Chances are, you’ve been involved in an online transaction within the last month. For many people, it’s probably been more recent than that. More and more people are becoming accustomed to buying, banking, shopping, and donating online. So much so, that a lot of people don’t even carry cash or checks anymore. They use their cards at the store and their cards online.
As the world of financial transactions goes increasingly electronic, churches looking to exit the stone age and enter the information age need a good online giving solution that works well for their community.
Giving trends and payment methods will vary with church demographics. But at this point in time, there is no doubt that somebody in your church wants to give online. Removing the barriers of giving with a solution that integrates with your church management software is a fast track to financial stability. Your church giving will, statistically, increase and become more consistent after successfully implementing an online giving solution.
When selecting a church giving solution there are a few questions you need to ask yourself.
What will this new solution offer to the church body and members?
Each body of believers is unique. You know yours best. What features would they want? Will they use it primarily on mobile devices? Will it ease security concerns of those members who are wary of donating online? Can people setup recurring giving, make pledges, and donate goods as well as money?
Is it compatible with our church management software?
Collecting giving information is almost as important as collecting the gift itself. Quarterly and annual reports are a helpful tool and church management software will easily let you create and send reports. Some online giving tools can be embedded right on your current website, allowing even more synchronization. The key is to make workflows simple and avoid information silos.
Is it easy for everyone to use?
You’ll want a solution that doesn’t take long for donors to setup. Preferably, something similar to the church management or volunteer scheduling software you already use, that your people are familiar with. Can people access it on mobile devices as well as from their desktop? Removing the barriers and hassles of use will allow for easy on-boarding of new givers.
Don’t only try to discover what you want. You’ll also need to look out for a few things that might impede your ministry. You’ll want to consider the fees involved. You might need to adjust your budget accordingly, but by most accounts, the increase in giving from utilizing an online solution will outweigh card processing fees. Also, various giving solutions pay out the contributions at different intervals. Choosing one that allows you access to the funds in a timely, consistent manner is great benefit.
Setting up a new online giving solution doesn’t have to be that difficult, but you should do your research to make sure it’s the right fit for your church. The church across town might need a solution that functions differently than yours, so don’t compare your church to theirs. Consider what will work the best for your people, what will give them assurances and convenience, and go with your gut on what will be the most well received. Your people will thank you for it and your treasurer will appreciate it.