The Worst Advice We’ve Heard About Online Giving

First off, let’s just say that most advice is given with good intention.  However, there are times where advice and modes of operation are just wrong.  It’s never easy to admit and changing can be even harder.  Below is a short list of some of the bad advice/habits we’ve heard from some nonprofits, churches, and ministries as it relates to online giving.  If you find some of these apply to you or your organization, we encourage you to embrace the opportunity to grow and change.  We’re here for you!

“We don’t promote online giving.  We don’t want to sound greedy.”

As a nonprofit it is not greedy to inform others how they can support your organization.  The very fact they are available for communication indicates they are interested in you.  Without donations you don’t exist, so don’t withhold the information that keeps you thriving an alive!

Churches: this applies to you, too.  If sharing that online giving is available feels uncomfortable, address those who are already giving financially.  Those who don’t give will gain some additional information should they decide to become givers.   It can be as simple as:

“We wanted to remind those of you who are supporting us financially that online giving is available.  We recently added a new area of giving for [name of important cause/project/etc…].  You can quickly and securely setup a one-time or recurring gift to help us continue to [your mission statement.]  We don’t exist without your support, so thank you for you generous partnership with us.”

You might also enjoy: 4 Reasons Nonprofits Don’t Need a Website


“Who brought me to the dance?… They’re around here somewhere…”

When is the last time you reached out to your ongoing supporters and said, “Thank you!”?  It’s easy to get fixated on new donor acquisitions but never forget who brought you to the dance.  Take time this year to personally thank your ongoing supporters with a phone call or a hand written note to let them know their support matters and you appreciate them.  Don’t ask for anything else – just let them know they are appreciated and what they do for you matters.

Check Out: Sage Advice From Nana: Donor Stewardship


“We have online giving… No, I’ve never used it.”

Poll your staff and find out how many of your colleagues have seen your online giving page.  Do they know what options are available?  One-time gifts? Recurrings?  Can you submit a donation to a specific cause?  These questions matter because your staff is the face of your organization and there should be no hesitation when a potential supporter asks about online giving options.  You need your staff to be competent and confident about your online giving program.  They need to be able to speak to with with assurance when current or new donors have questions about how to get involved.


“We don’t offer American Express/eChecks/Credit Cards.”

You never  want a donor to walk away from giving because you don’t offer their preferred payment method.  It’s the same thing as someone handing you money and saying, “Sorry, we don’t accept that.”  It’s shocking.  Yes, there are fees associated with accepting different payment types.  However, a donation of any amount is better than no donation at all.  Give your donors a full range of payment options.  They have come to expect this from any other organization they do business with and you should be no different.  Meet their expectations and gladly accept their generous donation no matter how they prefer to process that transaction.