With everything we see on the news and social media, it’s easy to perceive the world as being selfish or egocentric. However, things aren’t always as they appear. People are still very much interested in giving time and money to help others and contribute to the greater good.
You may be wondering how your church can tap into that giving spirit and cultivate into something that not only helps your ministry, but also enriches the hearts of your congregation.
At easyTithe, we know that inspiring people to give isn’t always easy. That’s why we’ve created this guide to help you implement a successful giving program that cultivates generosity at your church.
1. Understand Your Donors
Knowing why and how your people prefer to donate is the first step to building a successful giving program. How can you reach your church if you don’t understand what they want? To begin better knowing your donors, let’s take a deeper look into current giving trends and what features are most preferred by today’s churchgoers.
Both inside the church and out, we are moving steadily towards a “cashless” society. According to a recent report, only 21% of Americans even carry a checkbook around anymore. And, the number of checks used as a payment system declined 50% during the past decade, while noncash payment methods (card and ACH) more than tripled.
Additionally, online donations are up 800% over the past 10 years, and nearly 14% of all charitable donations are now made via mobile devices. These trends in payment preferences will likely continue, and cash and checks will become even less popular in years to come.
You may be under the impression that it’s mostly the younger generations that are making up this trend. But, people of all ages are giving more online now than in the past. While the 18-35 crowd strongly prefers this method, the over 60 age group of online givers is steadily growing.
As older generations become more comfortable with online shopping and paying bills online, they are also becoming more accepting of making their gifts to the church in the same way. In fact, a recent study found that 60% of all churchgoers, including those over the age of 60, prefer online giving to traditional giving methods.
2. Make Giving Easy
Now that you have a bit more understanding of giving behavior and preferences, let’s discuss how online giving ties in and, in turn, increases giving. Technology makes giving easier and more convenient than ever by enabling churchgoers to tithe or contribute special donations on their own schedule.
Setting up various methods of giving such as online, text, and giving kiosks, provide donors with the ability to choose the option that best suits them. This way, donors don’t have to be concerned with carrying cash or checks around; they can give to your church anywhere, at any time with a credit card, debit card, or ACH (direct transfer from a bank account).
Online giving even allows members who are out of town to easily donate to your ministry. Additionally, online giving lets your church quickly set up different funds to accept designated giving for special events or missions like a disaster fund, building project, or summer camp.
One of the main reasons we see churches looking to implement online giving is to simplify the donation process and to smooth out the highs and lows that occur throughout the year with a steady stream of generosity.
Studies have shown that 86% of churches fail to meet their annual budget goals. So, what are the other 14% doing differently? They offer automatic recurring donation options. Currently, the average church member only attends 37 weeks out of the year. That leaves a remainder of 15 weeks that members aren’t there to put money in the offering plate.
With recurring giving, members don’t have to be present at Sunday service to give; they can easily schedule their weekly or monthly giving well in advance. It also enables them to schedule one-time or automatic recurring payments and encourages them to make regular installments throughout the year; making it easier for you to predict giving activity and make budget forecasts.
3. Get Your Congregation Involved
Once you’ve decided to offer online giving, it’s time to figure out a way to get your congregation involved. You may be wondering how to explain your new giving options without seeming pushy or making people feel like the church is more concerned about money than sharing the word of God. This is a concern for many churches, but there are several ways to get your people excited and engaged as you establish an effective giving solution for your church.
The first thing to remember when trying to inspire generosity in your church is to keep the doors of communication open. Before sharing your new online giving solution, make sure you have information readily available for donors. That way, if someone is new to online giving or wants to setup a recurring gift, they can easily find out how to do so. Here are a few ideas to consider when sharing your message:
Place a visible link to your giving on your homepage. Ideally, people shouldn’t need to click more than twice to reach the form. Include a short, yet descriptive call to action button such as “Give Online,” or “Ways to Give.”
Include a short message at the bottom of your newsletters that appears in the same location every time. The goal is not to push people to give, but to make any information about giving easy to find.
Social media is a popular place for people to reach out and ask questions, so it helps to be able to provide more information about giving on the source where people are seeking answers.
Connect more fully with your church
Remember, people give when they feel a connection. This makes it important to find ways to get churchgoers involved in your campaign on an emotional level (not just financial). One way to achieve this is to explain to members why they should be giving.
The Bible tells us that we should give and be generous (mentioning money and generosity over 800 times in the New Testament). So, there’s no need to shy away from the subject when speaking to the church body. Remind them that the church exists to spread the love of Christ by fulfilling the physical and spiritual needs of others and it relies on the generosity of its members to accomplish this.
“One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another holds what he should give, and suffers only want.” Proverbs 11:24
On its own, online giving helps to increase donations by providing multiple, convenient giving options. However, it takes communication and leadership from the church to fully create a culture of generosity.
To ignite the giving spirit at your church, teach your congregation about giving with a joyful heart. Then, kindle that flame throughout the year by sharing your vision with members and providing them with multiple opportunities to get involved. This will not only keep your congregation engaged, but will also help increase the reach of your ministry.
Learn more about easyTithe’s online giving tools that ignite generosity. Call 1-888-778-4843 (and press #1), or email firstname.lastname@example.org.