By Gina Calvert

Online Church Giving Apps: 4 Burning Questions to Ask

Wondering if online church giving apps are right for your church? Start with these 4 questions:

What is an online church giving app?

Though people often use the following terms interchangeably, the phrase “online church giving app” can refer to three different things:

  1. Mobile giving app intended primarily for giving on a mobile device. This kind of app may come with a GIVE button that can be placed on the church’s website and social media. But the mobile version is the main feature and giving is all it does.
  2. Church mobile app that serves as a mini hand-held website for the church. This app provides quick information for members, including church logistics, resources, ministry information, updates, and giving. The app’s giving feature should integrate with the online giving platform of the church’s choice.
  3. Web Apps or Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are the next-generation mobile giving solution. They have many advantages over native mobile apps (1 and 2 above) and no downsides.
  4. Mobile-friendly online giving software can enable mobile giving without an app. In this case, a robust platform allows gifts to be made from the church’s website on desktop computers and mobile devices.

What are the advantages of each of these types of online church giving apps?

  1. Mobile giving app:Giving through a mobile giving app may be slightly faster than through mobile-friendly online giving site. Why? The app’s data is stored on the mobile device, not the vendor’s web server, so data retrieval happens more quickly.
  2. Church mobile app: Users who already actively engage with the church through the app are somewhat more likely to give through the app.
  3. PWA advantages include:
    • Seamless, fast digital experiences
    • Easily set up, no developers or IT staff required.
    • Works on any mobile device.
    • Empowers givers with access to their profile, giving history, statements, and more!
    • No applications to app stores required.
    • Faster load times reduce the potential for gift abandonment.
    • Gift submission is completed in a few simple steps.

    View a quick video overview of our new progressive web app Give2.

  5. Mobile-friendly online giving software: Typically, giving software offers a more robust feature set and more computing power on the backend, such as some level of integration with your church management and accounting software. It can also provide a very good mobile giving experience, especially if givers bookmark your giving page for quick access in the future.
    Additionally, most giving vendors also offer text giving. It’s one of the fastest, easiest and most economical mobile giving solutions (for both the church and the giver) — often for free.

Are there any disadvantages to these types of online church giving apps?

  1. Mobile giving app: Disadvantages typically depend on the goals of the church and on the giving platform’s feature sets, ease of use, back-office complexity (i.e. Does it integrate with other platforms, such as accounting or church management systems, and is it true API sync or simply a CVS download?).
    Understand that gifts are not completed within the app; givers are taken to a third-party payment processor’s site to give their financial information. This redirection feels insecure and is a top reason for the 83% abandonment rate of gifts begun on charitable sites.
    Not everyone wants to download an app in order to give. The feature that makes apps slightly faster (storing the vendor’s data on the device) also drains the device’s batteries.

  3. Church mobile app: Besides cost, there are multiple reasons to reconsider building a church mobile app. They can be complex and time-consuming to get launched and maintain, with dozens of complex decisions to make along the way. If you’re planning to incorporate one, be advised that churches report to us that only 1-3% of their total giving comes from their apps. All previously mentioned disadvantages of app use and third-party redirection apply here, too, unless your giving platform is the exception to this rule. (Vision2 is!)
  4. Do You Need a Mobile App for Outreach and Member Engagement?

  5. PWA: There are no disadvantages.
  6. Mobile-friendly online giving software: There’s no downside to online giving software in general, especially since it can accommodate mobile giving. Features, quality, contracts, support and cost vary among platforms.
    Just as with mobile apps, be aware that the majority of online giving solutions also take givers to a third-party site to complete their gifts, and thank you emails come from the vendor, not the church. Mobile giving through text-to-give is bare-bones giving, with no access to the church website or fund descriptions unless you include a link in a text response.

Which online church giving app type is the best value?

  1. Mobile giving apps vary in cost. Inexpensive ones are often troublesome. Expensive ones may provide some value to a few givers.
  2. Church giving apps can vary significantly. Templated apps can be within reach, but a custom-built church mobile app is very expensive, costing tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Compare all types of app contracts for ongoing server and maintenance costs.
  3. PWAs: We can’t speak for all progressive web apps, but our PWA, Give2, comes standard with Vision2. There are no additional expenses. Givers get all the advantage of a mobile app, including the ability to manage their profiles and access to Vision2’s engaging visual ministry descriptions. Churches and givers avoid all the usual hassles with mobile apps.
  4. Mobile-friendly online giving software. Mobile access to the platform does not add any additional cost to the giving solution.

Vision2 Online Church Giving App

Vision2 falls into the #3 and #4 category of our online church giving apps comparison. For mobile giving, we provide a mobile-friendly online giving platform, text-to-give and our new progressive web app, Give2.

Download our Give2 overview handout.