10 Easy Ways to Social Distance AND Keep Giving Consistent
As many ministry leaders realized in the early days of COVID-19, online giving was made “for such a time as this.” We applaud those who took the step to digital giving who might never have seen the need before mandates to social distance.
But some have also learned that just having an online giving tool doesn’t mean people will use it. Just as other segments of the culture have been forced to think creatively and focus on their online strategy in order to survive, churches must do the same.
Here are 10 easy ways to encourage online giving while churches are dispersed (and even when they come back together again.)
REVIEW YOUR ONLINE GIVING EXPERIENCE
When was the last time you checked out the user-friendliness of your giving page and form? Believe it or not, this does impact gift completion.
The most important gift you receive this year could be the one you give to your own church. Approach it with a first-time giver mentality or accompany a first-time giver. Start at the home page and make notes:
- Is it easy to find the giving page?
- Does the giving page inspire you to learn more about the church or give more?
- Do givers have to create an account? (This is a major reason for gift abandonment.)
- How long does it take to fill out the form? (It should take just a few minutes.)
- Is there a limit to how much you can give? (Type in $100,000 to find out your platform’s limit)
- Where does your thank you email come from—the church or a third party? (Another major reason for gift abandonment.)
- Does the experience feel personal and convey a genuine sense of gratitude for your gift?
Even easier: Get this totally free giving experience check-up of your current system. It identifies over 60 items known to influence gift abandonment and the easy fixes.
GIVE CASH AND CHECK GIVERS A REASON TO VISIT YOUR ONLINE GIVING PAGE
Encourage online giving with one or more of these ideas:
- Most people have no idea that one method of giving is easier than another for your staff. During this time of social-distancing, let your givers know that they can drop off checks but that online gifts keep your staff from having to make a trip to the church to collect and deposit those gifts.
- Along the same lines, even if you’re holding services now, let givers know that handling paper currency is something most organizations are eliminating.
- While you’re at it, share that online giving helps churches avoid budget shortfalls when bad weather, vacations and pandemics affect in-person attendance. The budget doesn’t take a vacation.
- Remind them that online giving is the easiest way to get more consistent in the discipline of giving and receive the rewards of that obedience.
- Discover visual ministry gift designations. (Here’s a great example.) Vision2 is the only giving platform with visual ministry designations that inspire givers to get involved, learn more about the church, and select gift funds that are near and dear to their heart. (In contrast to an uninspiring drop-down form with a list of choices like General Fund, Mission Trips, and Building Fund.)
- You can use your visual ministry designations to introduce your members to all your ministries and special projects, which exposes non-online-givers to the ease and satisfaction of donating toward specific funds.
ENCOURAGE RECURRING GIVING
Did you know that recurring givers donate more over time, simply because of the consistency of their giving? Your online giving platform should allow you to customize the gift acknowledgment page (the screen givers see immediately after giving a gift) and their thank you email/receipt. Make sure both communications ask them if they’d like to simplify their future giving by setting up a quick and easy recurring gift schedule, with a link to do so.
BE CREATIVE WITH COMMUNICATIONS
Conversations about money are difficult, so consider these 7 best practices for talking about giving during a crisis. And there’s never a bad time to show your appreciation to your givers. You can’t do it too often or too enthusiastically. Try a video from the pastor in an email. Thank givers from the pulpit. Make sure every gift receipt and gift acknowledgment page sincerely conveys your gratitude with personalized messaging. Reach out to major givers by phone. Occasionally send handwritten thank you notes to all givers (like on #GivingTuesday, coming up in a few weeks) or in a year-end “2020 State of the Church” update.
GET TO KNOW YOUR GIVERS
What do you know about your members’ giving habits? What do you wish you knew?
Data can give you powerful visibility into your church’s financial picture beyond just offering totals. Unfortunately, with many reporting systems, you don’t always get useful, accurate or actionable insights.
This blogpost is about EASY ways to keep giving consistent and you may be thinking, “Reporting is NOT easy!” Generally, that can be true, if you haven’t checked out Vision2 Analytics. Whether you are someone who wants out-of-the-box reporting or a data guru who wants access to raw data from a data warehouse – or somewhere in between – this is the easiest way to become predictive and proactive about your church’s giving trends.
EXTRA CREDIT: Segmenting Your Communications
This one’s a little more complex, but if you’re really serious about engaging your givers effectively, it’s time to learn about email segmenting (sending relevant messages to givers based on their giving behavior rather than sending email blasts to the whole church). Download our Crisis Kit, which contains two helpful resources: a Step-by-Step Guide for Growing Your Online Giving During a Crisis, and How to Talk About Giving During a Crisis, which contains tips on communicating and sample messaging for every type of communication.
Free Giving Experience Audit
Our team will review your church’s online giving experience against 60 of the most common obstacles that get in the way of a giver’s generosity. We will then send you a detailed set of recommendations that will help you to reach your true giving potential.
Click here to Schedule your free Giving Experience Check-up now.