If there’s anything that 2020 has shown us, it is that online is here to stay. Moving into 2021 with plenty of suddenly-acquired technical knowledge and experience for running church online has been a real boon to many churches, but the worry still remains – if people aren’t physically coming through the door, what happens to the giving?
Giving from the congregation has always been a major part of the funding for most churches, and a drop in giving could spell the end for some. Online giving is the way forward, but it isn’t always simple – so here are a few simple ways to boot online giving.
Use a Button or Link
When people land on your church home page, they’re sure to see a “welcome” message. If they’re there to give, they want to be able to find the giving form easily, and so a “donate now” or “click to give” button that sends them directly to the form will be helpful.
This can link to the form that is further down the homepage or to a dedicated giving page. In either case, make sure to…
Use an Embedded Form
When people visit your church website and see the opportunity to give, they may just go ahead and do it. If you direct them to the site from your online service, they will also be willing to give, but the old internet marketing rules apply – if they have to click through to multiple pages before they can get down to the business of giving, they’ll click away before they’ve finished.
What does that mean? The more they have to look around for the giving form, the less likely they are to give.
Why Embedded Forms Increase Gifts – Church Branding
When the form is in the middle of the page, surrounded by things that people identify as your church, they’ll be happy to proceed. They’ll know they are in the right place, and they’ll be confident the money is going to the right people – if they have to click a link to be diverted to another site, the confidence level will drop. This is essentially branding, as they recognise your church “brand” and want to support it.
Embedded forms = higher confidence = increased giving
Keep it Simple
Only ask for the required details on your giving form – usually donation amount, name, address, perhaps email/phone number. Don’t ask a million other questions, don’t recommend a video showing your work, and don’t force anyone to do this thing or that thing – they’re here to give, not satisfy you need for attention.
Give the Option for Repeated Giving
One-off donations are nice, but how about a fiver a month? If you can include the option to make it a regular donation, go for it – people are often willing to give regularly if it requires no action from them. Generally speaking, we’re all lazy and absent-minded, so if we can forget about doing something, we will!
Advertise – Use Online Marketing
If you use Facebook Ads for your church, or Google Ads with the AdWords for non-profits credit, you can point people to your giving page easily. Don’t blow a big budget on Facebook though, or your fundraising activities will be seriously derailed.
Search engines are rapidly moving toward a mobile-first methodology, and you should do the same. The majority of devices connecting to the internet on a daily basis are mobile, so ensure that your giving form displays correctly and works on phone screens, tablets, and other mobile devices too.
Tell People About Giving
At live services, online services, church newsletters, and anywhere else, remember to tell people that they can give online. If they don’t know, they don’t know.
And don’t forget to tell them what their donation will help to achieve, the projects it will go towards, and the expected outcomes – even if it is only to keep the church running.