If your leadership team is currently dissatisfied with the current online giving strategies at your church, you’re not alone. Thousands of churches are making the switch to online giving in hopes of seeing an increase in donations, providing their congregation with easier digital tools, and upgrading the overall communication among the church community. Before effectively switching your online giving platform, here’s what you need to know.
1. Do Your Research
To avoid any future need to switch yet again, try to get clear about what online giving platform is the best match for your congregation. Yes, you’ll need to do a good amount of research to compare existing platforms, but you’ll also want to include your pastoral team in the process.
A group consensus helps you decide what specific features, values, and software integration you’ll need to look for in a new platform. With the help of lead pastors and the tech team, ask questions like:
- How much do we want to customize this mobile app?
- What size data storage do we need? How large is our church?
- What type of tech are we using every day? Can the platform integrate with it?
- What features are most important to our attendees?
- What’s our budget for subscription plan prices and transaction fees?
All of these questions will help you compare and contrast the right platform for your church. We recommend making a list of your top 3-5 favorite options and then making some phone calls to each online giving company to receive personal demos or free trials before you make the final choice.
2. Make a Plan
After you decide on which online giving platform you’ll be switching to, having a plan of action can benefit your team and your congregation. While it can be tempting to jump in right away and try to implement the new platform, planning can save you time and trouble in the long run.
When it comes to online giving for churches, switching the platform involves several areas of operation. Here are some categories to consider when making a plan.
- The current system. What is the software your church currently uses for online giving? How is it set up and used?
- Existing data storage. Where does your current system store user data? Will it be possible to transfer data to the new platform?
- Church management software (ChMS) integrations. Does your church rely on a heavy set of software aside from online giving? Consider a platform that can connect with your current ChMS.
- A timeline for launch. Create a reasonable timeline for when you will launch your new platform. Then, you can plan action steps around the launch appropriately and stay on track.
Another reason to plan ahead is to prepare your community and church staff to gladly adapt to the necessary change. Giving your team plenty of notice ahead of time— and involving them in the process— ensures churchwide support of switching online giving platforms.
3. Equip Your Leaders
In addition to including your church leaders in the process of switching, it will benefit everyone if you also equip them with knowledge and access to the new software. Encouraging leadership buy-in of the new online giving platform is one step toward encouraging congregation use of it.
To equip your leaders, here are some tips:
- Ask the online giving platform if they offer classes or webinars to their customers.
- Compile all the free resources you can find from your new online giving platform to make available to your team.
- Assign everyone a useful role in the process of switching, from tech members to administrative tasks and more.
- Plan for a “soft launch” of the software among team members only, before launching it to the rest of the church.
- Ask for the team’s feedback, taking time to address any questions or concerns that come up.
- Maintain communication among team members during any troubleshooting phases in the beginning.
The congregation might turn to your team leaders for guidance and support once the change in online giving has been made church-wide. This is why it’s important to prepare everyone on the leadership level to be knowledgeable and accepting of the new software. Better preparing your leaders is one way to better prepare your church for the change.
4. Prepare Your Community
Some people embrace change with ease; others feel resistance and need more time to see the need for change in digital tools. While online giving grew 21% in 2020, changing the methods in which your church receives donations still comes as a surprise to some. To prepare your congregation for switching over to a different online giving platform, there are several things you can do to make it as effortless and inclusive as possible.
- Communicate ahead of time. Prepare your audience with the news of an upcoming switch so they aren’t taken by surprise on the day of the official launch.
- Provide educational resources and answer FAQs. People will likely have questions about the new online giving methods, so create a way for them to get their questions answered. Handing out free pamphlets, creating an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page on your website, and providing the phone number for customer support are all helpful options.
- Make consistent announcements. Announce the new online giving platform weeks or months before your congregation starts getting their hands on it. You can include the news in Sunday announcements or send out emails and social media posts early on.
- Include giving themes in upcoming sermons. Giving is a spiritual discipline, and preparing your community is a great time to discuss the significance of tithing and offering. Include themes of giving in your sermons leading up to the switch.
Encouraging generosity all year long is one way your church can enjoy lasting, Kingdom-rooted success.
Need Help Making the Switch?
Switching from one online giving platform to another is no easy task. A lot of detail is involved, and there’s a lot to learn if you want to complete the process successfully.
To get an even more in-depth guide with step-by-step instructions on making the switch, download our free guide book here: The No-Fear, No-Stress Way to Switch Online Giving Platforms.