If you’re looking for an online giving solution – and if you don’t have one, you should be – there are literally thousands of options out there. But as you’re examining them, you need to be keeping one key piece of functionality in mind: whether that option integrates with your church management software (ChMS).
If you believe, as we do, that financial giving is an external sign of an internal commitment and growth, then we can see the act of giving as a way our people are telling us they’re ‘all in’ with what we’re doing in our ministries.
"...we can see the act of giving as a way our people are telling us they’re ‘all in’ with what we’re doing in our ministries..."
Giving – especially through channels we can track and measure like online giving, checks, offering envelopes, and any other method where the member knows the activity will be noticed – is one of the most significant ways a member can demonstrate their spiritual commitment and their commitment to your church.
So if all these things are true, and we believe them, then shouldn’t we expand our expectations of what an online giving tool can do? In order to get a truly complete picture of what your members are doing to grow in their relationships with God and with your church, you need to be tracking things like giving and other measurable activities.
Because just having an online giving option isn’t enough. "...just having an online giving option isn’t enough..."In fact, using online giving by itself will just create another data silo that isn’t connected with all the other information you have on your members. That means it will become that much harder for you to track giving trends and make strategic decisions based on your data.
But when all your data is recorded comprehensively in your church management software, you …
… always have the most accurate data on your entire church, allowing you to then examine giving patterns at an individual and church level right alongside other engagement milestones.
… have a clearer picture of the overall health of your church by knowing if a family or individual is fully engaged by looking at their attendance, volunteer involvement, and giving records all together.
… can track and follow up with first-time givers by streamlining your follow-up process.
… connect personally with each individual giver by assessing giving habits, volunteering and attendance to gain a holistic sense of clarity about people, uncovering ministry opportunities.
… have the opportunity to connect with people who might not carry cash or a check, allowing you to connect with an entire group of people whose gifts you may have otherwise missed.
… have an accurate picture of your members’ measurable habits to make sure that both you and your church members are aware of their online giving trends.
One of our goals at Church Community Builder is to continually help "...using online giving by itself will just create another data silo that isn’t connected with all the other information you have on your members..." pastors and church leaders challenge the current system and identify areas they can improve that will make a difference in the overall success of their ministries
So when it comes to church giving, thinking strategically about the giving options your church offers can make a tremendous impact on its overall giving.
The most common antidote to flat giving is to offer online giving to members. Once online giving is instituted, we’ve seen not only a measurable increase in online participation but also a stabilization in the overall giving.
There are several ways a church management system can enhance your church’s ability to cultivate online giving and increase generosity.
Here are just a few to consider:
- Make online giving easy to locate on your website by putting a link to online giving on your church’s home page – and make sure it is on the top half of the page where they can find it quickly and easily.
- Make the online giving function easy to navigate. The form people complete must be simple and straightforward without making people create a login in order to make a one-time gift.
- Provide multiple options that let donors choose a one-time gift, recurring gift, credit card, ACH, etc.
- Include a link to online giving in all digital communication channels – emails, newsletters, and social media – to drive people to your online giving page when they are ready to give.
- Make online giving meaningful by reading written testimonials, showing videos that tell the story of how givers are making an eternal difference, and thanking those who gave online every Sunday.
- Find a balance between making sure people know where to give online and overwhelming your donors with too many emails.
- Inform people about alternative giving options if they don’t want to do it online by providing the church address, phone number, and even a text-to-donate number.
"...thinking strategically about the giving options your church offers can make a tremendous impact on its overall giving..."
Online giving has moved beyond something churches should consider; it has become a must-have, viable option for stabilizing overall giving and even increasing revenue and generosity for many churches. Statistics prove it. This is why integrating online giving with your church management software is so critical! When you recognize online giving as a tool to identify and connect with your givers, you’re able to cultivate those relationships and impact future giving.
Because here’s the bottom line: By connecting your online giving process with your church management system, you increase your ability to better care for your people.
And, when you care for people more effectively, they tend to give more frequently. Isn’t that an outcome worth working towards?
There's always a next step:
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