Boosting Digital Giving
Our newsletter articles on digital giving are consistently some of our most popular and most referenced pieces. In the past, we’ve written about the benefits of electronic giving, choosing an online giving vendor, iPad giving stations, and challenges in implementing online giving. Today, Alex Benson follows-up her post from a few weeks ago with one intended, specifically, for congregations who have already implemented digital giving.
Adam Copeland, Center for Stewardship Leaders
Boosting Digital Giving
Maybe you’ve already gone through the initial work of setting up online giving in your congregation. You’ve done your research, selected your preferred online giving platform and service provider, and purchased any necessary equipment or software. Now it’s time to actually get your members to commit to giving digitally.
Or, perhaps your congregation has offered digital giving options for quite some time, and you’re looking for a way to increase engagement or to re-invite people to experiment with online giving. Either way, you’re in luck! Below are ten ideas for boosting digital giving in your congregation.
- Give verbal reminders of digital giving options during worship, perhaps during announcements or offering time. Not only will these timely reminders alert congregants to their options for giving during offering, but they may also give people permission to take out their phones to give in the middle of the service, minimizing potential awkwardness or judgment.
- Create digital giving pew cards that can be put in the offering plate to symbolize a gift made electronically or automatically. Pew cards serve as a visible sign of the congregations’ generosity, cultivate curiosity, and function as yet another tangible reminder and invitation to online giving. In The e-Giving Guide for every Church: Using Digital Tools to Grow Ministry, Richard Rogers notes that cards should be “durable or laminated” so they can be reused each week and that they should include easy instructions for online giving, including a QR code.
- Create a QR code, and include it the bulletin, church brochures/informational pamphlets, and giving cards. QR (Quick Response) codes, also known as scan codes, usually take smart phone users directly to your congregation’s online giving page, making it even easier for people to give online. QR codes provide a way for givers to give immediately and eliminate steps to accessing the giving page. Your online giving platform may already provide tools to create your own QR code, but you can also check out this link for an overview of how to create one online. [Editor’s note: we almost cut this one, but maybe QR codes are making a comeback.]
- Set up text giving. If you don’t already offer text giving as part of your digital giving platform, you might want to consider adding it. Through text giving, donors can give by simply texting a dollar amount to your church’s code. According to Rogers, text giving provides an outlet for “spontaneous” giving during worship as well as for more specialized needs – community emergencies, special fundraisers, etc. After all, almost everyone carries around a cell phone these days.
- Similarly, Rogers also suggests using a group messaging service to periodically invite congregants into digital giving. Messages might celebrate needs that have already been met or may lift up a current need, upcoming fundraiser, or updates on an ongoing campaign.
- Include an invitation to online giving in your congregation’s quarterly reports or monthly newsletter. Be sure to emphasize benefits, ease, and security of online giving, and maybe even include a personal testimony from a regular online giver. Also remember to include an easy-to-find link to the church’s online giving page.
- Make sure your giving page is simple and intuitive. The “Give” button should be easy to find. Your church branding should be consistent, as being re-directed to a third-party giving website can cause some donors to be wary or question the security of validity of the platform.
- Post about digital giving options on social media. Consider using sponsored posts, which for a relatively low price can boost your post’s visibility or target certain demographics.
- Host a special fundraising event that highlights online giving options. Maybe the youth are already planning on raising funds for a summer trip or the outreach committee is planning a fundraiser to launch a new community ministry. Why not use these events to highlight digital giving as well? Make sure staff and/or others who are comfortable with online giving are available to answer questions and to encourage people to try making an online gift.
- Say thank you! Set up automated emails or text responses to thank people for their financial gifts made through online platforms. Follow-up with hand written thank yous as soon as you’re able.
For More Information
Alex Benson is an M.Div. senior at Luther Seminary. She serves as Program Assistant and Editorial Fellow for the Center for Stewardship Leaders.
Rethinking Stewardship: Join us on July 25-27 for three days of conversation and exploration at Luther Seminary's Rethinking Stewardship: From Solemn Obligation to Inspired Choice. More information here.
"Macbook" image by Peter Werkman at www.peterwerkman.nl. Creative Commons licensing via Flickr.