If you’re a church that made it through the COVID-19 pandemic without offering online ways for your members to give, you more than likely saw a decrease in your contributions while your church doors were closed. And now you’re researching the many options for how to receive church tithes online.
We know there are many options available, however, we aren’t all the same. While many solutions offer online giving, they fail to realize the importance of offering a seamless experience for your contributors and your staff. When thinking of what you’re looking for in an online giving solution, some questions you should be looking to answer are:
- Will the form fit the look and feel of our church, or is it generic for all churches who use it?
- Can I offer more than one online giving form, or are my options limited when offering online giving for multiple ministries?
- Will contributors have to complete the online giving form multiple times to give to multiple funds?
- Do online contributions flow into my church management solution?
Will the form fit the look and feel of our church, or is it generic for all churches who use it?
While other solutions give you the option to upload your logo or edit the main color of the giving form, we know your church branding goes a bit deeper. Online presence is as important as ever, and you’ve worked to create a cohesive presence throughout your website and social media pages. That cohesiveness shouldn’t be sacrificed when adding online giving to your website.
When you create a new online giving form in Realm, you’ll walk through customization options that allow you to add a title, subheading, intro message, and image. You can choose from color selections provided for your form, or enter in custom HEX color codes to perfectly match your church branding. Plus, select style options such as dark mode and which font style best fits your ministry.
Even add a custom “thank you” message your contributors will see when they submit their online gift to add a personal touch.
Can I offer more than one online giving form, or are my options limited when offering online giving for multiple ministries?
Your church isn’t made up of only one ministry. Instead, you have multiple ministry areas such as children and youth, music, missions, and more. How are you currently collecting offerings made for those specific ministries?
Some solutions give you the option to offer different funds as choices when a contributor is making an online gift. And while we also do that in Realm, we know many ministries may be lost in a long list of available funds on your general giving form. This is where we felt the need to provide you with being able to create as many giving forms as you need. You can customize each one for your specific ministries and add to each ministry page on your website. For example, create an International Missions form and include a memo option with your missionaries listed. Contributors can choose which missionary they specifically want their offerings to go towards.
Will contributors have to complete the online giving form multiple times to give to multiple funds?
Your contributors don’t want to be boxed in with their donations. They pray over their tithes and offerings and should be given the opportunity to donate where God leads them without an overly difficult process in doing so.
For instance, I always donate my tithes to the Budget Fund. Sadly, a dear friend passed away recently and I would like to make an offering in memory of her. I would like to make both gifts online since I won’t be in worship this week to give in person.
Three common roadblocks contributors face when giving online if you don’t choose a giving provider that understands this situation are:
- They can’t split donations.
- They can’t choose from a list of funds.
- They can’t write memos if needed for a specific fund.
Realm eGiving understands the need and removes those roadblocks by allowing contributors to give to multiple funds all within the same giving form online. Your givers won’t need to complete the form twice. And they won’t have to worry about making offerings to specific funds only with cash or checks. You designate which funds they can choose from, and which funds need to have memos. Memos can be a predefined list of choices or you can allow givers to write in the memo, such as who they would like to remember when giving a memorial.
Do online contributions flow into my church management solution?
While we encourage you to think of the contributor’s experience when choosing an online giving solution, you should also consider how that solution impacts your staff. How much time do they spend manually entering gifts or running imports and exports from your giving solution to your church management solution? Are there errors in your bookkeeping due to common mistakes made when depending on manual entry? Do your contributions work well with your accounting software, or are there even more imports and exports to handle gifts between the two?
Realm is a total church management solution, meaning your contributions automatically flow into Realm Contributions. Your staff will see the contributions in real-time, plus your givers can view their contributions on their profiles online or through the Realm Connect mobile app.
Realm Accounting is fully integrated with Realm Contributions, allowing you to post contribution batches directly to General Ledger. You can link your giving funds to your General Ledger, and control which batches automatically post and which ones you want to handle yourself.
Of course, there are a few other questions you should consider when choosing an online giving solution. So let’s answer those as well.
Is recurring giving available online? Recurring giving is one of the most effective ways for your contributors to be faithful in their tithes, and for you to budget and plan ahead. Realm eGiving allows contributors to set recurring gifts for every week, every 2 weeks, every month, twice a month, and every 3 months. They can manage their recurring gifts online through Realm or in the Realm Connect mobile app.
Is it a hassle for guests to give online? When guests visit your church, they may feel led to make a gift to your church or a specific ministry they connected to while there. This shouldn’t mean they have to create a login with your church management solution or only be able to give through check or cash (which means you probably lose their gift if they don’t have cash or check on hand). Realm eGiving allows guests to give online or through text without needing to create a log in. The option to do so is available, but not pushed upon your guests.
We hope these questions help you begin to evaluate which giving solution best fits your needs. With over 40 years of experience working with nearly 50,000 ministry partners, we built Realm eGiving with your ministry in mind. And being a true partner, we work with you to implement online giving and provide free resources to help you launch Realm eGiving to your church.
Still unsure if online giving is right for your church? Check out Don’t Be Left Behind for more information on how to receive church tithes online.
Leigh Ann Shelley joined the ACST team in 2019 as a Product Marketing Manager, overseeing the launch and overall communication of key solutions to support the church’s needs. Prior to joining ACST, she spent several years in communications and graphic design roles, most notably as a Communications Director for a large church in Florence, SC, where she leveraged Realm to help solve key ministry challenges.