Your church creates a community that helps guide and shape your congregants’ lives, but also supports them wherever they are on their individual journeys. For many of them, including—but certainly not limited to!—millennials and other younger generations of your members, there’s no denying that much of their time is spent online.
The popularity of social media and the ubiquity of smartphones guarantees that if your church is online, your current and potential members are going to find you there.
Giving is essential to keeping your church community strong, growing, and able to provide for your community. Online tithing offers a way for congregants to make gifts quickly, easily, and (should they so choose) repeatedly, strengthening their connections to your church and your mission.
To implement and encourage online tithing at your church, you’ll want to look for a software solution that keeps the message focused on your congregants’ relationships with God. This is the purpose of online giving software designed specifically for churches.
Implementing online tithing software can have a significant positive impact on your members’ excitement about giving and your church’s ability to grow. To get your church started on this beneficial path, we’ll show you how you can:
- Choose the right online tithing tools for your church.
- Introduce online tithing software to your congregation.
- Use your online tithing software to keep your congregants’ data organized.
- Integrate your online tithing tools with your accounting and CMS software.
- Combine online tithing with traditional giving methods to appeal to every member of your congregation.
Because every church community has unique characteristics and needs, the first step in this process is choosing the best online tithing tools for your church.
1. Choose the right online tithing tools for your church.
The right online tithing tools for your church are those that remind your members of your church’s mission every time they give. That way, they know their gifts are going directly toward the community that provides for their spiritual lives. When you connect your giving methods to your church’s message and make them convenient to use, your members will be happy to give.
One of the most effective ways to encourage giving is to provide your members with multiple convenient options so that they can give whenever and wherever they are motivated to do so. After services and during church events are just two examples of instances in which your members will likely want to give.
To reach your members where they are, it’s important that your online tithing software is accessible online and via mobile. To incorporate one of the fastest giving methods around, look for church giving software with text-to-give capabilities.
Your church’s website is central to spreading and reinforcing your message among current and potential members. Visitors arriving at your site may be dedicated members looking for the latest update on your church’s current initiative or project, or they may be individuals searching for the right new church community.
Your members also know that your website is one of the most trustworthy locations through which they can give to your church. As you implement online giving or refresh your church’s online tithing methods, make sure that your website’s giving page:
- Looks like the rest of your website. Your members have a close relationship with your church and want to be sure their gifts are going to support the good work you do. Incorporating your church’s name and other identifiers also
reinforcesyour members’ interest in giving.
- Integrates with your other systems. You’ll want to record information on your members and the gifts they make in your church management system (CMS) and gift details in your accounting system. These processes are easier when your online giving software integrates with the systems your church already has in place.
- Keeps your mission front and center. If your members are directing their gifts toward a specific project such as a children’s program or mission trip, remind them where their gift is headed and why it’s so important in your acknowledgment. Of course, you’ll also want to provide an automatic, personalized thank-you to the member who made the gift!
With online giving software that indicates the destination of members’ gifts and provides individual recognition to members for their generosity, the online tithing process becomes a fulfilling experience for your members. Because your members should never have to go out of their way to give, look for online tithing tools that make mobile giving just as convenient.
It’s no secret that most of us are only becoming more dependent on our smartphones. Whether we’re staying in contact with family and friends, searching for answers to questions that arise in conversation, or checking social media, we usually have our phones on us—sometimes, even in church!
Ensure that your church’s online tithing page is mobile-responsive so that members can give quickly and easily whenever they’re motivated to do so! Your members’ mobile tithing experience should be similar to that for online giving. This means that your church’s name and familiar imagery should appear on your mobile giving page just like it does on your website.
To save your members more time, look for mobile giving capabilities that don’t require a separate app to use. Downloading an app slows down the process and may prevent some members from completing their gifts.
For an even more convenient form of mobile giving, select online tithing software that offers text-to-give service.
Text giving is an increasingly popular giving method that is particularly well-suited to church events but is easy for your members to use at any time. Your church is assigned a keyword—something familiar, such as the first word in your church’s name—and a designated text-to-give number. When your members text the word to the designated number, they’ll be prompted to complete their gift via a simple online giving form.
Your church can encourage text-to-give at special events or services, especially when you’re emphasizing an important cause to support in your community or introducing your church’s newest goal or project.
Text-to-give use doesn’t have to be limited to special causes or events, however! It’s a convenient donation method that members can use to show their support for your church at any time.
Larger churches with multiple campuses should consider text giving providers that allow members to direct their gifts to the specific campuses on which they worship. This provides each of your congregants with the opportunity to give back to the places of worship from which they benefit.
Offering convenience, a multiplicity of giving options, and clear connections to your church’s goals and mission, online tithing tools are a wonderful way to encourage generosity among your congregants. Your church can motivate members to use them by connecting them to your messages about the importance of giving.
2. Introduce online tithing software to your congregation.
Your church’s members know that the community they love and the programs from which they benefit cannot continue or grow without their generosity. They want to give and encourage their fellow members to do the same! However, your church may be looking for the right ways to introduce online tithing tools without diverting the focus of your communications away from the most important aspects of your purpose, such as your congregation’s spiritual development.
Your members understand the importance of giving and the value of generosity. As long as online tithing tools are designed and used with your church’s mission in mind and remind your congregants of the good work your church is doing every day, your church can feel comfortable and confident in adopting and encouraging these giving methods.
To ensure that your congregation is both comfortable and well-informed about the new online tithing options available to them, your church should consider
- An up-front approach to the necessity of giving. Your members will be more encouraged to give when your church takes a direct and straightforward approach explaining the connection between member gifts and the continuation of important church programs. When it comes to talking about giving, your members will respond well to openness.
- A focus on the specific projects to which gifts are directed. Emphasize the importance of your church’s specific initiatives so that members can connect with the issues you’re working to solve and the good you’re doing in your community. Whenever possible, provide them with the option to choose the specific projects they want their gifts to support.
- An approach emphasizing convenience for members who already give. Established members with histories of giving to your church may be comfortable with the giving process but uncertain about the new online tithing tools. Having a familiar church member explain their use helps here, but your church should also keep more traditional giving options open for members who prefer these methods.
It’s easy to see how online tithing software can benefit your congregation, but for churches who haven’t yet implemented it, the benefits to your church management team may not be as readily evident. In fact, online giving can help you gather and organize more information on your members and reach out to them more effectively, strengthening their connections to your church.
3. Use your online tithing software to keep your congregants’ data organized.
Your church already understands the value of your individual members. Each brings a unique set of skills and interests to share with your church community. One of the most important components of your church’s interaction with members who give is personalized communication.
To personalize your communications and outreach to your individual members, it helps to have all relevant information on them easily available. Your CMS (church management system) is a valuable source of member information, but your online giving software can supplement this data and help you encourage future giving.
Many of the features that make giving easier for your congregants can also make managing gifts easier for your church. For instance, members of larger churches benefit from a multi-site giving option so that they can direct their gifts to their specific campuses. The multi-site option helps your church by tracking where gifts are coming from. Your online tithing software can also help your church:
- Learn your members’ communication and giving preferences. Different members will prefer to give in different ways. This is why offering multiple giving channels is important! Once you learn your individual members’ favorite methods, you’ll know just how to reach out to each of them.
- Track the progress of multiple goals or projects simultaneously. It’s almost certain that your church is working on several initiatives at once, from providing new programs to expanding your place of worship to sending your members on mission trips. Your online giving software can help you track which projects your members are eager to support and which ones deserve more attention.
- Personalize your thanks to members who give. Your church depends on each of your members to make your community the best it can be. Using your online tithing software, you can personalize your thank-you communications to ensure that each member is recognized individually for their generosity.
Your online tithing software is a great way to gather more information about your members so that you can communicate with them more effectively. However, it doesn’t have to be the only system you use to access and manage member information. Choose online tithing software that integrates with the church management system and other software solutions you’re already using.
4. Integrate your online tithing tools with your accounting and CMS software.
It’s almost certain that your online tithing solution won’t be the first software your church has implemented to meet your congregation’s needs. Ensure that your church is able to access and manage all relevant member and giving information by choosing online tithing software that integrates with your CMS and other software solutions.
Your church’s CMS is central to staying organized and communicating with members in an effective and efficient manner. Your church uses it to stay in touch with your congregants, register them for the events you have planned, and measure attendance and membership rates and growth.
When you choose online tithing software that integrates with your CMS and other software, information regarding your members’ giving habits and preferred giving methods is automatically transferred to your existing systems. Your church will have the most updated information on your members available to you across all of the platforms you’re using.
Look for online tithing software that integrates with the most popular CMS platforms to save your church’s team time and energy, especially if you don’t have a full-time tech support team member. Already using a system that your online tithing platform wasn’t expressly designed to integrate with? Choose online tithing software that can develop custom integrations as
Because your church wants to be sure that all giving information is recorded and stored in the appropriate location, you’ll want to select online tithing software that integrates with your accounting platform.
With security features to protect your members’ information and payment processing capabilities that help you manage gifts made via all available methods, it’s as easy for your church to manage and process gifts as it is for your members to make them. In the case of members who prefer to give using traditional methods, your church giving software will still be able to accept these gifts.
5. Combine online tithing with traditional giving methods to appeal to every member of your congregation.
Your church community provides a welcoming environment for all of your members, each of whom bring their unique perspective to your church. While many of them will value the convenience of online tithing and adapt quickly to this giving method, others may have important reasons for wishing to continue giving through more traditional methods. Your church will be more successful in encouraging giving when you allow your congregants to give using the methods they prefer.
While online tithing is likely to appeal to more millennials and other younger members of your congregation, don’t assume that they’re the only ones who will embrace these giving methods. Older members of your congregation are also likely to value the convenience that online and mobile tithing offers.
Your church can encourage online tithing by demonstrating just how easy it is and motivating members to give at events. However, it’s just as important to remember that your members may have many reasons to prefer giving via cash or check. These methods are more reminiscent of a traditional church offering and may thus be significant to many of your congregants.
A church online giving software solution that offers check scanning allows your church to gather all relevant information on the check in a single scan. This information is used to update that member’s giving history so that you have the most accurate information on their preferred giving methods and record of giving. A system that accepts any type of check broadens giving opportunities for your members.
Have members who prefer to give cash? Choose church online giving software that’s able to process cash donations and scan any additional information that your members provide on their gifts’ envelopes. This information can help you direct the gift to the right project.
It’s important to keep track of your individual congregants’ communication and giving preferences so that you can be sure of reaching them wherever they are. With church online giving software that’s able to address the preferences of each member in your congregation, your church is sure to keep each of your members involved in your mission.
Online tithing is an easy and innovative way to get your church’s members excited about giving. As your church decides on the perfect platform to suit the needs of your congregation, check out the following additional resources for more information:
- Create Your Congregational Launch Plan: Implementing online tithing or a new church giving software at your church? Follow this guide to make the process as smooth as possible for your congregation.
- 5 Rules To Make Giving Easy For The First-Time Giver: Online tithing creates a wonderful opportunity to encourage newer members to start giving. Take a look at this guide to learn how you can encourage their generosity.