By Curtis Simmons

What is the Best Church Giving App?

As churches search for ways to encourage engagement and giving with the best church giving app, a mobile church giving app seems like a reasonable solution. But before you start discussing mobile giving apps with someone who develops them — someone who won’t try to talk you out of it — take a minute to consider the pros and cons.

Return on Investment

PRO: Some online giving platforms come with a free mobile giving app. In that case, there’s no direct financial cost to recoup.

CONS:

  • Staff must manage, constantly update and promote the app in order for people to know about it and find it valuable.
  • Free apps don’t allow givers to complete their gift in the app, instead redirecting them to a browser to put their sensitive financial information into a third-party’s website.
  • Free or low cost apps are templated (meaning, they look like everyone else’s and offer a low level of customization.)
  • Free apps may perform poorly and vendors may not prioritize updating them.
  • The actual cost of a free app is embedded into your giving platform’s monthly fee.
  • Expensive church mobile giving apps may not be worth the cost, as shown below.

HINT: When comparing online giving software, if the vendor’s free giving app tips the scales for you, be sure to compare the giving platform itself—apples to apples—with other platforms that don’t offer a mobile giving app. That free app may be an easy add-on for the vendor to compensate for less robust giving software. In many cases, when it comes to “free,” you get what you paid for.

Will Givers Use Your App?

This is, of course, the million-dollar question. If they do, it might be worth your time and energy. But do they?

At first glance, it appears not. Anecdotally, churches report only 1-3% of their gifts coming from mobile apps. This should drive ministry leaders back to the ROI question, especially when considering a paid mobile giving app. Giving platform vendors know this; that’s why you won’t find claims that these mobile apps increase generosity.

PRO: People like apps. And quality apps may respond slightly faster than a website giving page because the data is stored on the user’s device, rather than on your server.

CON: People don’t use the majority of their apps, which drain their batteries, constantly send them notifications (if they’re enabled), or are ignored (if notifications are disabled).

A 2019 study found that 61% of people don’t want to add an app to their phone to communicate with a business. They just don’t use even the ones they have:

  • More than 20% abandon newly downloaded apps after just one use.
  • 77% never use an app again 72 hours after installing it.
  • The average consumer has about 80 apps on their device but uses less than half of them each month.

HINT: A mobile-optimized giving experience is just as handy and, ultimately, more effective because it offers visitors the opportunity to do more than give. It’s more likely to be found because people typically search for a church’s website on Google, not the App Store. And when they find you and want to give, they can easily bookmark your giving page and quickly return anytime to give.

If your giving platform uses an embedded giving form that keeps them on your site, the giving experience from your website will be seamless and hassle-free.

If you’re looking to offer the convenience of mobile giving, Text-to-Give is another lightning-fast way for your givers to donate via their mobile phones.

Sign-up today for a Free Online Giving Audit and receive detailed recommendations on how to reach your true giving potential.