This guest article was written by Vision2, makers of church engagement and management tools.
There’s no question that your church’s members benefit from participating in your services, ministries, and programs each day. Managing your church means providing them with a community in which they can strengthen their relationships with one another and especially with God. Your members will feel more encouraged to give to a church community that provides them with so many valuable opportunities and resources.
To motivate giving to your church so that you can offer more programs to an even larger congregation, you’ll want to take every available opportunity to connect with your members. When you make giving easy for them and personalize your approach as much as possible, they’ll be happy to contribute.
Let’s take a look at how you can motivate giving to your church when you:
- Select the right church online giving platform.
- Offer multiple ways to give.
- Get your members involved in a fun event.
- Use your church’s website effectively.
- Keep track of your members’ giving preferences.
As more and more individuals become comfortable making their contributions online, it’s essential that your church offers this convenient giving method to your congregation. Increased giving to your church begins with choosing the right church online giving platform to suit the needs of your church and your members.
1. Select the right church online giving platform.
It doesn’t matter if your church is just getting started with online giving or if you’ve been offering your members this option for a while now, you can always improve the process dramatically by using the right church online giving platform. Choose a software solution that addresses your members’ interests and needs and accommodates your church’s size.
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An online giving platform for churches invariably includes the church website’s giving pages, but it’s also so much more than that. To increase giving to your church, you should select a comprehensive software solution that provides your members with plenty of electronic giving options and also:
- Features multi-site giving capabilities. At large churches with multiple campuses, members are going to want to give to the particular campus at which they worship. If you’re a multi-campus church, make sure that you choose an online giving platform that not only makes giving to specific campuses easy for members but also enables your finance team to easily process those gifts.
- Integrates with your existing software systems. It’s likely that you’re already using a church management system (CMS or ChMS) to keep information on your members organized and an accounting system to manage your church’s finances. Adopting a new church online giving platform doesn’t mean you have to give these systems up or spend time manually transferring important information. Choose an online giving platform that integrates with your existing system to save your team time.
- Creates gift acknowledgments. While you may wish to send your members multiple forms of acknowledgments or thanks after they give, make sure your software platform can generate gift acknowledgments directly after members give. Look for a platform that allows you to personalize these acknowledgments.
With a software solution that facilitates giving for both your members and your church’s team, you’re sure to increase giving to your church. Make sure that you choose a system that makes contributing convenient for your members by offering them multiple ways to give.
2. Offer multiple ways to give.
Just as the different ministries and programs that your church offers appeal to various members of your congregation, different giving methods will appeal to them as well. You’ll encourage more members to give—and give more frequently—when you use your church online giving platform to offer them multiple ways of doing so.
Want to reach your members at church events, after services, and wherever they may be? Look for a software system that offers giving options that are accessible on-the-go, including:
- Online giving. Ensure that your online giving page is easy to use and featured prominently on your website so that your members will have no trouble finding it. A mobile-responsive website and giving page will encourage additional giving.
- Mobile giving. Most of us take our smartphones wherever we go, so your church’s members are sure to appreciate mobile giving capabilities. You can encourage them to make gifts via mobile during church events or after especially inspiring services, for instance.
- Text-to-give service. One of the easiest and most convenient giving methods around, text-to-give works when your members text a shortcode to a designated giving number for your church. This initiates their gift, which they can then complete in seconds. You can visit Vision2 to learn more about church giving software that includes text-to-give service.
In addition to these easy-to-use electronic forms of giving, you’ll want to make sure that your software solution is also capable of helping your church’s team process gifts made through traditional methods such as cash and check. For many of your members, these traditional forms of giving will be closely tied to the meaning of the gift itself.
However your members choose to give, they’re sure to be motivated to contribute when your church invites them to share in fellowship and fun at an event for your congregation.
3. Get your members involved in a fun event.
One of the main reasons your members join your church is to become part of a community of fellow worshippers. Your church can bring them closer together, promote good work in your wider community, and encourage the giving that makes it all possible by hosting a church fun event.
A fun event is an excellent opportunity for your members to meet each other and learn more about your church’s current offerings as well as your goals for the future. To make the most out of these important components of the giving lifecycle, make sure that your church’s events:
- Bring members together. Members who feel a strong sense of community will be more likely to give to your church in support of new and expanded programs like those from which they have benefited in the past. Consider the demographics of your members carefully—their ages and whether or not they have children, for instance—to ensure that you choose an event they’ll all be excited to attend.
- Help your community. Church events can be even more significant when your members work together to help others in your wider community. Organize a service project for your members to participate in, and encourage additional giving to both that organization and your church.
- Share information about new ways to give. If your church has recently adopted a new online giving platform, an event presents an excellent opportunity to show your members the new giving opportunities they have. You may also wish to combine your event with a creative fundraiser to have fun and encourage giving to your church at the same time.
When your members enjoy their experiences meeting one another and growing closer to God through service work, they’ll be motivated to continue their support for your church. You can make this more convenient for them—and encourage giving in the process—by using your website effectively.
4. Use your church’s website effectively.
Your church’s website serves two different, yet equally important, purposes. For your members, it’s a hub for information through which they know they’ll find updates on your church’s latest projects. For those who aren’t yet members, your website helps spread your church’s mission and encourages visitors to become a part of it. When your church website is engaging, members will be motivated to give and others will be inspired to join your congregation.
Whether your church is planning to create a new website or you’re updating your current one, your goal is a clean, modern-looking site that engages visitors with multiple types of content and directs them to the giving page. You can gain inspiration from top websites in the nonprofit sector here.
To create or makeover your website in a way that will encourage your members to give back to the church community they value, ensure that you use the site to:
- Engage members with more opportunities. Sending some of your members on a mission trip? Starting up a service project in your community? Provide more information on developments within your church community on a prominent place on your website, such as your homepage. This way, members will be encouraged to participate and to come back to the site to give.
- Spread your mission. Your website presents the opportunity to share your church’s mission with site visitors in your wider community and around the world. When you show them the good work you’re doing, many of them will be inspired to visit your church and potentially become members who give.
- Create an easy location for convenient giving. A well-designed online giving page features your church’s recognizable brand elements and doesn’t require members to fill out too many fields when they complete it. A more efficient giving process increases the likelihood that members will give more frequently.
Whether they give online or through another of the channels your church offers, your members will be more motivated to give when they’re encouraged to do so according to their own demonstrated and expressed preferences.
5. Keep track of your members’ giving preferences.
Because your members tend to be long-term participants within your church community, you’ll be reaching out to them multiple times to encourage their support for your various ministries and programs. With the help of your church online giving platform, take note of your members’ giving preferences so that your outreach is more effective.
To gather the information your church’s team needs to reach out to members according to their specific giving preferences, make sure that you select an online giving platform that:
- Features self-service member portals. Members can log in to these portals to manage their giving and review records of their past gifts. The information they add will appear automatically in your member database when your church integrates your software systems.
- Offers recurring giving options. Church members typically make recurring gifts, and you can make the process easier for them by allowing them to set their recurring gifts automatically using your online giving platform. This way, they can be assured that they’re providing continued support to the church community that benefits them.
- Stores preferred channel, preferred campus, and other important information in your church management system. Your church’s member database is likely already a valuable software solution for your team. Keep supplementing it with more information as your members use your online giving platform to make their contributions. When your systems are integrated, this process is automatic.
As giving online becomes increasingly common, choosing the right online giving platform and making the best possible use of it are essential to maintaining and increasing giving to your church. You can check out this guide to online tithing best practices from Vision2 to learn more about how you can make the most of online giving opportunities.
When you provide your members with plenty of convenient giving options and make clear connections between their gifts and the good work your church does for your members and the wider community, they’ll be happy to make recurring contributions.
Your church depends on the generosity of your members to grow your community and share your mission with the wider world. With the help of some useful software solutions and a continued focus on your message, you’ll encourage giving that allows your church to make the positive impact you work toward each day.