By Gina Calvert

5 Benefits of Online Giving for Churches

Baffled by all the options for online giving solutions or even whether the benefits of online giving for churches are worth it? With so many options and perhaps even personal experience with online giving that didn’t work out, it pays to revisit the foundations of our decisions.

1. Providing convenience and options for givers

Convenience is usually touted as the main reason for introducing online giving to your givers. And it’s true that making it easy to give anytime, anywhere is an important benefit of online giving for churches. Make sure you leverage this benefit by choosing a platform that is actually convenient and doesn’t commit the five deadly sins of online giving.

2. Protecting the offering by separating giving from physical attendance

With online giving, church budgets don’t fluctuate, even when gifts do. We used to think one of the most important benefits of online giving for churches was to minimize seasonal dips caused by summer vacations or inclement weather conditions. But work travel, illness (especially long-term or shut-in situations), and generally lower attendance have revealed that dips are not necessarily just seasonal anymore.

With the rise of live-streaming far beyond our own communities, not to mention a global pandemic that closed church doors for months, the benefits of online giving for churches to bridge physical distance have become even more widely recognized.

Plus, online giving offers something the offering plate doesn’t: Automated, recurring gifts. Recurring gifts are the best way to stabilize your budget. Many consistent givers take the possibility of missing a gift off the table by setting up their contributions to transact automatically. And Network for Good donation data shows that these givers give 42% more in a year than those who give one gift at a time.

3. Protecting funds and staff from fraud

Church fraud is more common than you may realize. It’s often due to the trusting nature of the church, a lack of accounting training and absence of internal controls. Ideally, online giving solves some challenges around fraud by reducing human error and the ease of taking advantage.

Unfortunately, this is not true of every online giving platform for churches. Many of them still require a surprising amount of manual data entry and allow creative workarounds that can put church funds—and staff—at risk.

Be sure to choose a solution that protects your staff and the church’s finances with a detailed audit trail that prevents anyone from changing transactions.

4. Gaining actionable insight into giving trends

All online giving platforms come with reporting. The purpose of data and analytics is not just to show us what is true, but to show us what we can do to improve. Unfortunately, many churches don’t know how to decipher their giving data or take action on it. Why? Because ministry leaders’ expertise isn’t in digital pathways or the basics of fundraising and giver journeys.

So churches let an online giving vendor slap a ‘give’ button on their website and then can’t understand why overall giving hasn’t increased. To avoid that scenario, choose a giving platform backed by a team of tech, giving and accounting experts whose job is to help you understand your data and then plan and execute digital and communication strategies for moving your givers to greater generosity.

5. Inspiring givers to get involved in more ways than just financially

Givers have a deep need to make an impact in the world. During the offering they may hear about what the church is doing and be inspired to give a gift (if they have any cash on them). But they may or may not extend that moment of generosity to dive deeper into the church’s ministries later.

An online giving system that allows you to visually demonstrate the impact of their gifts leverages that moment of inspiration. Choose a platform that makes it easy to inspire greater participation with emotional imagery and ministry descriptions similar to the kind of online experience they’re accustomed to. (Think Amazon, Expedia, and Netflix).

Unlike in-person giving, online giving lets churches engage givers individually. Inspiration and connection can be further stoked through personalized communications if churches insist upon owning their gift confirmation email, rather than letting the vendor handle this aspect of the giving experience (as most do).

How Vision2 Helps

Somewhere along the way, the intended benefits of online giving have been masked by limitations caused by the way giving platforms are built. Artificial barriers, limits, fees, contracts, and unloving practices and policies have muddied the waters about the true value of online giving.

With Vision2’s exciting new approach, our patented technology allows for giving without limits, and our team of experts ensures your platform lives up to the promised benefits of online giving for churches.