5 Best Practices for Online Tithing at Your Church
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Considering how essential giving is to your church’s very existence, online tithing offers a way to help your congregants more easily follow through on their giving commitments. But just making giving quick, easy and automatically recurring (should they choose that option) isn’t enough. You need to choose an online tithing tool that strengthens givers’ connection to your church and helps grow your mission.
Not every online tithing platform can accomplish that.
Implementing online tithing software designed to eliminate the common barriers to online giving 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.
1. CHOOSE THE RIGHT ONLINE TITHING TOOLS FOR YOUR CHURCH.
To enable giving whenever and wherever your givers are, look for these differentiators in these three giving modes within your online giving platform:
Your church’s website is important both for dedicated members and for individuals searching for a new church community. Your members know that your website is one of the most trustworthy locations through which they can give to your church, so as you implement online giving or refresh your church’s online tithing methods, make sure that your website’s giving experience:
- Looks like the rest of your website. Incorporating your church’s name, styles and other identifiers helps givers feel more secure about giving online.
- Keeps givers on your website to complete their gifts. Most online tithing platforms whisk your givers away to the payment processor’s website to complete their gifts. This stokes already present fears of online scams and gives the payment processor all the control in messaging your givers and managing their accounts.
- Integrates with your other systems. You’ll want your givers’ donation information in both your church management system (CMS) with their other information and in your accounting system. This is easier to accomplish when your online giving software integrates effortlessly with your existing systems.
- Keeps your mission front and center. Allowing your members to easily direct their gifts toward specific projects such as a children’s program or mission trip (or browse new ones) inspires greater generosity and participation.
- Personalizes giving. People have become conditioned to personalized interactions online. Make sure your automatic acknowledgments come from the church (not a third party), address the giver, mention the impact of their gift, and provide additional information for connection. A generic one-size-fits-all thank you doesn’t inspire greater generosity.
With the culture’s rising dependence on smartphones, it’s vital to 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 mobile tithing experience should be similar and feel familiar to your online giving experience. This means 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 giving 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 particularly well-suited to church events but 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.
- 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, multiple 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 the platform by including links and reminders in regular communications and signage.
2. INTRODUCE ONLINE TITHING SOFTWARE TO YOUR CONGREGATION.
Your members understand the importance of giving and the value of generosity and many are eager for efficient online options. But how do you introduce online tithing—or a new online tithing platform—without diverting focus away from the most important aspects of your purpose, such as their spiritual development?
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 method as long as you 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.
- 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 a new online tithing tool. Having a familiar church member explain their use helps here, but keep more traditional giving options open for members who prefer these methods.
3. USE YOUR ONLINE TITHING SOFTWARE’S CONTRIBUTION MANAGEMENT DATA TO PERSONALIZE YOUR COMMUNICATIONS
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. Givers need to feel appreciated. Using your online tithing software, you can personalize your thank-you communications to ensure that each member is recognized individually for their generosity.
4. INTEGRATE YOUR ONLINE TITHING TOOLS WITH YOUR ACCOUNTING AND CMS SOFTWARE.
Integrated systems can make a huge difference to your staff. 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, automatically transferring giving data 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.
Church Management Software
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 needed.
Look for an online tithing platform that contains a full subledger and auto-reconciliation, and manages your gifts to the penny each month.
Consider a platform that offers Managed Services and automates the entire lifecycle of each gift.
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 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
However, recognize that some of your members have heartfelt reasons for preferring giving via cash or check, including feeling that a physical offering is a significant act of worship. Your church will be more successful in encouraging giving when you allow your congregants to give using the methods they prefer.
But that doesn’t have to mean more challenges for your staff:
- Processing Checks: 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./
- Processing Cash: 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, such as the giver’s preferred ministry designation.
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.
Ready to get started with church online giving software? Contact Vision2 for a demo of our comprehensive software solution!`