How to set up online giving for your church
So you’re thinking about taking the leap to online giving, but you have a lot of questions.
To set up online giving for your church, there are a few considerations you should plan on beforehand.
1. Clarify Needs and Goals for Online Giving
The primary reasons for setting up online giving for a church are to provide convenience for givers, streamline contribution management for staff, and to increase giving.
Other criteria to identify include:
- Specific features that are important to you
- Ease of implementation
- Ease of use for staff
- Integration with a church management software platform
- User experience (ease of use and overall effectiveness)
- Service, support and training
- Type of organization (i.e. Faith-based)
- Record of success with churches like yours
Choose Your Church Giving Platform
It’s important to do your research when setting up online giving for a church, especially when it comes to features you don’t know you don’t want. Studies on charitable gift abandonment reveal one of the highest abandonment rates across industries (83%) along with the most common reasons for gifts not being completed. We call these troublesome features The Deadly Sins of Online Giving; they’re common in most online giving platforms.
There are a variety of ways to gain information on platforms, including:
- Seek out third-party reviews, gather user testimonials, and ask for long-time references from any vendors you’re considering.
- Schedule demos of all software you’re considering. You’ll gain a wealth of insight into the company and the platform through one-on-one discussions. In those meetings, ask for concerns they may have about competitors you’re considering, so you can discuss those insights with the competitors.
- Carefully review the vendor’s website to learn their philosophies about online giving, serving the church and providing valuable thought leadership materials for customers, including eBooks, audits, and webinars.
- Contact churches similar to yours to learn their experiences with different platforms.
Be prepared that comparing platforms is not always easy. A fabulous website doesn’t necessarily mean a great platform, and vice versa. Not all features are compared apples-to-apples, and terms used can apply to different things.
If your selected vendor offers a self-set-up process, you can know this likely means you’re purchasing a simple platform with limited features – which may be just what you want.
For more robust platforms, implementation is the process by which your new vendor sets up your online giving platform for you. Learn ahead of time how much your staff will be required to do, especially with transferring data from your old system. It should involve minimal effort on your part except for gathering of your data and making any decisions about customizable components.
You should never feel overwhelmed or abandoned, and the vendor should not consider the implementation complete until your questions are fully satisfied and your staff is trained.
How will you introduce your new giving platform to your church? Most vendors have recommendations for launching your new platform. They may provide a timeline for communications to your church, or even provide sample messaging. Some will even help you populate your new giving platform with content.
It’s important to communicate in a variety of channels in order to ensure your givers get the message. The Rule of 7 states that most people have to hear or see a message seven times before it really registers with them.
Include your messaging on announcement slides, an announcement email (plus links to online giving in all email footers), newsletters, bulletin boards and from the pulpit. Communications about your online giving capability should be ongoing. You never know when someone will finally “hear” it.
Considering Vision2 Systems
Vision2 uses a new approach to online giving. We operate invisibly with your givers and shield churches from the complexity of payment processing while still giving them total control over every transaction.
Vision2 prioritizes the back office experience with an unprecedented partnership and Managed Services team that enables us to serve as an extension of your finance team (or as your finance team!) for all accounting processes. With real-time, two-way synchronization between your giving platform/payment processor, bank and ChMS, we automate everything!
And we eliminate all the giving barriers that contribute to gift abandonment and damage trust in the giving experience.
We do all this without giving limits of any kind, onerous contracts or stifling monthly fees.
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.