In 2020, churches accomplished many feats for the first time. For 24% of churches we surveyed, that included implementing online giving.
Yet a somewhat surprising 38% of churches said cash or checks still had the biggest positive impact on church giving in 2020.
So while the benefits of online and mobile church giving are clear for many church members, for others . . . they’re still cloudy.
How can you get more people in your church on board with online giving?
Whether you’re . . .
- new to online giving
- switching to a new church giving software
- trying to move your congregation from giving options not created for the Church (e.g., PayPal) . . .
10 ways to make online and mobile giving second nature at your church
1. Add giving to your church website
Do this as soon as you get started with your giving software. Anyone who’s looking to give to your church online will absolutely expect to find the option on your church website. Make sure the URL is something simple, like yourchurchwebsite.com/give, so you can easily refer to the URL, and people will remember it.
Include a separate page for giving in your main menu, but also include giving buttons on pages throughout your site if your church website builder allows.
2. Develop a game plan
If your church offers online giving but no one knows about it, can it really help you? Same goes for if you’ve switched to a new provider, but no one knows how to use it yet.
There are those who’ll find and figure out your online giving because there’s no way they’re writing a check or handing over cash (“What cash? I don’t carry cash.”).
But that’s not everyone.
So it’s important to decide how you want to tell the congregation about the transition. Will you . . .
- Announce it first in church?
- Use slides?
- Email it out?
- Post on social media?
- Create flyers or bulletin inserts?
- Take 10 minutes in the announcements time to walk everyone through setup, phones in hand?
- Have the youth group wear lanyards and stand in the back to help the tech-adverse after the announcement service is over?
- What about a strategic combination of these ideas?
As part of your announcement, be sure to include your reasons for offering online and mobile giving. Yes, it’s convenient for members to be able to give tithes and offerings online. But it will also help you and your staff save time, keep accurate records, increase security, maintain a consistent budget, and more.
Conclude by letting people know you’re grateful for any gift, no matter how it comes, and you appreciate their openness to learning something new.
3. Share videos with your team and members
Questions like these will be common:
- “Hey, where do we give online?” / “What’s the church’s number for text to give?”
- “Can you remind me how to give using my phone?”
- “If I wanted my tithe to come out automatically every month, how would I do that?”
Any member of your church staff or volunteer team should be able to answer those questions without even thinking. They’re just as busy as you are, though, so help them out. Create simple videos that show how to give from desktop, mobile, or by texting. Nothing fancy, just you talking through the steps.
Alternatively, you could search for tutorials online, or your church online giving provider may already have created videos for you to use.
Once you’ve got your staff up to speed (or even while they’re still learning), also share short how-to online giving videos with your members. During your announcement time, on social media, in your church’s group on Faithlife, and by email are excellent ways to share these videos so people have multiple opportunities to watch.
Tip: If you’re switching to a new online giving platform, make sure you also explain what will happen to any recurring giving that was set up on the old platform. Of course, pair that with steps on how to set up recurring giving with your new platform. Even if you migrate your recurring giving (so no one has to reschedule their gifts), people will want to know what to expect.
4. Put out how-to-give guides
Videos seem to rule the world today, but there are still people who’d prefer to read. (And, let’s face it, text and photos are easier to consume while half-watching a TV show, phone in hand.)
Create simple text-only or photo-and-text guides members can easily follow to get set up.
5. Include a bulletin mention or insert
Many churches include what’s been given weekly or monthly. Near that number in the bulletin, include the URL where people can give to your church. (That’s one reason you need a simple giving URL!) If there’s room, also include brief instructions.
Or for even more focus when you’re first launching giving, create a separate bulletin insert readers won’t be able to miss.
6. Add giving to your church presentation slides
You probably have upcoming events slides rotating through before your service starts. The point is to spread awareness, right? We all know how easy it is to hear an announcement during a service—then completely forget about the event. Reminders help boost participation.
So add a reminder slide about your church’s online giving. Include a URL where people can go to give and/or how they can give via text. (For example, “Text Give and an amount to 360-555-5509.)
7. Print a poster
This one’s pretty self-explanatory! Put it in a visible place. Digital reminders are excellent, but printed reminders still work, too.
8. Give a nod in your newsletter
A good place to insert directions for giving online is near where you’ve given an update on an upcoming outreach, a missionary need, etc. People will be able to see a need and then financially support it right away.
9. Talk about online giving where appropriate
- Share how members can support your ministry even if they’re not there in person.
- Mention the funds you’ve set up to support initiatives (building, benevolence, etc.) so that people never have to wait until Sunday to give as the Lord leads.
When you’re holding the offering in the sanctuary, invite those watching on live stream to give online. To keep the invitation from being awkward, keep it in context and mission-focused.
10. Install a church giving kiosk
A church giving kiosk is the modern alternative to an offering plate. People can give securely in the sanctuary from a tablet or laptop even if they don’t typically give from their own devices. It’s excellent for collecting funds, too; your teens can pick up their youth group T-shirts in the lobby, then pay for them at the kiosk. (Or, more likely, ask their parents to pay for them at the kiosk.)
When you take these 10 steps, no one will be left wondering whether your church has online giving or how to use it.
1 more thing you need to know
We can’t give you this list and not let you know that you don’t have to do all this yourself!
Faithlife Giving has already created a giving rollout plan, guides, videos, posters, and more. Instead of chipping away at these steps and taking several weeks to do all the prep work, you can get everything you need in one place for free.
If you don’t yet have Faithlife Giving, you can start today. It only takes a few minutes, and there’s an option for you, no matter your church’s size.
What if you’re moving to Faithlife Giving from another provider? No worries! We make it easy. You can import members’ giving history and recurring gifts in a snap.
- To import giving history, just head to the stewardship portal and import your CSV file.
- To import recurring gifts, do the same—head to the stewardship portal and import your CSV file. With a click, you can even send out a series of five prewritten, personalized emails to recurring givers to let them know to update their payment information with Faithlife (and keep their recurring giving on track!).