Is Online Giving Right for Your Church?
Churches that haven’t waded into the world of online giving yet may still be wondering if it would be beneficial for their congregation. Let’s find out:
WHAT DETRACTORS SAY ABOUT ONLINE GIVING
1. Misses the meaning. Those who feel strongly that physically placing a gift in the offering plate when the church is gathered together is an important part of worship may not be interested in online giving. This is likely to be more of a concern with older members.
2. Sets a poor example. Some may feel that online giving robs young people of seeing the example of giving each week, or may fear that they appear not to be givers if they aren’t placing a gift in the plate.
3. Comes with fees. Online gifts come with unavoidable transaction fees from a credit card processor. These fees are drawn from the gift, so churches don’t get the full amount the giver intended. Transaction fees are typically very small, but some online giving vendors may charge additional fees, which should be a cause for concern to both givers and churches.
4. Creates fear about security. Givers can be nervous about putting their private and sensitive information online. Online giving is generally very secure because of the rigorous standards required by the Payment Card Industry for all online transactions. However, most online giving platforms can still leave givers with a sense of insecurity. How? By directing givers from the church’s giving page to a third-party online giving vendor they don’t know or trust to complete their gift. They can feel alarmed or confused and many will abandon their gift.
WHY CHURCHES AND GIVERS LOVE ONLINE GIVING
1. Offers convenience. Online giving allows gifts to be made at any time, day or night, whenever inspiration strikes. This is especially important in a day when many people no longer carry checks (especially younger generations) may not participate in the in-person offering.
2. Doesn’t restrict givers. No one says you must stop passing the offering plate or remove giving boxes in the back if you offer online giving to your church. It is simply an additional mode of giving for those who are interested, or who might not give any other way.
3. Levels the budget. When people travel, are ill, or just don’t make it to the service, gifts can wane. Online giving can save the day when an unexpected event like inclement weather or a global pandemic make it impossible for the church to assemble and for giving to take place.
One of the most powerful ways online giving keeps the offering more consistent and grows giving is through recurring giving schedules. This is where an online giver can opt to set up their gift to recur automatically at the interval of their choice.
5. Can offset fees. In addition to the possibility of increased giving to offset fees, if you choose a vendor that allows givers to pay the transaction fee, those who believe the convenience of online giving is worth a few extra dollars will gladly pay it.
Some nonprofit data indicates that when this option is available in a giving form, donors will cover the translation fee 55-60% of the time. When this option is on by default, the number rises to 75-85%. (Source) Of course, it’s vital to further offset the expense of any remaining transaction fees by selecting online giving software with no monthly fees.
6. Calms givers fears about security. As stated earlier, online giving is secure. But to ensure your givers also feel secure, choose a platform that allows them to complete their gift on the church’s website.
7. Protects the church. Church fraud is a real thing. Remove temptation by opting for an online giving platform that automates everything and protects staff and funds from fraud with a detailed audit trail that prevents anyone from changing transactions.
8. Allows giving in secret. While there’s nothing wrong with an in-person gift witnessed by others, the temptation to seek approval can be strong for some. Jesus addresses this in Matthew 6:4, where he advocates for giving in secret in order to ensure that our reward is from God, not from man. Online giving removes this temptation.
Free Giving Experience Audit
Our team will review your church’s online giving experience against 20 of the most common obstacles that get in the way of a giver’s generosity.
We will then send you a detailed set of recommendations that will help you to reach your true giving potential.