Online Giving Obstacle: Absence of Personalization

Common Obstacles to Generosity (& the Easy Fixes)

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This is part 4 of 5 in a series called The Deadly Sins of Online Giving. We discuss the most common obstacles to online giving that LIMIT your givers’ generosity and how to easily fix them.

You can download a copy of the entire series for free and we’ll notify you as new information is published.


Giving is a very PERSONAL decision. Yet givers’ are often treated impersonally by your church online giving software, which wastes an opportunity for the church to make them feel known and appreciated.

Compare this giving obstacle to many of the brands your givers interact with on a regular basis. Those organizations have conditioned us to expect personalization. There’s just something about opening a website you engage with and being greeted by name: “Hi, Tom! Welcome back!”

But personalization is much more than just plugging in your name here and there. When you login to Netflix, for example, each family member’s viewing profile is represented by a fun avatar of their choosing. You get your own viewing history, shown separately from your spouse’s or your kids’. Colorful movie poster thumbnails display the movies you’ve watched and show you which series you’ve started but haven’t finished.

By name, you receive a custom notification when new seasons of your favorites become available and Netflix thoughtfully suggests new shows you might like based on your viewing history. If you’re into action movies, Netflix knows not to send you a Hallmark Christmas movie suggestion, they know you’re likely a Die Hard fan.

You understand this level of knowledge isn’t actually “personal,” yet it feels like Netflix knows you. And Netflix recognizes this keeps you coming back for more!

But that’s video streaming. Does personalization impact charitable giving?

A recent study suggests that it does. 44% of charitable donors—62% if they’re Millennials—report that they appreciate personalization so much, it could influence them to donate up to 10% more.


Giving Is an Act of Worship, Not Simply a Transaction

Jesus’ story of the widow’s mite teaches us that even small gifts can be incredibly generous.

No matter the size of their gifts, givers don’t see their donations as impersonal transactions. For many, giving is a sacrificial expression of worship and gratitude. They may not care whether the church’s online donation platform they’ve visited many times welcomes them by name when they login. But they will be confused when their donation receipt email is not from your church and doesn’t address them by name. That’s when it feels like the church doesn’t know them or appreciate their generosity.

This may also cause those who struggle with generosity or those who are extrinsically motivated by appreciation to use this impersonal experience as a reason not to give.

Churches could borrow a page from the nonprofit fundraising playbook here. Nonprofits understand the dynamics of “donor relationships” and the need to nurture their supporters with a variety of personal touches that show attention and gratitude. Above all, fundraising experts stress that in this day and age, nonprofits can’t say thank you enough to their donors.

Nonprofit teams make periodic thank-you phone calls and send the occasional handwritten note to givers to help them feel valued. But few churches could sustain that level of individualized connection for long.

The easiest place to start is by personalizing the giving experience at every touchpoint—on your giving form, gift receipts and year-end statements.


How Vision2 Makes Every Gift Transaction a Meaningful Interaction

Knowing everyone’s name isn’t easy. You’re no stranger to this fact because every week you make it your goal to greet guests and call members by name when they’re in your church.

But it IS easy to make sure your online giving platform knows your givers’ names.

When they receive personalized gift confirmations and customized email messages from your church rather than from another organization, you’ve just removed a major giving obstacle. Your email conveys that the church sees and appreciates their offerings. It doesn’t leave them scratching their heads in confusion.

Vision2 personalizes every communication in your giving experience, conveying to your givers that each gift is a meaningful interaction with the church they love, not an impersonal transaction with a payment processor.

Sign up for a demonstration today to see Vision2 in action!