I have seen churches make two major mistakes when it comes to online giving. Back in the day when we met on site and passed buckets, baskets, and plates by our attendees, this was not a problem. Then along came COVID-19. Now we are dependent upon our online giving to keep the proverbial offering plate full.
For over twenty years I have worked in the stewardship industry working with top 100 churches and churches running 100. For over a decade, I have been involved in online giving either as an owner of a small firm or working with firms like Gyve. In that time I have seen churches make two major mistakes with online giving.
The first mistake is an ineffective roll out of the platform. You must launch online giving with fanfare and educate your donors not only that you are providing this tool but in how to utilize it. Sadly many churches misfire on the roll-out of their launch and then incorrectly assume people are not interested in giving online. Your people will not use what they don’t know about or what they are uncomfortable with.
Did you make that mistake? You can correct that mistake by relaunching your online giving. I encourage my clients to run at least two online giving pushes a year. Typically I like to run these in January and in May. However, I also find that fall at the beginning of a school year is also an excellent time to “re-launch” your online giving.
Here are some practical things you can do:
- Have the Senior Pastor talk about the importance of online giving from the platform. The Senior Pastor acting as an online giving advocate is the most effective way to encourage sign-ups.
- Use your video screens to highlight the fact that you have online giving and show how to use the tool.
- Use your social media channels to show how easy online giving is.
- Use the tools and materials we provide you with. Check out some of our video tools here, Generosity Videos.
To make something a big deal in a church you must make it a big deal! Now might be a great time to relaunch your online platform.
The second mistake churches make is setting up online giving and then never driving people to the giving portal. In essence, churches go silent about the platform almost as if people will magically find the giving portal and then use it. I find this mistake in every size of the church. Remember the old saying, out of sight out of mind? This is why many churches are underutilizing their online portals.
Here are some practical things you can do to drive people to your site:
- Mention all the various ways people can give before you receive the offering weekly.
- Use social media posts to tell your story providing links to your online giving portal. One of my clients once showed a beach baptism picture of their Senior Pastor baptizing a millennial man whose face was filled with joy. We posted that pic with this line, “Your faithful generosity is allowing us to reach the Next Gen of believers. Give at…” Their giving link then followed. When you show people the impact of their gift they are much more likely to give.
- Use our Round-Up feature. Not only is this tool great for getting new donors started on the generosity journey its good for regular attendees also. Again, check out our video section for how other churches have positioned Round-Up giving here, Round-Up Videos
- Make sure every piece of literature from online to print has your giving portal listed.
- Strategically use email and text giving as a means of encouraging people to give. I would recommend this at least once a quarter or before special events like VBS, summer camps, mission trips, or end of year giving.
The bottom line is that you must keep it in front of your people.
2020 has been the year of adjustments for every church. COVID-19 has forever adjusted how we receive the offering. My question for you is, are you utilizing your online tools effectively?
Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach