Online Giving: Reboot

I thought it might be interesting to check-in with customers who had launched online giving in the past year and ask one question:

“If you could go back and launch your online giving program again, what would you do differently?”

What I learned reinforced the importance of effectively launching an online giving program. Fortunately, you can do this at any time. We recommend you reboot your online giving as we move into autumn. It’s a great time to encourage donors to setup recurring gifts so that their donations continue to show up automatically, even if they’re at the lake or on vacation. It is also the time to review your online giving solutions account’s settings to make sure everything  is accurate and current.

Address Those Concerns (if any)

When launching your online giving program, it’s important to consider your donor base and list some of the objections or hurdles they may face with online giving. This list will be very helpful as you consider how to address those concerns within your overall campaign.

Below are a few of the common concerns or objections churches can face:

Is online giving secure?

To address security, let your donors know that security was a priority when choosing a provider. MinistryLINQ was an easy choice as we are a Level 1 PCI Compliant Service Provider. This means we meet the highest standards of security and compliance as set forth by the Card Brands. Since 2000, we have chosen to serve ministries and churches across the US and Canada – we understand the heart of your organization.

Are there concerns with offering credit cards as a payment method for tithes?

As the use of cash and paper checks dwindles, it is important to accommodate those that have traded in these traditional forms of payment for credit and debit cards. Plastic – if you will – is the new standard. Many already pay bills with their credit and debit cards: utilities, cable, internet, etc… Many are probably already supporting  other nonprofit organizations using a card: sponsoring a child overseas or supporting a local charity.

Another point to consider is Rewards Cards – many use a credit card that offer points or air miles.  Every dollar counts towards that next vacation trip to the beach or maybe to visit the grand kids.

Some are concerned that offering credit cards would somehow communicate that you are encouraging debt. Many have addressed this perceived concern by simply posting a statement to their website communicating the responsible use of their card. This is a great way to make your concern known and reinforce that it is the donors’ choice and responsibility to use their card wisely.

Online giving sounds complicated…

An easy way to address this is to show a quick walk through of your Giving Page on Sunday morning. You could have it play prior to the service with your other on-screen announcements, or you may carve out 5 or 10 minutes in your service to highlight online giving. Having someone from your leadership speak to the reasons for offering online giving, addressing those potential concerns and then demonstrating how easy it is to use makes for a very powerful promotion.

I don’t want to setup a gift online because I like to change it from time to time. I’d like to do that myself.

Be sure to highlight the power of a Donor Profile – the donor is in charge and in control. While you can always manage your donors’ transactions from within your online giving solution, many donors prefer to have the control themselves. Donor Profiles allow for a donor to edit, cancel, or add donations at any time. It’s easy and convenient.

With your list of potential concerns and informed responses outlined, you have a targeted approach for promoting your online giving program.

Promoting Online Giving Can Be Informative – Not a Sales Pitch

Many realized that once they started to talk about online giving with consistency, they saw the adoption rate and overall dollar volume increase as well. While all the points outlined below may not fit for your organization, here are some tid-bits to consider:

  • The adoption rate for online giving is low if you do not promote it. If you are a church, you probably have a point in your service where you take an offering. Use this time to remind people that they can give online. They can pull out their phone, go to your website, click on your [Donate] button and give right then and there. Invite them to do so if that is how they choose to give. “As we take the offering, if you prefer to give online, feel free to use your phone and visit our website.” It can be as simple as that!
  • Put your website address on your tithe envelopes as well as in your bulletin – remind them that “Online Giving is Available at”
  • For a more tech savvy approach, you could put a QR code on your bulletin that links to your Giving Page.
  • Create a presentation to introduce online giving that walks your donors through submitting  a gift. Create a Profile and then login to your Profile for the congregation to show them how easy it is!
  • Have someone from your congregation come up and share why they love online giving and speak to the benefits they have experienced from using it.
  • Remind them of the payment options available: Credit/Debit Cards and eChecks.
  • Let them know how this helps the church: recurring gifts ensure that the tithe is there even if you’re not (i.e., sick, vacation, maybe attending “bedside baptist”)
  • Your administrative staff does not have to prepare a deposit for online transactions, they are sent automatically to your bank.
  • Encourage people who have setup Bill Pay to move their recurring gifts to your online giving program. This reduces the need to deposit the check their banks sends to you.

I encourage you to read our previous post on online giving promotion for practical ways to get the word out. We also talked about streamlining your Giving Page and the ability to leverage the use of multiple Giving Pages. All of these articles are packed with best practices to help your online giving program succeed. We hope all of these article equip you and your team with some ideas to consider when introducing (or reintroducing) a successful online giving program.

Online Giving Solution Housekeeping – Time to Review Your Account’s Settings

We recommend you review your online giving solution’s account settings once a quarter just to be sure your settings are current. There are always staffing changes to consider, maybe your branding has changed and you are working with a new logo; either way, you’ll want to be sure it is up to date.

Below are some areas you should review on your account – once a quarter is not a bad idea just to be sure your information is current:

Are your Users current?

We recommend taking a moment to review your online giving solution’s Users. If you’ve had any staff changes as of late, you will want to make sure those changes are reflected:

  • If you have colleagues using your online giving solution who do not have their own User account (AKA: sharing a logins), now is the time to create a User of their own.  This is very important and is a basic rule of system security.
  •  Are there Users listed who are no longer with your organization?  Now is the time to delete those users who are no longer with your organization or who no longer need access.

How do your Giving Pages look?  Do they match your website?

When is the last time you looked at your Giving Page on your website? If it’s been awhile, go take a look. How does your Giving Page look in comparison to your organization’s website? A consistent look and feel is so important to retain your donors’ confidence as they give. If your Giving Page looks completely different from your website, they could have concerns that they have be redirected somewhere they didn’t intend to go.  You want to be sure to remove anything that might cause hesitation from the donor to pause or interrupt their flow as they donate online.

Reboot your online giving today: encourage your donors to setup recurring gifts, share with them how important recurring gifts are to your organization. Review your online giving solution settings and make sure they are current and you have leveraged the power of its features.  Make the most of the online giving solution you have invested in, let it do the heavy lifting for you.

The DonateQ software makes it easy for you to accept donations online. DonateQ offers multiple giving pages, the ability to set recurring donations, store donor accounts and more. For more information on DonateQ, please visit our web site here.