The Smart Buyer’s Guide to Choosing Church Giving Software
Church giving provides your congregants with the opportunity to support the community that facilitates their spiritual development. It’s their generosity that allows for the continuation and expansion of the programs that have helped bring them closer to God as well as the growth of your church.
You can make giving convenient and easy for your congregants by selecting church online giving software that helps them support your church and the programs that matter to them. Church giving software adapts the best features of nonprofit donation tools to the specific needs of churches, keeping the focus on building your church’s community and enriching the spiritual lives of your individual parishioners.
To find the best giving software solution for your church, you’ll want to ask yourself a few key questions to ensure you make the right choice. We’ll introduce you to the basics of online giving software for churches, answering the questions:
- What is church giving software (and what will it do for my church)?
- What distinguishes giving software designed especially for churches?
- Can church giving software integrate with the systems my church is already using?
- How does online giving software make processing gifts easier for my church?
- What additional features should I look for when choosing church giving software?
Church giving software makes it easy for your church to manage gifts and encourages your congregants to strengthen their relationships with their church community. Let’s begin by answering the most foundational question: What is church giving software?
1. What is church giving software (and what will it do for my church)?
Church giving software solutions are online platforms that facilitate giving to your church as well as process and report on the gifts that your congregants make. Church giving software addresses your members’ wishes to support your church using a method that is both convenient and meaningful.
It’s almost certain that many of your congregants are used to making regular gifts toward your church in the forms of tithes or offerings. Using church giving software, they can automate their recurring gifts so that they can always be sure of their continued support for your church.
At the same time, your church giving software can help your church encourage giving and manage incoming gifts for specific projects, from children’s programs to mission trips to the expansion of your place of worship.
Because your church is involved in multiple projects at once to serve the various interests of your community, church giving software allows you to manage multiple campaigns simultaneously so that you can track your progress toward all of your goals.
While your congregants are alike in their dedication to your church and their willingness to support the continuation and growth of your church community, it’s likely that they differ in their preferred communication and giving methods. Church giving software helps you reach out to each of your members by facilitating multiple giving options, including:
- Online giving
- Mobile giving
- Text-to-give service
- Check scanning and processing
- Cash envelope scanning and processing
Because your church values each of your members, you’ll be able to communicate with them and thank them for their gifts using their preferred channels, including email and text. As smartphones increasingly become an indispensable part of our daily lives, you can use your church giving software to incorporate them into your communications and outreach.
Your congregants give because they value the programs your church has provided them and the ways in which you have helped them grow closer to God. Church giving software establishes a spiritual focus and keeps the emphasis on your church’s good work so that your members know they’re giving to the community closest to their hearts.
2. What distinguishes giving software designed especially for churches?
Your church provides a community and a place for spiritual development for your members. When they give to your church, they view this as a way to ensure the community’s future and strengthen the relationship with God that your church facilitates for them. Church giving software helps you obtain the gifts you need to thrive and grow without compromising your central spiritual message.
Your congregants trust your church and want to give as directly as possible to the community and place of worship from which they benefit. With giving software, your church’s online giving form is customizable so that you can assure your members that they’re giving directly to your church and remind them of the good work you do!
To make giving convenient as well as trustworthy, your members won’t have to leave your church’s website to make their gifts. For the more tech-savvy individuals among your congregants, mobile and text-to-give options allow them to complete their gifts whenever they feel motivated to do so. After services and during events are great opportunities for giving on the go.
Church giving software also helps your church acknowledge your members individually for their generosity. You’ll be able to send your thanks via their preferred communication channel and recognize their contributions toward specific projects.
Every gift a congregant makes presents an opportunity for them to grow closer to your church community. Using your church giving software, you can tailor your acknowledgment message to speak to members with different histories of involvement with your church, from first-time givers to your most established recurring givers.
Have a large church with multiple campuses? Your members will want to give to their specific place of worship and you’ll want to be able to keep track of where gifts originate and where they are headed. Your church giving software’s multi-site giving option addresses both your church’s and your members’ needs, helping them give back to the locations that matter to them.
It’s likely that church giving software isn’t your church’s first implementation of technology. You’ll want to choose church giving software that integrates with the systems you already have in place.
3. Can church giving software integrate with the systems my church is already using?
Adopting church giving software doesn’t mean that your church will have to give up the software systems you’re already using to manage membership or finances. You also won’t have to start all over with a brand-new website that your congregants will find unfamiliar. Choose church giving software that integrates with your existing CMS, website, and other software.
Your website functions as your church’s home away from home, keeping members connected to your activities and your mission wherever they may go. Your website is also a primary location for giving, especially when you’re using it to keep members updated on your church’s current initiatives and projects.
Using your church giving software, you can create and add an online giving form to your existing website. The form makes giving convenient without redirecting your members away from your church’s familiar website and doesn’t require an online overhaul!
Your church is also most likely using a CMS (church management system) to facilitate communications with your members, planning and registration for events, and reports on attendance and congregation growth. The right church giving software adds valuable data to your existing CMS, integrating with the software solution you’re already using to provide additional reporting on giving patterns and progress.
Look for a church giving software platform that integrates with popular church management systems so that your church can gather more information and better serve your members as a result. Don’t have an extensive tech support team employed at your church? You can choose church giving software designed to integrate with your specific CMS to make setup easy for everyone involved.
Church giving software makes it easy for your members to give and for your church to track and direct their gifts toward the programs that matter to your congregation. With the right software, payment processing is made just as easy so that your members’ generosity can make an immediate impact on your church community.
4. How does online giving software make processing gifts easier for my church?
Church online giving software saves your team time and energy so that you can focus on spreading your mission and creating and running the programs that benefit your members. Your giving software also saves time for your congregants, who want to be able to complete their gifts quickly and from wherever they may be.
Members who make their gift online or via mobile can specify the campus or initiative toward which they would like to direct it. Your church giving software tracks not only the origin and size of the gift but also the project toward which it is headed. This way, you can see which campuses and projects your members are eager to support and which need more help to reach their goals.
While many of your congregants, especially millennials and other younger members, will be eager to take advantage of online and mobile giving opportunities, others may wish to give using more traditional methods. Church giving software facilitates all giving, including that which takes place offline in the form of checks and cash.
Check Scanning and Processing
Choosing a church giving software that offers check scanning makes processing gifts made via check as easy as possible. A simple scan captures all relevant information on the check and automatically uploads the gift to your contribution management platform.
When your church receives a check from a congregant who has given to your church in the past, this contribution will be automatically added to their record of giving to your church. To maximize giving opportunities, look for software that accepts multiple forms of checks and paper currency, from personal and business checks to money orders.
Already have a system in place for managing and organizing received gifts? Adopting church giving software doesn’t mean you have to give up your existing organizational system. You can group scanned checks and other gifts within your software system using the method that works best for your church.
Envelope Scanning and Cash
While online giving offers undeniable convenience and will encourage many of your members, giving in cash is reminiscent of participation in a traditional church collection or offering and continues to appeal to many congregants. Your church giving software not only processes cash gifts but also records your members’ intent by scanning the envelopes in which they arrive.
When your members give to your church in cash, they can indicate on the envelope where among your church’s several initiatives or projects they would like their gift directed. With your church giving software’s envelope scanning feature, you’ll be able to record their intent for their gifts and ensure that they go to support the initatives your congregants most value.
Look for church giving software that makes processing cash gifts easy by providing cash deposit tickets so that your church doesn’t have to create any additional documents to accept gifts in this form.
While these financial management features are essential components of the best church giving software platforms, your church will also want to look for unique features that suit your community’s specific needs as you choose a church online giving software solution.
5. What additional features should I look for when choosing church giving software?
The best church giving software provides your congregants with the opportunity to give in multiple ways, ensuring that giving to their church community is convenient for them, and makes managing and processing their gifts easy for your church so that your energy can be directed toward furthering your good work.
Beyond these essentials, however, your church will want to select software that suits the specific needs of your church. Before you make your decision, consider:
- Your church’s size. Large churches with multiple campuses will definitely want to consider church giving software that features multi-site giving capabilities, especially as part of text-to-give service. This way, your members can direct their gifts toward their specific places of worship.
- Your team. It’s likely that your church’s staff is already very busy creating and running the programs that motivate and uplift your church community. Choose a church giving software that automates data management and payment processing as much as possible so that they can focus their energies on nurturing your members’ spiritual lives.
- Your members. Your church can’t continue, let alone grow, without the generosity of your dedicated congregants. Ensure that your church giving software helps you thank them for their gifts as individuals, recognizing their reasons for giving to your church and acknowledging their unique importance within your church community.
Church online giving software encourages your congregants to give back to the church community that has shaped their lives, strengthening their commitment to your church’s mission and building their relationships with God. When giving is easy for your members and managing their gifts is easy for your church, your church is able to grow and provide for your community while maintaining its spiritual focus.
Church giving software facilitates giving and provides benefits to both churches and their members. Before your church makes your selection regarding the best church giving software to suit your needs, have a look at the following additional resources:
- Why Is Merging Membership Information With Financial Data Important For Churches?: Learn how your church can use your software solutions to track both giving and participation so that you can reach out to your individual members most effectively.
- How to Raise Money for a Mission Trip with Custom Shirts: Are some of your members preparing to take your church’s message abroad? Use this guide from Bonfire to learn how your church can raise money for their mission trip by designing and selling custom t-shirts.
- How To Encourage Recurring Giving With New Members: Recurring giving is common among church members and essential to your church’s continuation and growth. Learn how you can encourage your new members to engage more closely with your church community through recurring gifts.