For many churches around the world, going digital has been an answer to prayer. Thanks to the internet, faith-based organizations are now able to reach more people than ever before. From the start of online broadcasting in the 2000s to the unprecedented last few years, congregations continue to adopt new technology to stay connected over the web. Since ministries rely on the generosity of their communities, online giving for churches is one of the most important tools today.
At any time of the year, leadership teams may choose to improve their church giving methods. If your church is completely new to online donations, the process can seem overwhelming. If your church already uses online giving but is dissatisfied, maybe you’re considering making a switch to a platform that better suits your needs.
Whichever phase of giving your church is in, we’re here to help you find solutions. The team at Kindrid has put together this guide on everything you need to know about online giving in 2022. If you’re ready to increase the generosity in your community, read on.
Table of Contents:
What is Online Giving for Churches?
Online giving is a way for people to give donations to religious or nonprofit organizations online. There are several ways people can give, from filling out a web form to tapping a button on a mobile app. Like any other online payment, there are options to automate funds and customize the financial details when submitting a donation.
Churches started using online giving platforms as soon as software became available in 2011-2013. Popularity grew as instant payment apps emerged, most notably PayPal and PushPay.
Now that people are online every day, the opportunities for online giving are endless. Churches aren’t stuck with clunky, underdeveloped options like they were only a decade ago. Today, there are endless options that put the latest and greatest technology in the hands of churchgoers.
Before we go over how to choose an online giving platform, let’s look at the many ways in which organizations can receive church donations online.
Giving on Church Websites
An online giving page allows givers to easily fill out a form and submit a donation directly on the church website. Navigating a custom web page is preferred by many internet users because it feels safer and more personable. The giver can rest assured their money is going directly to the church.
Another great thing about an online donation page for churches is that it can be customized to match a church’s brand. Whereas when using an outside payment method like PayPal, everyone’s limited to operating their fund transfers within PayPal’s app and website. It acts as a middleman which can raise various concerns for givers. But with a website giving page, churches can bypass these concerns.
Giving on Social Media
Everyone is connected online these days, especially in the form of social media. People have spent more time on social media apps over the last few years because of the pandemic. More than ever, social media is a growing community where people go to express themselves, keep up with world events, and share art and entertainment they find interesting.
It’s a powerful tool because every individual can tailor their social media feed to cater directly to their unique wants and lifestyle. Someone who values their faith may connect with many church communities online, and the opportunity to include themselves in ministries they believe in is influential.
Being active on social media is an engaging and beneficial part of any campaign strategy. It gives churches the opportunity to enter online spaces where faith-based content and outreach are rare but appreciated.
By allowing the option for followers to donate online through your social media accounts, you’re encouraging generosity by:
- Setting a good example that your church is open to contributions from all demographics.
- Providing an instant opportunity for followers to respond to any call to action you propose in your posts.
- Broadening the interest of new followers who feel called to give.
- Being transparent about your church’s donation requests.
With the help of a strong social media strategy, your church can reach larger audiences and encourage donations that improve your ministry throughout the year.
Giving via Tithing Apps
A church tithing app makes giving easy for everyone who attends a service. It also provides a way for givers to tithe responsibly from their mobile devices at church or elsewhere.
More ways to make giving easier than ever with mobile tithing apps:
- Set up a QR code on church pamphlets, bulletin handouts, or signs so that visitors can scan with their smartphones and instantly open the app download link.
- Allow givers to donate to specific ministries in your church, such as the children’s ministry, missions services, or community outreach fundraisers.
- Custom brand a full-featured giving app to represent your church’s messaging and vibe.
In addition to mobile tithing, cell phones make it possible for giving to happen outside of a designated app. Gifts can also be sent via text messages.
Giving by Text Message
You might be thinking: What do text messages have to do with online giving? A text-to-give option allows church attendees to give once, several times, or on an ongoing basis directly from their phones. It’s as easy as sending a text to a friend.
Some people don’t want to download more financial apps to their cell phones, even if they make donations to their church regularly. Others simply don’t donate often enough to rationalize downloading tithing app they’ll never use. In either case, making an alternative mobile giving option available through text is much appreciated in today’s fast-paced, technological world.
Church text giving is by far the easiest way for a congregation to give. It can be set up in less than a day, and people can start giving instantly.
Text message giving for churches works in three easy steps:
- Givers text a designated code word to their church’s giving phone number. This shortcode is a word that is short and easy to remember, such as “GIVE” or “OFFERING”.
- The church giving number replies with an automated response that includes a link to the online giving form. Givers fill it out, enter their donation amount, and hit Send.
- The donation is securely delivered to the church bank account, and the giver receives a Thank You text upon completion.
Another great thing about text giving is that a person can choose the option for the system to remember their information. The next time they want to give, all they have to do is text the same phone number with the amount they want to give (for example, 150). The text-giving system will automatically deliver their donation. No more filling out forms repeatedly in the middle of a church service!
Giving Through Kiosks
The more ways you provide for people to give both online and in-person, the easier it’ll be to see an increase in giving at your church. Kiosks grant visitors and church members physical options to give and stay plugged in throughout your campus.
Put simply, a kiosk is a computerized station that is accessible to anyone at your church location. Using the kiosk’s touch screen, visitors have the option to:
- Make donations.
- Sign up for events.
- Navigate a digital campus map.
- View available Bible studies in the area.
- Stay up-to-date on sermon series and event schedules.
- Read important church announcements.
- Connect with church staff.
- Type and send prayer requests to the leadership team.
- Discover meetings, such as support groups or singles’ meetups on campus.
- Order learning materials or religious merchandise.
- And much more.
There are many ways to use church kiosks aside from donations, although online giving is a major part of these handy tools. With the right platform, your church can set up its kiosks with unique preferences and formats.
While some churches have on-site kiosks that are large, ATM-like machines, there are also kiosk options that don’t require any heavy investment. Some churches start using kiosk giving by setting up their online giving platform on a handheld tablet or iPad and locating several of these kiosks throughout campus.
Church giving kiosks can be used in the lobby, worship center, childcare check-in station, or even the parking lot. Setting up a kiosk in a place where people frequently hang out and interact is a smart, strategic choice.
Benefits of Online Tithing
The benefits of online giving are endless. With the tools mentioned above, your church has the chance to set up an online giving and engagement platform that works to grow your church, even when there’s nothing going on on campus.
Every church aspires to encourage responsible, consistent tithing among its congregation. And yet, every church is different, which means you need to set up an online tithing solution that works for your community.
We’re here to equip your team with the action steps you can take to finally see a greater impact with church giving. Here are the benefits churches around the world are experiencing from investing in such powerful (and versatile) platforms.
Online Giving is 24 Hours Per Day
Before the late 90s and early 2000s when the internet became a household addition, people of faith had to wait until Sunday to donate to their church. If they happened to feel a nudge to spontaneously give a little extra to their church, they could mail cash or a check to the ministry, hoping it would be delivered safely. Sometimes, churches would receive donations over the phone if they had a way to input giver credit card numbers.
Thankfully, today we are far beyond snail mail and call centers when the urge for generosity sparks. Online giving methods now allow ministries to receive church donations online anytime, no matter where the giver is.
Think of the various circumstances when someone can now give to your church:
- Someone enjoys your church services out of town. Whether they live far away or are on vacation, with online giving, they can donate through your website without having to be physically present in the pews.
- A long-time member refers a friend to purchase an affordable online course from your church. The friend thoroughly enjoys the course and decides to express their gratitude with a one-time generous offering.
- An aspiring theology student wants to start tithing more. With his or her busy schedule, they decide to set up calculated weekly tithes for your church. That way, they can still practice spiritual discipline, even if they can’t attend in person every week.
- Someone forgets to bring cash. Sometimes people prefer to make cash tithes, but it can be easy to forget the trip to the bank before Sunday service. In this case, they can simply send a text or use the online mobile form to give their donation.
- It’s Christmas time and a family is staying home while sick. They can’t make it to church this holiday week, but they still watch the service together online. During the offering, Mom and Dad can give abundantly with gratitude for all the fellowship they enjoyed this past year.
Having a 24/7 church giving option empowers your community to give in ways that remain flexible with their life situations. It opens new doors to faith, growth, connection, and a stronger sense of collective generosity nom after what happens.
Multiple Ways to Receive Church Donations Online
Adding to the benefit of being open for donation 24 hours per day, online giving diversifies how people can give. One person’s preferred method of giving will look different from the next person’s. Putting more giving methods in the hands of your church members means less funding left out of your ministry.
Today’s ideal for online businesses looks like multiple income streams. In a similar way, your religious organization benefits from multiple streams of incoming donations. When the various methods are set up properly, the technology works for your ministry so your team doesn’t have to work as hard.
One question pastors and leaders have surrounding multiple donation methods is: How will our team track all of the donations in one place?
Church giving platforms were developed with this in mind. Not only is it essential to receive generosity in a variety of ways online today, but it’s also crucial that there's software that’s capable of tracking it all.
Church management software (ChMS) comes to the rescue for any church that’s looking to improve its giving, while simultaneously managing the accounting and administrative tasks that come along with it. Your team can view where donations come from, when the largest amounts of giving occur, and what circumstances influence changes in giving.
Online Tithing Tools Integrate with Church Management Software
Church management software is an all-inclusive set of tech tools that cater to the administrative demands on which churches operate. Everything from internal communications, church data reporting, email outreach, marketing campaigns, and more can be managed within a ChMS.
There are different types of church management software, and conveniently many of them integrate with the most widely used online giving platforms for churches. Not all churches require as robust a tech stack as advanced ChMS, meaning they can operate effectively off of a donation set up with basic features.
Other churches that are higher-scale and work a wider variety of systems rely on the solutions a ChMS provides.
The church management software market is expected to increase by $196 million between 2021-2025, according to a recent global industry report. “One of the major drivers for this market is the vendors offering low-cost, trial versions of church management software,” the report claims.
What this means is church management software companies are confident their tools will serve churches in all areas of growth. If your church currently uses its own management software or is eager to set one up, knowing which giving platforms integrate with the ChMS software can give your team a head start at ramping up a more efficient operation moving forward.
How do online tithing tools integrate with church management software?
Church donation platforms can connect with other software regularly used by churches. There is a long list of which integrations can run for different purposes. Some giving platforms include their own ChMS features. When looking to adopt a new platform, consider which of these features your team will rely on.
Congregations Carry Less Cash
In the same way that your church leaders need new tools to enhance their connection, your congregation also desires new digital methods to give and engage with your
church. Society is growing more and more cashless, which means online methods of exchanging funds are the answer for future growth.
We know that your church isn’t a vending machine (nor should it be!). Online giving lets people give discreetly, safely, and conveniently in ways they feel comfortable with.
If you don’t already have an online giving software up and running at your church, it’s a great time to get started. Serving your people and your ministry requires funding, and as cash becomes less common, worries of meeting large donations goals tend to rise. These worries don’t have to limit the generosity of your ministry, though— with online giving, greater impact is possible.
Reach More of Your Congregation with Online Tools
Some churches that are hesitant to use technology for something as sacred as tithes and offerings feel that installing a system focused on money isn’t godly. Respectfully, it makes sense that a church would want to remain focused on encouraging honorable, trustworthy methods of receiving donations from the congregation. But online giving can ignite greater transparency and community outreach in addition to the opportunity for people to give.
Online tithing platforms offer features that extend beyond financial giving. With an online giving platform, your church can reach more people by:
- Engaging in church-wide text messages with announcements and encouraging words.
- Allowing givers to track their donations with peace of mind.
- Connecting newcomers to what’s available at your church.
- Strengthening new believers to grow in their faith by maintaining a connection with them online.
- Educating your community with online resources that can be updated over time.
- Providing a way for people to automate their donations for organized personal finances that include biblical tithes.
Staying connected in an online world is one way churches today can adapt to changes outside of our control. By using the technology available, people of faith continue to honor God and the call to ministry wherever they go.
Types of Online Donation Platforms for Churches
With so many new money exchange apps being released every year, finding the type of online donation platform your church needs isn’t an easy task. Discovering a solution that exists to serve churches specifically can also be challenging.
Considering the features, cost, and software integration requirements your church can manage all play a huge role in deciding which type of platform to go with.
If you’re new to online giving or simply wanting to stay informed about the top competitors, here are some of the platforms most loved by churches today.
Instant Payment Apps
Mainstream online payment apps are used by many churches when starting out simply because they’re free to sign up and generally used by everyone. Venmo, CashApp, and PayPal are popular examples.
- These apps only require churches to eat the cost of transaction fees, instead of paying for monthly or yearly subscription plans.
- Payments are easy to access. People can give to your church using their personal accounts which they use for all types of other payments and purchases.
- Many organizations and nonprofits can effectively use payment apps when they know the rules and adhere to the service agreements.
- Generic payment apps feel impersonal and untrustworthy to some.
- There are zero options to integrate the software into a church management system.
- Setting up recurring giving is complicated, and sometimes impossible.
- Funds don’t transfer with the highest level of security.
As one of the oldest players in the game of online donations for churches, PushPay is still used by many larger churches today. The platform offers church management software integration and custom options with additional fees.
- Options to set up branded donation pages and mobile forms.
- Robust ChMS integrations for churches that use heavy amounts of software.
- Great reputation with both megachurches and smaller faith institutions.
- Extra features, such as event-form management and custom giving URLs, come at a high monthly cost.
- No free trial option.
- Setting up Text-to-Give requires a quote and monthly payment.
Tithe.ly is known for its sleek user interface and its well-established marketing to churches across the web. It offers all the most sought-after features of an online giving platform, with options to add on a church app.
- No contract commitments upon signup.
- Accessible donor/member portals allow givers to easily customize their payment preferences.
- Swift and thorough ChMS integrations with ample customer support.
- Text messaging giving requires additional monthly fees.
- Setting up a church mobile app is only available upon a $149 setup fee and a premium monthly plan.
easyTithe helps churches get started with online giving at little to no cost and helps church leaders strategically work toward their goals. With online payment tools and success coaching, it’s a company that proudly focuses on churches.
- Free demos with the option for free setup for qualified churches.
- Plenty of resources to help churches grow in addition to the online giving software.
- Affordable giving plans that include ChMS integration for technologically savvy churches.
- Transaction fees are higher than some of the other giving platforms.
- Churches are subject to a monthly fee with the Free plan if they don’t reach a $10 minimum in transaction fees.
Kindrid is another long-standing online donation platform for churches that welcomes small and established churches alike. Its software is designed to equip giving through 100% of church operation and the company offers plenty of educational resources that help churches grow.
- 30-day Free trial available and online demos.
- Free impact calculator tool that helps churches discover which plan they need.
- Widespread ChMS integration.
- Option to upgrade to a full-featured church app.
- Plenty of free resources that help churches and givers.
- No 24/7 customer support (9 am - 6 pm only).
- Unavoidable transaction fees vary between plans.
No matter which type of donation platform you’re thinking of switching to, read up on some online reviews and success stories to see how other churches utilize different platforms. This will help your team get a better comparison of different platforms and help you in your setup process.
What to Look for in a Church Giving Platform
The process of looking for an online church giving platform for your church is no quick feat. First, your church leadership team will want to consider:
- Transaction fees
- Customization options
- ChMS integration
- User reviews
- Donation capacity and scalability
- Financial tracking options
- Marketing integrations
- And more
Church giving platforms are created to provide a wholesome and satisfying product that always keeps the larger intention at top of mind. The very reason donation apps began developing online giving for churches was to allow faith organizations to enjoy modern tools without compromising integrity. The companies that create and offer church giving software are often made up of like-minded believers who understand what leaders and churchgoers want. This allows churches to rest assured that the technology they use is backed by visionaries who share Kingdom goals.
When scoping the landscape of online giving tools, here are some of the features to look for that will keep up with the demands of 2022 and beyond.
Multiple Ways to Pay
A well-rounded online giving system will come equipped with more than one way to donate. There are four main ways church-givers can make donations with giving
- Online forms
- Text messages
- Mobile app
- Giving kiosks
Whichever way someone decides to donate to their church, having more than one or two methods to pay is essential to getting the most out of online giving.
Some additional features can be added on to more advanced platforms. Read on to learn what these extras can do for your church.
Introducing new software to any community can require a learning curve. Setting up a new online giving platform shouldn’t make your church miserable. Look for a company that provides support with the setup and integration of their software.
Some giving platform setups are as easy as creating an account and downloading an app onto a smartphone or tablet. Others require a little bit more IT involvement, but shouldn’t be impossible to get up and running.
If there’s an existing church management software at your church, or if your database is larger than average, consult with the technological members of your staff. It will be wise to get their advice and include them in the selection and setup process.
Low or No Fees
One of the major pains of moving over to online giving is that in order to use these excellent services, it typically comes with a small cost.
Just like any other time you make a payment online, the payment processor may charge a fee whenever someone donates to your church by credit card or ACH bank transfer.
Different online giving companies have varying fees, but most of them average around 1-2% plus 35¢ per transaction.
Some platforms even offer zero transaction fees. This is rare but is still available for some churches that pay more for extensive service plans upfront. It all depends on the platform you choose and the plans they offer.
Recurring Donation Options
A lot of grateful givers enjoy the convenience of recurring donation options with online giving. Similar to automatic payments, individuals can set up their giving account to instantly pay a designated gift to the church on a recurring basis.
Recurring donations can be set up to clear weekly, monthly, seasonally, or whenever a person receives their paychecks. There are endless options for how and when someone chooses their donations to send.
Having this option available in the platform you choose is beneficial because overall, your church will see an increase in donations. Since people have the option to give to your church without forgetting to manually give, funds clear consistently and donation goals are more easily met.
Integrations with Church Software
Again, connecting the preferred online giving tools to an existing church software is a top priority for many ministries. Integrating the data from all church donations over time can drastically improve your church’s bookkeeping, reporting, and system analytics all year long.
When your team can get a full-scale view of giving patterns, it can be used to plan, enhance, and create relevant experiences in the future. Knowing the trends and learning from the past is a powerful way to deliver what your congregation needs. It’s also a way to set bigger goals to achieve in the future.
More than a church giving app, church software setups can help your team plan events, help solve member account issues, track CRM, maintain directories, and more.
The most important feature of any online payment system is security. People want to know their money is going where they believe it’s going to go— directly to your church, and not to an outside party.
A significant benefit of online giving for churches is the high level of security standards. Givers want to be reassured that their financial information is kept private. Using an online giving tool that never leaks or sells user data for any reason is something to be proud of.
To find this type of secure processing platform when doing your search, ask the company how they keep track of account information. Read up on their policies and Terms of Service to get a deeper understanding of their safety and security details.
For payment platforms, look for these signs that indicate adequate security:
- Is the credit card information stored using PCI Level 1 security standards?
- What fraud prevention safeguards are in place?
- Is user contact information safely stored as sensitive data?
- What are the refund and dispute policies?
Unlike many secular payment apps owned by large corporations, church giving platforms hold much responsibility in making sure their product is up to the highest standards.
Accessible Customer Service and Tech Support
Having access to the customer support you need whenever there may be an issue with the church online giving platform is critical to keeping everything running smoothly. Technology isn’t perfect. Sometimes your team may need to reach out for help, whether it be a simple problem or a concerning security issue.
Church donation platforms and ChMS providers tend to deliver exceptional tech support for the churches they serve. One of the perks of investing in an online platform is the availability of expert support that comes with the program you decide to use.
If your church staff lacks tech-savvy team members, make it a priority to go with a church giving platform that provides 24/7 help, or at least provides prompt human communication with a customer service team member. Getting all the help you need whenever there’s a hiccup in your church’s giving system is essential for maintaining steady funding.
Preparing Your Church to Reap the Benefits of Online Giving
There are benefits of online church giving that surpass the list explored above. How to actually reap these benefits is a matter of preparing your church team and congregation for new integrations at your church.
Here are 10 ways to make the most out of discovering an online giving platform that will benefit your church.
1. Evaluate long-term goals and present needs.
What is the grand vision for your church within the next 5-10 years? The best way to grow your ministry with the donations and funding it needs is to keep your eyes on greater Kingdom goals at heart.
Right now and going into the next year, what does your church need the most? It can be more large-sum donations, more frequent monthly gifts, or maybe smarter giving campaigns that propel new ways of giving to large projects.
Maybe you’re using an online giving software but it’s no longer helping your church grow in the ways it needs to. It’s okay to outgrow existing giving software. Moving forward, choose a platform that can handle the future growth of your ministry and equip your team to adapt along the way.
2. Be honest about your church audience.
Who does your church primarily serve? Consider the location, size, demographics, cultures, and ages that make up your congregation. Would it be wise to select an online giving platform that caters to a majority demographic? Or would it be better to go all-in on a more flexible, customized platform that leaves room for all types of givers? Again, the more possibilities you provide, the greater donations will improve.
Be honest about the lifestyles and priorities of your church members. Remember, different people prefer to give in different ways. There will always be those who would rather donate cash or check in person. You don’t have to reject traditional offering methods when making an upgrade to digital.
3. Observe past giving trends to see what must improve.
Crunch the donation numbers from the past year. What months fell short? Were there any surprises that blessed your church significantly? Is a specific ministry receiving a majority of the donations annually, or is there a balance already in place?
Perhaps there are seasonal trends in giving when you look at recent years. You can use this information as data to guide your campaign strategies, calendar, and giving platforms decisions for the upcoming year.
4. Spend plenty of time researching the right platform for your church.
Evaluating the past and present condition of your congregation’s giving patterns allows your staff to get a clearer picture of what features will most benefit your church.
When it comes to online giving, competing platforms typically offer similar features. What you’ll want to research more in-depth are things like pricing, functionality, user experience, integrations, and customer support.
When searching for a new online giving platform for your church, look at a comparison of platforms. Create a list of the top companies that interest your leadership team in relation to your established goals and needs.
5. Reach out to online giving companies for more information.
Once you’ve got a list of online giving platforms in progress, select the top 4-5 winners. Contact the companies to get more information on the level of support they offer, ask any questions you might have, and collect a better understanding of what it would be like to use their platform.
Questions you can ask include:
- Do you provide any training resources?
- What level of IT support should my church team have to operate this platform?
- What fees does your platform charge per transaction?
- What does the setup process look like?
- Is my church attendance size compatible with this online giving platform?
- Are there any free trials of demos to try before purchase?
- Is your platform tailored specifically to churches or do you work with other institutions?
Learn everything you can about the potential giving systems in your orbit, so you can take action and start testing some of them out in real life.
6. Plan demos and trial runs before launching a new platform church-wide.
If time allows, schedule demos or free trials with your top three platforms before you finalize a decision. This will give your church team a chance to get their hands on the features and backend software and start learning.
Getting your team on board is crucial for the successful adoption of a new online platform for your church. If you have a tech team, get them involved, too! Make sure everyone on staff can try the system before launching it across the entire congregation.
7. Decide on the best platform for your church.
Once you’ve seen and experienced the features of the online giving platforms on your list, choose the best one to start using. You don’t have to stick with any software forever, but it will save you a lot of time and frustration if you invest the time it takes to carefully choose an option that can grow with you for years to come.
8. Strategize a launch timeframe for the new giving system.
You’ve done your research. You contacted the preferred online giving company. You’ve tested the features. Now it’s time to plan a church-wide launch.
Launching the new giving system at your church will often take time and patience. It’s also a strategy of introducing the new changes to your congregation while not coming off as greedy or pushy. Even if there is a level of stress in your church’s donation status at this time, remember this is happening for a long-term impact.
Announce the upcoming changes to your congregation during the announcements. Some churches do this over a series of weeks, others over the course of months. Typically, at least one month of preparation (four weeks of announcement reminders) takes place to encourage widespread buy-in of the new platform.
9. Prepare for troubleshooting and updates.
Once the new platform is launched, there are likely to be glitches and some getting used to. Troubleshooting in the first several days or weeks is normal. Prepare ahead of time by having resources your congregation can access, whether on campus or online.
Make sure your leaders are trained on how to answer questions about the new software. Chances are, people will look to leaders and staff for help. To make things easier on everyone, creating an online resource page with Frequently Asked Questions will answer common questions about things like:
- Creating a profile.
- Where to download the mobile app.
- How to set up recurring giving online.
- Safety and security of online giving.
- How to set up text-to-give.
Launching the new platform isn’t all troubleshooting and confusion. One sure thing you’ll also experience upon the launch is many new generous donations from those who are excited about the new system at your church.
10. Grow with your new online giving platform.
Even though changes and updates are inevitable with any piece of crowd-used software, the results are worth it. Starting immediately your church will receive more donations, reach more people, and start to see the gratitude expressed in your community. Now it’s time to grow your ministry further, with the tools in place that will help your vision move forward in God’s hands.
How to Increase Online Giving for Your Church
For churches that have online giving already set up, whether it be relatively new or well established for many years, there’s always room to improve. As your church grows, so will donation goals. As bigger goals are achieved, an increase in online giving will be even more important to sustain such growth.
Increasing the number of donations your church receives is partly a journey of faith and partly a role of stewardship among your leadership and congregation. As believers, we are often trying to find a balance between relying on God for the provision and doing our part to work toward real-world achievements.
Church communities face this same need for balance. So, let’s discuss the ways that your church can increase its generosity with both God and goals at the core.
Thank Your Donors
Gratitude is contagious when it’s expressed genuinely. A huge mistake many pastors and faith leaders can make in today’s world is neglect communication with their generous givers.
Donation campaigns generally receive 126% more donations when leaders routinely update supporters on the progress. Thanking your congregation sustains a sense of appreciation for and significance among givers. Whether someone is new to giving or tithes regularly, feeling like they’re part of the higher cause is what leads them to give again.
Surprisingly, church leaders who share the positive effects of donations tend to see an increase in donations. Stories move people. When pastors share real experiences that were made possible thanks to online donations, these stories motivate more people into action.
Those who donate to their church do so with the belief that their contributions mean something. They want to know that their response to following a higher calling to give will result in a real, lasting impact. Thank you donors and remain transparent about donation results!
Tell Your Congregation About Church Finances
Transparency builds trust. People who attend church may have varying levels of trust in religious groups, so being transparent helps build relationships with your audience.
Money is another pain point for many individuals. Therefore, telling your congregation what is happening with church finances is another step toward solid trust among donors. You don’t have to reveal every detail of the church’s financial situation, but a general share now and then can be helpful.
If this idea seems iffy, here are some ideas of how to communicate about church funds:
- Share announcements when there’s destined to be significant renovations to the church campus (such as new pews, new worship screens, or a new field for kids to play on). Reassure attendees that they helped make these improvements possible with their generosity.
- Invite people to give testimonies about how the church has helped them spiritually. With the help of mentorship, teaching, and support, churchgoers experience life transformation. None of those people or resources would be available to them if the church didn’t exist.
- Reveal annual or seasonal milestones achieved thanks to donations. Using graphs, numbers, and other relevant visuals, sharing how much money the church raised as a whole can be extremely powerful for people to see.
- Make fundraising goal-driven with incentives or games, and announce the winners. In kids’ ministries especially, seeing which grade can raise the largest amount of funds or collect the most cans for a food drive is a common, fun competition. There’s nothing wrong with letting everyone play if they want to.
Keeping a light-hearted attitude about church finances takes the pressure off of your pastors and congregation members, so giving can become a natural part of the church. Being open and generous with church finance details can open new doors for faithful hearts to give more.
Church Crowdfunding and Online Fundraising
The concept of crowdfunding allows large funding projects to be achieved by accepting small sums of money from a large audience. While the most generous givers at church account for a decent portion of yearly donations, it’s the smaller fundraisers that can provide immediate impact when necessary.
When there’s a specific need, like a building repair or a church emergency, the community can come together to pitch in and reach a financial goal. In recent years, there has been a huge surge in the use of crowdfunding not only for churches but for everyday individuals and families. Non-profit organizations and religious communities have access to more fundraising options online thanks to crowdfunding, and when done properly, it works.
When there’s a goal tracker on a crowdfunding page, fundraiser campaigns get a 35% increase in giving results. Psychologically, people want to see charity attempts work out— especially in causes they care about.
This isn’t something to use all the time, but when there’s a dire need or a special situation, crowdfunding can compel people to give due to its sense of urgency. Typically, crowdfunding is used for situations like:
- Paying off impossible medical bills for someone who needs care.
- Coming up with funds to relieve the negative impact of a local disaster.
- Feeding the hungry.
- Empowering a child or family to access a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
- Funding missionaries overseas to share hope with communities who may be hopeless.
- Raising awareness and money for crisis care centers, such as domestic violence safety homes or anti-human trafficking organizations.
- Rallying a group to plan an event or a generous surprise for someone who has blessed the community.
With crowdfunding, your church not only comes together financially but spiritually and emotionally, too. It can be an opportunity to witness real-life impact in real-time, sparking new relationships and lasting memories.
Launch a Church Giving Email Campaign
Email campaigns are not new to churches. Church leaders communicate using all types of media, including email. Planning an email campaign for your church can encourage giving, attract new and returning guests, and even network your team to exciting new opportunities.
An email giving campaign is when a series of emails are sent out to a list (or various lists) of recipients from your church. Emails are sent in sequential order with the purpose of taking readers through a typical sales funnel.
For churches, a sales funnel isn’t the only goal of email campaigns. Email campaigns can update members on special events, deliver prayer requests, recap guests on recent sermons, and provide resources for deeper learning. All of these hold potential for welcoming generosity.
Need help creating ideas for church emails for your giving campaigns? Click here to grab your copy of “Free Email Templates for Churches”.
Leverage Social Media
Similar to email campaigns, social media is another engaging internet strategy to create endless opportunities that ignite giving. Not every email or social media post needs to include a direct call to action toward donations. Social media is a platform for your church to grow its following, inspire faith in others, and share what’s happening within your community.
Naturally, followers who feel called to give can easily do so when you include a link to your giving page or mobile app in your profile. Posting consistently on your feed and stories feature allows people who follow your account to remember your church while they’re scrolling social media for entertainment. Perhaps they haven’t contributed a donation in a while, and your posts spark their memory.
Social media is a helpful tool for being both passive and active in increasing your donations. Simple features like the “swipe up” button can give people the chance to give at times when they feel inspired.
FAQs: Online Giving for Churches
When people want to donate online to their church but are unfamiliar with the tools to do so, they turn to internet search. Staying up to date with the most frequently asked questions about church giving online can help you present solutions to your church community upfront.
Here are some FAQs to help your church and your givers.
What is the best way to tithe online?
Churchgoers tithe online using a church’s online giving provider. They can tithe or donate directly on the church website, through a mobile giving app, via secure text message, or at a digital kiosk on campus.
There is no “one best way” to tithe online. Depending on the giver, how often they wish to tithe, and how technologically savvy they are, different options may suit him or her better than others.
- Website Giving. If someone works at their desktop computer a lot, online giving is probably a preferred option. They can quickly navigate the church’s web page, sign up for a giver account, and set their donation preferences within minutes.
- Church Giving Apps. Another person who’s on the go a lot might prefer to give from their smartphone. Church online giving apps allow people to donate with the tap of an app icon and their easy auto-fill information they may already have set up.
- Text Message Giving. Others who don’t donate regularly might like text message giving because it’s the quickest way to send a donation using a cellphone.
Digital Kiosks. Church giving kiosks on-site are interactive machines that let guests scan their credit cards to give discreetly and fast.
How do people text tithes to a church?
When a church has Text-to-Give as part of their online giving platform, people can donate directly from their smartphones. By texting a 10-digit church phone number, givers can send the desired donation amount quickly and securely.
The 10-digit phone number is unique to the church’s online giving system. The church will also have a custom word or shortcode that initiates donating via text message. “GIVE” is a popular shortcode for text giving.
When someone texts the shortcode to the church phone number, an automated reply will send a link to the first-time mobile giving form. The giver will fill out the form with their name, payment information, billing address, and donation amount in dollars. When complete, the giver will hit “send” and the donation will immediately be processed to the church bank account.
Next time, if the same person wants to give with the same payment method as before, all they have to do is text “GIVE” + the dollar amount and hit Send. Their payment information is saved in the system from before, so it automatically sends the new donation directly from a text message.
Is a church donation considered “charity”?
Often, church donations can be claimed as charitable contributions in tax deductions. This includes tithes and offerings given to churches that are qualified with the IRS as religious organizations, but there are exceptions.
When filing taxes, you’ll need an itemized receipt of cash church donations if the amount you gave exceeds $300 (as of 2020). The IRS also limits combined charitable deductions to 60% of your adjusted gross income, meaning you can’t deduct more than that amount.
People who tithe regularly or in large amounts throughout the year must complete a standard 1040 Form with tithing information on Schedule A. Sometimes, other charitable contribution forms, such as Form 8283, might be required if tithes or gifts exceed a certain value (cash or non-cash).
It’s always highly advised that you talk with a financial advisor about any questions you have about charity deductions for your taxes.
Does online giving increase donations for churches?
2018 digital giving trends revealed that on average, churches that use online giving platforms see a 32% increase in yearly donations. Online giving allows churches to receive more tithes from more people throughout the year, which results in greater funding.
Within the next several years, new data is expected to show how churches grow their overall impact by shifting to the web. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, many religious gathering spaces had to adapt and switch to online platforms, including their methods for accepting donations. Going into 2022, big changes are projected to reveal even better tools designed specifically for ministries.
How does online church giving work?
Churches that use online giving allow their congregation to donate tithes and offerings securely over the internet. Through a church giving web page, mobile app, or text message, people can give generously to the church of their choice.
Online giving forms and mobile apps direct donors to fill out their payment and billing information followed by the amount they want to give. Using a safe and efficient payment processing software with bank-level security, donations transfer to the church’s bank account.
There are different types of online giving for churches. Depending on the church, there may be more or fewer ways to donate. No matter how simple or robust the platform is, online giving is an excellent alternative to cash or check donations now that many people rely on digital payments for a majority of their transactions.
Is online giving for churches safe and secure?
Most online giving platforms used by churches have high standards for safety and security. If you’re unsure about the financial security of online church donations, contact the church or learn more about the platform it uses.
Platforms that use Level 1 PCI-compliant security adhere to strict anti-fraud standards.
How can my church set up a new online giving platform?
Setting up an online giving platform for your church requires you to select a platform, prepare for setup, integrate the system with existing software, and launch the tools to your congregation.
If your church already uses some type of online giving, you’ll need to transfer any user data over the new platform. When setting up a new online giving platform for your church, it can be as easy as signing up for a plan and then creating a profile with your church banking information. Most online giving platforms are easy for givers to start using immediately.
Kindrid: Online Giving for Churches the Smart Way
Online giving unites the modern luxuries of technology with the foundational values of faith that churches strive to uphold. Beyond donations alone, Kindrid’s online giving platform provides ministries of all sizes with exceptional tools they need to stay connected with believers.
We know that churches today face unique challenges— many of which can be turned into blessings. With the internet and the availability of software designed to uplift faith-based organizations, giving remains an integral part of every congregation. No matter where or when someone wishes to express their generosity to their church, Kindrid makes it possible.
If your church is ready to heed to call to improve its giving toward a larger vision, Kindrid has one of the most affordable solutions to help your community. Try Kindrid today for free to empower everyone to give instantly going into 2022 toward a brighter future.