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The word "GIVE" written in rusty metal letterpress type sitting on a wooden ledge background.
 

Churches are always being advised on the importance of metrics, but metrics have two sides: the factual side and the emotional side. The emotional side is almost always linked to what the factual side reveals. Growing metrics produce emotional excitement while declining metrics are usually depressing.

The emotional nature of metrics makes it easy for people to justify them, ignore them, or simply stop measuring anything. It is the transformation behind the numbers that matter the most. One major problem with metrics is when people lose sight of the bigger picture.

Metrics can make you feel proud or promote feelings of insecurity, inadequacy, and inferiority. You might be up one day and down the next. However emotional metrics might be, facts are still very important since they help people understand reality and lead through it effectively.

Online Giving for Churches:

 

A Key Metric to the Health and Stability of Churches

 

One of the most important metrics to the health and stability of churches is online giving. The following is an explanation of why this is the case.

1. Audience: Who is Your Church Reaching?

Metrics often start with demographics. It is important to understand exactly who your church is reaching. You must not allow assumptions to mislead you. Online giving provides data to help you understand exactly who you are reaching and the behavior of the members of your congregation.

You will get a clearer picture of the kind of givers you are attracting, which will help you focus and refine your ministries outreach program. It will also help you find out how well you are reaching young adults. It will also help you define what percentage of the congregation had never used online giving before to determine your effectiveness in reaching people and encourage them to adopt new giving methods.

Online Giving for churches - Digital platform for donations online2. Stories: Are Lives Being Changed?

The metric is usually overlooked, but it is what the church is or should be all about. It should be at the center of what is done and what is measured. While it is all good to talk numbers, the stories behind those numbers are at the heart of the issue. Are people’s lives being changed?

Online giving makes it easier for churches to show how contributions from your congregation help transform lives. Once your congregation sees and understands how their gifts transform the lives of others, it is easier to encourage them to sign up for recurring online donations.

Stories of how lives are being changed courtesy of online giving include missional impact, community transformation and much more. The stories of how people’s lives have been changed should be shared with the rest of the church and celebrated to encourage others to participate in online giving.

3. Numbers: Is the Church Growing?

Numbers are the most common metric. While some people are critical of counting, it is necessary and helpful. Online giving can help you determine whether your church is growing in two major ways:

First, online giving will help you define a benchmark for monitoring trends. When an organization only publishes its growth for just one calendar year, it is easy to hide that it has declined from the previous years. Counting can help churches identify trends and patterns.

Second, the hard data obtained through online giving inform critical decision-making. If certain areas are growing faster than others, it could reveal weak spots in need of special attention, or it could uncover a potential growth engine the church can use to reach even more people.

4. Movement: Is the Church Trending Forward?

Senior Woman in Sunday Best at Church thithingCounting is often the easy part, but many church leaders often never maximize the information. It is always good to be aware of your numbers, but it is also critical to know your percentages since they reveal the true state of health and forward movement.

Measuring the growth of online giving for churches in percentages helps in three major ways.

First, it helps the church leadership get a glimpse at the level of health among the congregation. While it is not a complete picture since not everyone that gives is healthy, and not everyone who fails to give is unhealthy, but if the percentages are tied to spiritual practices such as generosity and community, they can give a clue as to how the church is developing.

Second, online giving trends help churches compare their congregation with the people that use it. If the percentage of people using online giving does not match the congregation, you can evaluate what changes should be made to your ministry to encourage congregants to use it more.

Third, percentages make it easier to track movement from one year to the next. Simply put, are the percentages decreasing or increasing in different areas of measurement? Positive growth reveals where your church is gaining forward traction.

Metrics are obviously important, but equally important is the spirit and motivation behind the metrics. Who is your church reaching? Are lives are being changed? Is your church growing and is there any forward movement? Measuring all these areas is at the heart of online giving and equips your church with the insight to continue improving.

How Can Your Church Promote Recurring Online Donations?

Recurring giving is critical to the development plans of any church. Whatever outreach programs your church may be involved in whether promoting literacy, providing medical services, providing food and shelter for the homeless, etc., recurring online donations are particularly valuable since they are a reliable source of income.

Here are effective strategies and tips for promoting recurring gifts:

 

1. Break it Down for Your Congregation

Preacher and the Church CongregationOne of the best ways for churches to convince their supporters to make a monthly commitment is to explain why the recurring gifts are needed and the impact that they have. Givers want to be assured that their recurring gift will make a difference, so you should explain what the donations will accomplish.

Churches should take their appeals for recurring donations and think of how to make them simple and concrete. If your church already has suggested giving levels, it can be a good idea to include a short description of what the amount buys for its programs. Churches that would like to add smaller recurring gifts from younger donors should break down the size of the gift.

The technique has been used by for-profit businesses for a long time. A $30,000 price tag on a vehicle can be enough to scare off car buyers, but dealers can mitigate this by promoting low monthly payments.

2. Simplify the Process

The good news is that online giving for churches makes it easier for donors to make recurring donations, and collecting the recurring gifts online reduces the administrative efforts of your church. When members of your congregation choose recurring donations, the donations page should allow them to give automatically throughout the year without having to return to that page.

Your church should launch campaigns specifically targeted towards recurring giving and center all your messages on the importance of recurring giving for the church and the person giving. A second online donation page should be set up with only recurring giving options. If you do this, congregants may seriously consider becoming regular contributors.

3. Provide Rewards

Churches should consider giving recurring donors a unique recognition, a special name, or special status on their websites. Special perks can be reserved for those loyal supporters, such as sneak peeks of the church newsletter or invitations to special events.

Churches can feature stories of recurring donors in their newsletters or websites. Highlighting those supported by the church and those that support the church help keep the mission of the church front and center for everyone.

Churches can also host special events for recurring donors to give them a behind-the-scenes experience or hosting programs for them as an exclusive experience to show gratitude.

4. Brand the Online Giving Page

Branded giving accounts for 54 percent of all online giving and branded online giving pages receive six times as many donations than non-branded online giving pages. A branded online giving page for churches is a customized landing page for online donations that features the logo, stylistic overtones, and overall branding of the church.

The creation of customized online donation pages can allow for simple one-click donations, mirror the website of the church with secure SSL certification, and have recurring giving capabilities. When it comes to online giving pages, your church does not have to be stuck with standard giving pages that don’t look anything like their websites.

5. Make it Easy to Quit

Donors may sometimes be hesitant to choose recurring giving since they worry that it will be hard for them to cancel their recurring donations. Circumstances might change, and the idea of going to hell and back to cancel the recurring donation can be enough to prevent donors from contributing. While it might seem counterintuitive, donors are more likely to give if they know that they have not committed themselves to recurring gifts for eternity.

Recurring gifts not only stabilize the revenue of churches, but it can even result in slightly higher total gift amounts per donor. Either way, unless your church asks for monthly donations, often and clearly, they are highly unlikely to secure the recurring online donations.

 

Familiy worshipping the crossGetting Started with Online Giving for Churches

 

Having a good online giving program will help your church encourage recurring gifts and will help you raise funds for various programs whether or not you are currently raising money online or you are not seeing the results you want. Here are 5 tips to help churches get started with online giving.

1. Use a Flexible and Reliable Solution to Process Online Donations

Churches should provide a seamless experience for donors. The donation page should be full of the branding and language of the church and should be customized to get the information required for targeted follow-up. When using the service, donors should feel less like shoppers and more of shoppers. Digigiv is a trusted solution when it comes to processing online donations.

2. Do Not Be Afraid to Get Active

Churches often sign up for online fundraising services such as those we provide her at Digigiv and then stall when it comes to configuring the service and making the donate button live on their websites. It is time to take the leap. A church website that lacks a prominent donate button tells people that “we are not in need of donations”.

3. Leave the Door Open to Donations Everywhere

Churches should not get tired reminding the people that they interact with that they can give. While not every donation link will yield huge results, the more impressions left, the higher the chances of someone giving, just like with commercial advertising.

4. Donation Tracking

When it comes to online donations for churches, it is important to continually learn what works and what does not. Churches should take use unique tracking URLs to find out which donations came from which sources. Setting up Google Analytics on your church website can be a good idea to help you monitor the pages getting the highest number of hits and which sources send the greatest number of visitors to the donation page.

Hands of a man praying in solitude with his Bible after asking for donations.5. Transparency

It is important for your church to be specific when reinforcing to the donors the impact they made by showing how the funds are to be used, who is to be helped and what tangible difference is being made. Whenever possible, it is advisable to include stories, quotes, and testimonials from those that have benefitted from donations as well as those that have donated.

The Bottom Line

Online giving is an important metric to the health and stability of any church as clearly shown here. Recurring giving is important for providing a reliable source of income for churches. If your church is looking to benefit from online giving and all it has to offer, you should turn to Digigiv. Digigiv is a trusted name when it comes to setting up online giving on websites of church and nonprofits alike.