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10 Ways to Increase Mobile and Online Giving

Written by Paul Steinbrueck

Many churches and Christian ministries are setting up online giving systems to help their members and donors give more quickly, easily and consistently.  However, many of these organizations’ members and donors are not making use of the online giving options available to them.

Online giving can increase dramatically by increasing awareness, encouraging its use, and showing people how to give online.

We’ve found that when a church leader fully supports mobile giving, and the staff follows a robust rollout program, they’ll see at least a 10% increase in giving over a six month period. –Tithe.ly

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OurChurch.Com has partnered with Tithe.ly to offer YODA (Your Online Donation App).  We’ve worked with Tithe.ly to put together this list of recommendations specifically for the YODA/Tithe.ly system.

10 Ways to Increase Mobile and Online Giving

1)  Start with why – When telling people about your online giving system, always show how online giving will help your organization achieve it’s purpose.  Online giving is easy and convenient, but more than that online giving increases overall giving because people can give anytime even if they don’t have cash or a checkbook with them.  Setting up automated recurring giving means no missed weeks or months.  When your church or ministry has the resources it needs, it can live out its mission.  It’s all about your mission!!!

2) Bust the fee myths – From the feedback we’ve received, many church members are aware of their church’s online giving options but don’t use it because they want to save the church the processing fees.  While we applaud the heart behind this sentiment, our data shows online giving increases overall giving even among most faithful givers.  Why?

The fee for processing bank transactions is only 1%.  Let’s say a faithful supporter writes a check every week. Chances are there will be at least one week over the course of an entire year where they miss because of sickness or travel and forget to make it up.  If that person has recurring giving setup to ensure that one donation is not missed will more than makeup for the transaction fees.

Similarly, the credit card transaction fee is only 3%, which is more than made up for if a faithful giver were to otherwise miss 2 Sundays in an entire year.

Your most faithful givers might say they never miss, but trust us, the data shows it happens to just about everyone.

3) Train leadership first – Make sure the leaders of your organization are onboard before you announce it to everyone.  Answer any questions they have.  Make sure they know how to give and setup online giving.  You want the people who are most influential in your organization to be enthusiastic about online giving and able to help others start giving online.

4) Pre-launch to let your church/supporters know its coming  – Once you’ve processed your leaders’ feedback and have their buy-in, introduce the concept of mobile giving to your congregation or supporters. Mention you’ll offer a mobile/online giving option soon. Show screenshots or a video of what it will look like. Have fun doing it.

5) Go big on launch day – Have your senior or executive pastor make a big announcement during the Sunday service(s) and demonstrate how easy it is to give on your website or mobile app. Send out an email afterwards.

6) Encourage use of the app and recurring giving – While people can donate through your website, they have to enter their credit card or bank information every time they do that.  The best way to help people give

7) Mention mobile/online giving every time you receive an offering – Not everyone is going to be there for the big launch, so every time your church receives an offering, say something like, “You can also give on our website at yourchurch.org/give or download the tithe.ly app and select [yourchurch] when you setup your account. You’re welcome to pull out your smartphone and do that right now.”

8) Show online giving info on a slide every time you receive an offering – You’ll get the best results when you combine visual and verbal information.

9) Give permission to give online during the worship service – Some people and churches look down on people using their phones during church.  If this is the culture at your church, you may need to specifically say, “It’s ok to pull out your phone right now, during the service to give your offering online.”

10) Include a “Give” link at the bottom of every email you send – They say people have to hear or see something 7 times before they remember it.  If that’s the case, sending out one email to let supporters know about online giving is not going to get a lot of people on board.  We recommend adding a small link to the bottom of every e-newsletter or email you send.  You don’t want to make it seem like you’re constantly asking for money, but just let people know if they’d like to support you, click the link to do it.

For more detailed guidance, check out Tithe.ly’s awesome Definitive Guide to Mobile Giving.

Comments and Questions?

  • Does your church/ministry offer online giving? If so, how widely is it being used?
  • Which of the recommendations above have you implemented? Which will you implement?

About the author

Paul Steinbrueck

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

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