Online giving isn’t new but is becoming more important for even small churches. With more of us going cashless as digital payment solutions spread, the traditional money box at the end of the sanctuary is increasingly out of place.
Table of contents
- What is Online Giving?
- Why Should Churches Use Online Giving?
- Why Shouldn’t Churches Use Online Giving?
- How Does Online Giving Work?
- How to Set up an Electronic Giving Solution
- How to Get More Donations
- Is Online Giving Biblical?
- What Online Giving Features Does Your Church Need?
- What is The Best Online Giving Service?
What is Online Giving?
Online giving is using digital platforms to receive donations and tithes from church members, visitors and any other source. Although this would include online bank transfers, it usually means using a web page, mobile app, or even phone number to provide easy to use and find donation portals.
Why Should Churches Use Online Giving
Online giving makes it easier for members to give and churches to collect contributions which helps both regular and spontaneous donations. Church members can start recurring giving and never have to worry about not taking enough cash out before going to church. When a spontaneous giving opportunity comes up, for example a visit from a mission partner, church members can access tools to give directly to that cause. These help the left hand not know what the right hand is giving.
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Why Shouldn’t Churches Use Online Giving?
Although Online giving brings many benefits, there are some reasons you should not use online giving at your church. Read this article to discover 9 of them.
How Do Online and Mobile Giving Work?
Online giving provides digital tools to give and receive donations. These tools can include online payment portals, mobile payment apps, text giving and even onsite kiosk giving.
For the giver, this means they have a plethora of options for how they want to give, at home and at church. For Churches, once set up, these tools will send donations to their bank account minus any processing or subscription fees. The most powerful giving platforms also have settings for seeing giving trends and seeing donations connected to profiles in ChMS.
How to Set up an Electronic Giving Solution
Before you set up your online giving solution, you need to make sure that you have all the key stakeholders onboard. If an influencial person isn’t backing you, you will be facing an uphill struggle.
You need to make a bulletproof case for church giving using all the data and evidence you can get. Once everyone is onboard, it’s time to find the right giving platform that gives you what you need, without charging too much.
With your solution identified, the only thing left to do is to put it in place. Depending on the exact solution, your set up may be quicker and easier or more time-consuming and difficult. There’s the setting within the platform which will include your bank details and possibly your church branding assets like the logo, and then there’s putting payment gateways where you need them.
You should provide a prominent “give“ button on your website so are designing for donations. You want an easy to find web address to direct people to, kiosks in your church (if that’s part of your need and solution) and connect to any integrations you will use.
You also want everyone who is speaking, or asking for donations to know how they can suggest people give and decided on a clear and simple call to action. While it’s great that you can offer many different payment methods, it can be overwhelming hearing all of them.
How to Get More Donations
More donations means more church funds for new and existing ministries. This isn’t about some legalistic act or manipulating people to give, but instead it is about helping cheerful givers have the ability to donate easily and showing the results of their giving.
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Is Online Giving Biblical?
Unsurprisingly, the Bible doesn’t have a direct answer as to whether online giving is okay or not. After all, it was written before the internet was around! It does, however, address giving in general and all these points can be applied to online giving.
Most of the Bible’s comments focus on the attitude of the giver.
- They should be willing and cheerful (2 Cor 9:7)
- It’s not about the amount, but the heart (Luke 20:21-24)
- It better to give than receive (Acts 20:35)
- We should give in accordance to our income (1 Cor 16:2)
These all apply to online giving as well. For churches, we need to be careful to strike the balance between encouraging cheerful giving and manipulating or getting lost in a prosperity gospel.
What Church Giving Features Do you Need?
Depending on your church size, the other tools and systems you use and not to mention how tech savvy your congregation, you may want different features.
Features can be broken down into two parts
- Giving options (online, text, mobile app, kiosk, more)
- extra features (ChMS integration, giving reminders, recurring giving, Multi-campus systems and more)
See more details of the various online giving features you may be interested in.
What is the best online giving service?
There are so many different online giving services out there making there a wide selection for churches to pick. There are three key criteria to look at.
- Giving features (is it just a web page or via text as well?
- Price (is there a subscription cost or does it charge for each donation)
- Integrations (does it connect to my Church Management System? Can I place it on my website?)
And if you are like me, living outside the US and UK, you will also need to check if it supports your currency.
Here are some of our reviews of online giving services.
We also recommend checking out Giving Fees website here to discover your best option.