Donations coming in through online giving is becoming the new normal for a lot of churches across the country. The COVID-19 pandemic forced a lot of late adopters of online giving to take a leap of faith into this technology and add it to their giving strategy just to survive the nationwide shutdown.
A lot of churches find early success when launching online giving while some fail to see growth in their online donor base because of a lack of participation. The difference between churches that succeed and the ones that don’t, really boils down to how online giving is promoted during the pre and post-launch of the service.
To help make sure you fall into the success category when it comes to online giving, we will cover 6 tips on how to successfully launch and market online giving to your church congregation.
1) Promote It Like It Is Your Grand Opening
Get out of the gate fast by thinking like a business and put together a promotional plan to educate your members about what you are doing, why you are doing it, how it impacts your organization, and when it gets started. These are important questions that you need to answer and if you start laying the foundation early you will build momentum to your launch date. Below are some ways that you can promote the launch of your new online giving service:
1) Incorporate a quick mention into your announcements or before the offering every week
2) Highlight the new online giving option in your bulletin
3) Send out an email blast
4) Promote on your social media pages
5) Place flyers on your information table or brochure rack
2) Set The Example
Early adopters will follow the example set by the leadership. Encourage all the leaders within your ministry to give online and ask them to talk up the new platform. A great way to encourage usage is to create a 60-second video that features the church leaders talking about donating online and how easy it is.
3) Make It Part of Your Process
Avoid making the mistake of launching your new online giving service behind a strong promotional plan and then never talk about it again post-launch. If you lay the foundation early by talking it up during announcements or when it is time for the offering, then the conversation will become routine. This will ensure that your online giving option stays top of mind for your members and you will see adoption increase.
Also, make sure that your social media coordinator incorporates some information about online giving into their post schedule. This activity can include the use of images, videos, or simple reminders.
4) Don’t Hide Your Giving Button or Link
I see a lot of websites and I am always surprised at the number of churches that bury their online giving button in the middle of the home page on a sidebar or in the footer navigation. Make it easy for people to support your church by placing your donate button in your main header navigation or the home page banner area above the fold.
Do not forget that if a person visits your website then they are most likely looking for something and the role of your home page is to provide them with your most important information. How someone can donate to your organization is important.
Example of an easy to locate donate button donate
5) Talk Up The Benefits
Get buy-in from your membership by letting them know what the benefits are by giving online. This information can be delivered verbally during announcements and visually by posting the benefits in your announcements and on your website. The goal here is to build a comfort level with the new service and people will feel good about participating if they have confidence that it is a good thing for the church. Some benefits that you can highlight are:
a) Ease of use because online giving can be accessed anywhere and anytime
b) Faster gift processing which really means fewer trips to the bank and quicker reconciliation
c) More security because you are handling less cash or checks on your premises
6) Make Sure It Is Mobile Friendly And Easy To Use
You want to make sure that you donate page is mobile friendly so that you don’t frustrate donors that are visiting your website on their mobile phones or tablets. According to research by emarketer, adults spend up to 3 hours a day on their smartphones and all that time accounts for 56% of all mobile web traffic. With the amount of time people spend on their phones and tablets, it is important that donate pages or your website are designed to cater to this type of web traffic and interaction.
Below are some examples of the OUR online giving pages on different devices. The center image demonstrates how the online giving page looks on a desktop device. The right image shows the online giving page rendering to a tablet and the left image displays how the OUR online giving page breaks down nicely on an iPhone. All three examples are clean and easy to navigate which helps increase conversions. If you currently have an online giving page, take a look at it on different devices to see how it looks and how easy it is to make a donation.