By Gina Calvert

The First Commandment of Online Giving

We tend to call technology (like online giving) “progress.” But many people have ambiguous feelings about technology. They enjoy the benefits but see the downsides, too.

For example, when it comes to online giving “progress,” the results may have strayed from some of the intended benefits for givers. Technology built for the church doesn’t always serve your givers or your back-end users (your staff) as you’d like.

Pondering this brought to mind the 10 commandments, the original divine standard for how to relate to God and one another. So we created a tongue-in-cheek list of 11 Commandments of Online Giving.

Our list similarly addresses “rules” for how to treat others in the area of digital giving and serving your givers. It helps churches understand what’s at stake for givers and staff when it comes to online giving.

Online Giving Commandment #1

You Shall Place No Other Vendors Before Your Giver

The original first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me” addresses idolatry, the worship of other gods. ANYTHING that captures our affections and comes BETWEEN us and God can become an idol to us.

How it applies: A third-party vendor built to serve the church should not come between the giver and the church.

This is what is happening if your online giving experiences redirects givers to the online giving vendor’s site from your giving page. It’s usually an obvious transition that can cause givers to hesitate.

Why is this a problem? When someone’s giving impulse is interrupted even for a second, they will often slam on the brakes. In the software world, this is called friction. It is known to cause an unbelievable 83% rate of abandoned gifts on charitable websites.

If they continue with the gift, the problem is then followed by an automated email gift acknowledgement from the vendor’s DO NOT REPLY email address, rather than a personalized thank you from the church.

When givers are making a sacrificial gift to God, the only other involved party should be the church with whom they have a relationship. Beginning a gift on your website should feel at every point as if they are interacting only with the church. Their gift acknowledgment should be from you, in order to give the church the “last word” in the gift experience. This gives your staff the chance to:

  • Express gratitude more personally
  • Provide details about the specific impact the gift will have
  • Provide additional resources the giver might be interested in.

Vision2 Is Invisible to Your Givers

Some of the biggest churches in the US use Vision2 to manage their online giving and financial back office. But you’d never know it. From start (click to give) to finish (gift acknowledgements), the entire experience gives your giver the sense they’re interacting only with their church. The transition is seamless because of a proprietary embedded giving form customized to look and feel exactly like your website.

There is no third-party branding. We don’t provide a link to try to sell other to other churches through your giving page. We don’t put our name anywhere in your web content. Your gift acknowledgments come from YOU. Your church name shows up in the giver’s bank statements.

Yet, despite this invisibility to givers, we are far more involved in the lifecycle of every gift than most other vendors can be. We are structured in a way that gives us insight at every step of every gift and the ability to help your staff automatically balance to the penny every day.

If your giver has an issue with a gift, they contact you and you contact us. They never have to resolve it by communicating with us.

Want to learn more about Vision2? Schedule a demo today.