Why Churches Should Offer (& Promote) Scheduled Giving
Scheduled giving, one of the most powerful aspects of online giving, is a digital feature in most online giving platforms. Also called “recurring giving,” it allows givers to pre-schedule their gifts at the frequency and amount of their choice. The gifts automatically transact according to the schedule with no additional involvement by the giver, no matter where they are or what they’re doing that day!
It’s similar to monthly payments many consumers use for consistent monthly accounts (such as their Netflix or their mortgage), or even for fluctuating accounts (like electricity, water and credit cards). These conveniences benefit consumers because they allow people to “set it and forget it.” They don’t have to worry about being late on their payments and incurring late fees.
The difference with recurring giving for churches, of course, is that givers get to choose the amount, the frequency and, sometimes, even the designation for where their gifts will be applied. And they can stop or change their schedule preferences at any time.
4 Benefits of Scheduled Giving For Givers
Scheduled or recurring giving is something givers will appreciate for these reasons:
Scheduled giving helps people develop consistency in their giving.
Every church struggles to grow generosity and stewardship in their members. In fact, only 5% of churchgoers tithe (Source). For those who want to grow in this discipline, recurring giving is a valuable tool to help them be consistent.
Scheduled giving allows an easy way for givers to spread out a pledge or annual commitment.
If you are seeking pledges, making an annual fundraising request, or asking for help with a special benevolence need, your givers can respond to the request and spread out their full pledge amount across the year. A $100 commitment over the entire year would be less than $8.33 a month, which many people would round up to $10, turning the gift into $120.
Scheduled giving keeps givers engaged.
Matthew 6:21 says that where our heart is, there will our treasure be also. We invest in the things we care about. But conversely, we become more invested in the things we financially support. Each time a giver receives a notification of an automated giving being transacted, they are reminded of their commitment to the church. With personalized acknowledgments, they are also reminded WHY they committed to give.
Recurring giving provides convenience for givers.
These days, consumers have strong expectations for convenience. They will not hesitate to abandon voluntary tasks that are a hassle. Giving them the option anytime day or night to A) give online and B) pre-schedule their giving is a double win for many.
2 Benefits of Scheduled Giving for Churches
Recurring giving levels out giving
Churches have always struggled with seasonal giving dips, like summer vacation, winter weather, school sports, etc. Online giving, in general, helps level giving patterns but especially the scheduled giving feature. It can help churches realize more consistent and reliable giving rates.
Scheduled giving increases lifetime gift totals.
Through sheer consistency, donors who schedule their monthly gifts give an average of 42% more per year than donors who give one-time donations. In fact, nonprofits report that the “lifetime revenue of these supporters is 600–800% higher than annual giving donors.” (Source)
While this statistic can speak to a deeper commitment, automating that commitment also lets them “set it and forget it.” They don’t have to remember to send in their payment and are unlikely to “skip” a payment because it requires additional action on their part to do so. (Source)
4 Features to Look for in a Recurring Giving Feature
Most online giving platforms offer recurring giving, but make sure the one you choose offers:
Multiple schedule options
Not everyone wants to give on a typical schedule offered in most platforms, such as weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Allowing givers to set their own custom setting can provide an extra convenience that makes the difference in consistency of giving.
Some platforms allow givers to choose a designation for their total gift, such as “General/Operations” or “Missions.” But many givers want to give to more than one fund without having to give separate gifts. Look for a platform that will let givers split their recurring gifts.
Self-serve edits to schedules
This goes without saying. Individuals should be able to access their giving history and edit their giving schedules … easily and on-demand.
Prompts to turn a one-time gift into a recurring gift after they’ve given
Look for a system that asks givers if they’d like to make a gift recurring. Even better if the platform you choose has adaptive “ask ladders”. This prompts givers based on the number of gifts they’ve made to a specific designation.
Vision2 giving system checks all these boxes for scheduled giving … AND SO MUCH MORE. schedule a demo of Vision2 today