By Todd McMichen
As churches of all sizes are going virtual, digital giving is becoming a must-have. However, simply having online giving may not be enough to facilitate faithful giving.
It’s critical that church leaders think like givers by creating an experience that is easy and rewarding for the giver—particularly during seasons like our current season of coronavirus social distancing, when the operational sustainability is dependent on faithful givers.
Traditionally speaking, most churches haven’t had to think like this. Institution, loyal givers have brought their own motivation funding church ministries forward with their resources.
Before we start directing people to online giving, let’s make sure we understand the three different types of online givers and how we can best lead and serve each of them.
1. Recurring Digital Givers
These givers already have a digital giving account set up with your church and are consistent givers. Right now, it’s best to thank them for their loyalty and generosity. They’re a significant blessing to your church.
When you thank them publicly (not by name, but in general) it will not only affirm them, but they become an example and confidence builder to others.
These recurring givers are actually poised and waiting for an above and beyond giving opportunity, so be thinking about that very soon.
2. Occasional Digital Givers
These people have navigated your system a few times, but for whatever reason they haven’t set up a recurring gift. The good news is that they’ve found your system to work once, but possibly not easy or simple enough to be willing to navigate a second time.
Every online giving platform isn’t created the same. Most don’t make an allowance for the giving form to be embedded directly into your church online giving page. It requires a giver to be bounced off your page to a static payment processor form.
This can cause confusion and insecurity. Givers can lose the joy and motivation they once had—and rarely return to make a gift.
3. Non-Digital Givers
These people have never given even once online. Maybe they don’t trust the internet or maybe they couldn’t find your church’s giving page or they found the experience too cumbersome.
Continuing to direct these individuals to the same exact online experience probably won’t be as helpful as church leaders hope.
Now that we have these different givers in mind, here are some tips for creating their best digital giving experience:
- Make sure your giving button is clearly visible. It should be obvious on the homepage of your website. No scrolling the page to find it or hiding it in a dropdown menu. During COVID-19 having worship and giving instructions front and center is your best option.
- Embed the giving form in your website. Once a person leaves your online presence their suspicions begin to raise.
- Remove the login required step. This actually blocks generosity. You need to remove all steps that commonly discourage both the non-digital and occasional digital givers.
- Create a brief, positive, and inspiring message. This both encourages and comforts the giver.
- Insert a short video from the pastor. When they see the pastor thanking and encouraging them they’ll instantly have confidence and inspiration to continue giving.
- Provide a phone number for questions. Make sure they know this is a confidential call.
Generosity by Lifeway is opening its digital giving platform for every church to provide for them the best online giving experience possible. Churches don’t even need a website or a member with technical expertise.
We’ve removed the cumbersome parts of online giving and offering it to as many churches as have needs. There’s no set up cost or monthly subscription cost. You don’t even need to engage a payment processor.
Our team has done all the work for you. Your church can begin receiving gifts directly into its bank account now.
This is a pivotal time, to say the least, for the church to reach people with the hope of the gospel. And it’s incumbent upon us to be good stewards of our time and resources.
And having an easy-to-use online giving platform is one way to participate in the work God does through His people in a time of crisis.
TODD MCMICHEN (@ToddMcMichen) is Director of Generosity & Digital Giving at Lifeway and author of Leading a Generous Church: Making Disciples without Chasing Money.