Focus on Online Giving, Part 1

by John Campbell

November 6, 2017

Since Many People Prefer Giving Online, Promote It at Year-end

When people are motivated to give as so many are at year-end, it’s wise to make it easy for them to donate to your organization. And use of online giving is on the rise. So it makes sense to promote online options and make them as easy as possible for your donors to use.

You don’t need to check many sources of giving data to learn that online giving is on the rise. One respected one, the Blackbaud Index, reports that in August 2017, while overall giving to nonprofits was down 0.8%, online giving was up 9.7%. Another recent study revealed that it was up 32 percent from the previous year.

When you think about it, these stats shouldn’t be surprising. When you buy gas or clothes or groceries or a restaurant meal, how do you usually pay? With a card, right? And if you shop online, of course you pay online. How about your monthly bills? Whether it’s utilities or your mortgage, chances are you’ve set up autopay. Rather than having to write and mail a check, the funds are conveniently debited from your account, so you never have to worry about missing a payment.

While you may not think of your congregants as consumers, these consumer practices apply directly to them. Most of the people who attend your church are accustomed to conducting financial transactions with cards and online. In fact, it’s their preferred method. Many parachurch organizations have responded to this reality by promoting online giving. Unfortunately, many churches have not.

The good news is that year-end 2017 is an ideal time to begin moving in that direction. Many people are even more motivated to give at year-end. By making it easy for them to donate digitally, their preferred method, you accomplish two things. One is to remove an unnecessary barrier. If you unintentionally promote giving by cash or check by making those options more obvious, you could be losing out on year-end gifts. Make the online options more visible and people can give when they’re ready.

A second result of promoting online giving is that you actually help people become more generous givers. Next time we’ll talk about why that happens and how to make online giving a strategic priority for your organization.

Category: Ministry Matters