It is very common for churches to get an online giving tool and, like a new children’s toy, it becomes an unused item in the corner of the room that exists as a memory rather than a vital tool for generating resources to advance the kingdom of God in your community.
If your church can learn to use digital giving tools correctly, you will be empowered to optimize, improve, and increase the capacity and impact of your church’s ministry in your local community.
The legacy of your church depends on taking these tools seriously, because other churches in your area are taking them seriously and increasing their church giving.
Here we are going to survey common mistakes churches make when adopting church giving software and how to avoid them.
1. They do not launch their digital giving software.
At Tithe.ly, we have an entire department—our Customer Success department—devoted to helping pastors launch their giving tool in their church.
Announcing that digital giving options are available will merely prompt a marginal shift in how people give.
The purpose of digital giving software is much more expansive than this.
For example, by establishing an easy-to-use recurring gift for each member, the church becomes much less susceptible to the “summer slump” and other forms of financial volatility that are caused strictly by a reliance on donations made in-person.
When your church adopts a digital giving software, you should make a big deal out of it.
Here are some ideas to consider:
- Devote an entire Sunday service and post-service seminar to the church’s decision;
- Throw a party;
- Preach about generosity or tithing;
- Show people how to set up giving on their phones;
- Celebrate it; and
- Ask members to pray that God uses the tool to increase giving overall.
Help your church members to participate in the spiritual aspect of the implementation of a digital giving tool so that they can experience the true good that the tool can accomplish when taken seriously.
2. They do not talk about their digital giving software enough.
After your launch, do not stop talking about the digital giving platform.
Every time you talk about giving, whether preaching, teaching, or during your church's offering, you should mention how to give through your online giving tools.
3. They do not use a church app that accommodates digital giving.
Many digital giving software solutions do not offer a seamless integration with your church app.
Your church app should have the ability to stay engaged, watch a sermon series, take sermon notes, and most importantly, give just as easily as they might buy a cup of coffee with the Starbucks app.
The Tithe.ly Church App is one of the only products on the marketplace to offer this, and it is the only church app that updates its app technology constantly in order to keep your church resourced with cutting edge capabilities and features.
4. They do not preach on generosity enough
Many churches preach on generosity once or twice per year.
However, data has shown that churches that preach on giving more often raise more money.
Remember that generosity is not just about getting money for the church. It is about blessing your congregants with the opportunity to be blessed through giving.
When you preach on giving and make an appeal, you are giving every single person in attendance a way to be blessed.
5. They are scared of asking too much from their members.
It is easy to be insecure about making a large or frequent giving appeal, because the pastor or church leadership may feel insecure about their own worthfulness.
- Will people donate?
- Are we doing well enough?
- Are we over-burdening our wealthy donors?
- Is it reasonable for us to ask for more?
Remember that the church is not giving money to you. They are giving money to God. And if God has placed a grand vision on your church, then they are giving to that vision.
Show them the vision.
Get them excited about it.
Make your church’s vision and the passion of each member’s heart one and the same.
Then, making giving appeals will not be a matter of exchanging money between the laity and the clergy, but rather about a local collection of believers giving back to God what he has blessed them with.
6. Their growth goals are too small.
If your church’s growth goals are underwhelming (or non-existent), you may be timid about making a significant giving appeal.
This is understandable, but the solution is not to downsize your fundraising efforts to match your goals. The solution is to do deep visionary work with your church leadership team to cast a quest for legacy that simultaneously challenges your members to give in ways that require sacrifice and bless them with the opportunity to participate in God’s own vision for a scaled impact on your community that could last for centuries.
7. They use digital giving like a trinket—not a tenet.
Online giving is seen as insignificant by members when the church leadership treats it as insignificant.
When a church sees their online giving tool as a fancier form of a manual ACH deposit or physical cash/check, the church will treat it that way.
But if your church treats your digital giving tool as a way to achieve financial stability through recurring giving, a more agile way to collect spontaneous gifts, and a way for church members to self-select the segment or delegation of their gift with the tap of a button, then the church will treat your digital giving tool as a sophisticated means of developing a rich relationship with God through resourcing the life of the church’s ministries.
Over to you
The effectiveness of your church’s online giving tool will fall to the level of excitement you bring to the tool.
If you see it as the equivalent of a simple financial transfer tool such as PayPal, of course your church will treat it that way.
But if you see your digital giving tool as a means of bringing God’s resources to serve your community on a larger scale, removing many logistical barriers at the financial and operational levels, then your church can get excited about the potential for each member to cultivate a more rich and rewarding direct relationship with the good each dollar they give accomplishes for the sake of the church’s mission in the world.