant opportunity for churches to engage broader sections of their communities and receive more support than ever in the process. However, this must begin with making sure your tools are working and looking their best!

#1. Direct traffic to a single point for online giving

You might already provide multiple ways for congregants to support your church, including an online giving page, crowdfunding campaigns, or text in church tools.

It’s essential, however, to ensure that your digital giving outlets are as unified as possible. That is, you should direct people who see your posts on social media or visitors to your church’s website to the same giving page.

Having too many separate, ongoing digital giving outlets can become confusing for supporters and overwhelming for your team.

There are many benefits to directing your congregation to a single giving page, including:

  • Streamlined marketing and promotional processes
  • Clearer web traffic flows to your site and donation page
  • Ability to more accurately track giving and marketing data
  • Prevents confusion for potential givers on your website

Creating a clear link structure between your web pages, social media posts, online campaigns, and email newsletters to a single giving page is an effective (and easy) way to boost its overall utility!

#2. Incorporate matching gift tools on your ways to give page

Corporate philanthropy represents a major missed opportunity for all kinds of nonprofit organizations. With matching gifts, companies will financially match their employees’ contributions to eligible nonprofits.

While policies vary regarding churches and religious organizations, it’s definitely worth exploring, particularly for any other community-based organizations that your church participates in. Check out this article from Snowball Fundraising for more context about the kinds of tools you can use to identify corporate philanthropy opportunities.

Promoting matching gifts is the key to receiving them!

Many congregants don’t realize that they’re even eligible, so be sure to include database search tools wherever possible, like on your giving form.

Promote matching gifts and matching gift search tools anywhere that your web visitors might see them, including:

  • Your giving page
  • Your ways to give page
  • Newsletters and email campaigns
  • Social media posts
  • Gift receipt emails

Definitely promote matching gifts on your giving page if your church helps run or is involved with other nonprofit organizations in the community. While churches aren’t eligible for some corporate programs, faith-based schools and community organizations typically are.

#3. Learn more about your online supporters

While many businesses and nonprofits race to capitalize on the immense value of data as an important resource, your church has one major advantage -- it’s a church. It has a more meaningful and trusting relationship with its members.

Your congregation will happily provide you with the important information and data you can use to make continually smarter fundraising decisions!

On your giving page, consider including an optional field on your giving form  that asks for your congregants’ employment information. This simple act has the potential to provide your church with a huge boost in collections!

Corporate philanthropy programs, like matching gifts and volunteer grants, offer great opportunities for all kinds of nonprofits. Requesting and collecting your congregation’s employment information can be extremely useful, since you can use this data to:

  • Research corporate philanthropy funds and your eligibility
  • Develop personal relationships with local business leaders
  • Guide your marketing and event planning
  • Identify opportunities for community support initiatives

While it’s a best practice to offer matching gift search tools in your online giving process, directly collecting this information from your loyal congregants is an easy and foolproof way to identify new opportunities more generally.

#4. Focus on simple design for mobile use

Mobile optimization is an essential element for any digital engagement today! The amount of web traffic on mobile devices continues to grow every day. Without a giving form that looks good and actually works on the smaller screens and lightweight browsers of smartphones, your congregants might feel frustrated and give up.

Even if your church offers text-to-give tools, it’s important to provide multiple digital collection plate alternatives. This way, congregants can make digital gifts during services, which opens up giving to people who don’t carry cash. Some might prefer not to use a text-to-give method , so make sure the process is easy and fast no matter how they choose to give.

There are some core guidelines for ensuring mobile functionality of online giving pages, such as:

  • Remove all unnecessary design elements
  • Reduce the number of fields to complete
  • Provide a couple of straightforward options
  • Offer some preset gift amounts
  • Brand the page to your church

A clunky website and giving form is the fastest way to make a congregant change their mind.Abandonment, frustration, and confusion are all reasons that online givers stop mid-gift, so make some smart design choices to keep things simple and working great on screens of all sizes.

#5. Feature useful social media tools for supporters

Your church already knows that an active social media presence is a crucial element of growing your online audience. The more people see your posts, the more likely they are to join your congregation, attend your events, and support your work.

Include tools on your giving page for congregants to share a message on social media after completing a gift.

Linking your collections page and social media activity can be one way to boost your congregation’s social media engagement with your church, but the effects of any best practices will amplify the others. For example, here’s how you might break down your overall social media strategies:

  • Post thank-you messages and directly tag givers to make them feel appreciated
  • Let congregants post preset gift confirmation messages
  • Post weekly updates and links to other content
  • Conduct a special online campaign, like crowdfunding a project or designing custom t-shirts, and promote it on social media
  • Study your congregation’s engagement rates with your social media posts
  • Understand the broader community and post content that engages them, too

Social media is an incredibly useful tool for engaging your congregation and community. By fully incorporating social media tools into your giving or thank-you page, you can fit your online giving process into your wider social media strategies, boosting the effectiveness of both.

Related: How to Create Your Church’s Social Media Strategy in Minutes

#6. Integrate your giving page with your database

The best way to invest in your ability to actually use your data is to ensure that your giving page or collections platform integrates with your database software.

This means that the data collected for each online gift, like the congregant’s name, employment information, the date of the gift, and the gift amount, should all automatically report to your database.

Gathering this info can dramatically boost the usefulness of your optimized giving page for several reasons:

  • Automatic reporting and organization of giver data, which saves you time
  • Easier ways to identify important trends, like drops or bumps in collections
  • Access to information that can greatly help with planning major events

For instance, if you’re planning a fundraising event, it might be useful to identify congregants who have made an online gift in the past but not for several months. Use event management software to build and prioritize lists, integrate your data, and automate invitations.

#7. Offer recurring gift options on your giving page

Providing recurring giving on your giving page is among the easiest and most effective ways to boost your online collections.

Plus, offering your congregants the option to easily provide structured support for your church without needing to manually make a gift every week or month can go a long way to deepen your relationships with them.

Choose the best ways to offer recurring gift tools on your giving page, and be sure to include some essential features:

  • Weekly and monthly gift options
  • Easy ways to change and cancel recurring gifts
  • A simple checkbox or button featured on your giving page

Then, promote recurring gifts to your church by directly asking for them during your services or promoting them on social media. Most importantly, optimize your giving page to make the decision to provide recurring support easy, simple, and fast for your congregants.

Over to you

Your congregation offers tithes during your church services, as cash, check, or text-to-tithe gifts. Make sure all your web visitors have easy ways to support your work, too.

Follow these best practices for optimizing your church’s online giving page and see your digital collections steadily grow.

Editor's Note: This is a guest post by Adam Weinger. Adam is the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of tools to nonprofits to help them raise more money from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs. Connect with Adam via email or on LinkedIn.

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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7 Ways to Optimize Your Church’s Online Giving Page to Boost Giving