Many churches are using online giving as their principal tool for accepting donations, and the reason is simple: it’s easier. Even with your congregation more geographically distanced than ever, giving online makes it possible to tithe from anywhere. Not to mention an online fundraising tool enables you to accept contactless donations within your physical space so you can better adhere to the NHS guidelines as your members come back to church on Sundays.
Enabling your church to receive donations online can increase your likelihood of accepting generous one-off donations and also help target fundraising for specific appeals.
Interesting Facts about Online Donations
This year the mobile app Tithe.ly released a data analysis of church giving and a few notable findings include:
- Sunday is the biggest day of giving, but 67% of giving happens on other days of the week
- When the opportunity to donate at anytime is available, people give throughout the day—more than 30% of giving came in between 9pm and 6am.
- People are comfortable making donations online and from mobile devices
- Promoting recurring giving as auto-pay can make up 10% or more of your fundraising budget
- 97% of givers prefer to pay money by card rather than their bank account
The big lesson here is that enabling online donations opens your church up to new opportunities.
How to Talk About Online Giving
Now is the time to not only deliver your messages on Sundays, but share what your church is doing to serve your community. You are ministering in a time of great anxiety and grief. Use your church’s typical channels—such as your website, email, newsletter, social media, and any mailed content—to share your story and how you are taking on new ministry opportunities.
Invite people to partner with your church through donations and direct them to whatever platform you select to keep donations streamlined. You can encourage recurrent giving and text or app-based giving, depending on the platform you choose.
Even without directly talking about your fundraising appeals, you can include a donate button across your digital channels. You can also include this as part of your email signature. These subtle cues act as a reminder that there are always opportunities to support your church.
Raising Funds for a Targeted Appeal
Creating a specific fundraising page on your website, or even as an event on Facebook, can help you reach a wider audience for a very specific ask.
For instance, if you are considering using Faith Online to increase your capacity to live stream your services, you could run a specific campaign for our technology and platform. When you have a specific fundraising goal in mind, you can use your website to communicate the exact benefits of your appeal, by answering the following:
- What you are asking for, be specific and transparent in your goals
- Why you are seeking to raise these funds as a direct appeal rather than pulling from your general budget
- Who will directly benefit from this fundraising effort
In the example of raising funds for our live streaming services, you have a clear budget based on the package we customise for you. This is an unusual cost and not part of your annual budget, which is why you may want to ask for a special appeal. And the benefit is to increase your ability to reach both your current parishioners and faith-seekers alike in a way that keeps them safe.
Tap into Grant Opportunities
Alternative funding and support resources are available for churches in the form of trusts and grants. Here are a few you can look into see if there is a fit for your church.
AllChurches Trust—this is a regular source of grant funding. Right now the Hope Beyond grant programme is designed specifically to meet the changing needs of Christian communities to adapt to the challenges of Coronavirus. Hope Beyond is focusing its funding on three key themes of projectes. Those that are:
- Responding to the issues of loneliness and isolation—awards could include enabling improved accessibility to buildings/activities and measures to ensure buildings are Covid-19 safe.
- Focused on growing community resilience and promoting mental and emotional health and wellbeing
- Growing technological capability and resilience, particularly increasing digital capacity and provision.
National Churches Trust has an exhaustive list including funds for specific repairs and needs of your physical location.
What to Look for in an Online Giving Platform
With so many tools out there, you want to make sure you choose one that works for your parishioners, is easy for you to use and better-yet, makes your accounting job easier.
We suggest you do a comparison of the platforms available Here are a few of the items you could consider in your comparison:
This includes everything from the set-up fee to the processing fee.
Decide what you want in an ideal platform before you do your research. If you want to use an app or text features to collect funds, you might find not all platforms offer these services. You should also cheque to see if the provider integrates with social media. Some sites, like Facebook, are only proprietary tools for donation collection.
From set-up to reporting, you will want a platform that reduces your burden rather than presenting you or your parishioners with a complicated interface that is hard to use.
Some platforms offer customisable templates that allow you to thank each donor with a pop-up message or email, presenting an opportunity to make giving online feel more personal.
Comparison of Common Donation Tools
This is not an exhaustive list but a quick reference for some more commonly used platforms for online and contactless collection.
- Charity rate is 4.5% +(+22p per web donation) when no Gift Aid is added by donor or 45% fee when Gift Aid is added by the donor
- Non-charity but with charitable purpose is 5% +(+22p per web donation) and 100% of Gift Aid (+22p per web donation)
- Contactless payment giving with a tap to donate tool
- Digital giving with a unique URL
- SMS text giving
- Giving without any upper limit
- Adds Gift Aid
- Unique campaign codes for specific fundraising campaigns
- Supports recurring donations
Pricing: £15 per month (incl VAT)
- Contactless Donations
- Web and mobile support
- Donate Now button
- Manage digital and physical donations in one place
- Mobile app
Pricing: Varies quite a bit depending on your package. Long and short term contracts available with purchase or rental options for hardware
- Range contactless donation boxes
- Configurable for Gift Aid detail collection
- Email and SMS donation requests
- Donation buttons for web and QR codes for easy scanning
- Tracking against fundraising goals
Pricing: Joining as a member (free) earns discounts on some of their services
- Hardware for contactless donations including an offering plate design
- Intuitive tracking software
- Digital fundraising