Church Online Giving: 10 Practical (and Effective) Lessons

Online Giving Best Practices

One of the greatest challenges a church has to face is making the tithing process as easy as possible.

Luckily, online giving can make the process simple. We’ll cover ten lessons that can help you optimize your online giving channels and encourage your congregation to give.

#1. Make it Simple.

The Current Problem

If your online tithing process takes a degree in computer science to decode, you may want to look into a better online giving solution.

Church members need to be able to easily find and complete your donation forms, or else they could leave without giving. 

The Top Solution

Online giving should be simple. Once your church members find your site, it should be immediately apparent to them where they should go to submit their offerings.

Direct church members to where they can give with large “Tithe Here” buttons or include a separate “Ways to get involved” tab on your site.

Church online giving can take place over mobile devices.

Takeaway: The most important lesson is that your online donation form should be the most easily accessible function on your church’s website.

#2. Keep Your Brand Consistent.

The Problem With an Inconsistent Brand

The brand that your church has developed should be woven into everything you do including your online giving.

When church members are redirected to a third-party site that looks nothing like your brand, it can cause them to lose trust in your brand or make them hesitant about giving.

Why You Should Keep Branding Consistent

Keep your images, slogans, and colors uniform so that your church members know who they are giving too.

Having a consistent brand and employing it across your church’s website and tithing page will make your members feel more comfortable about submitting offerings online.

A church online tithing website has a unique and consistent branding to it.

Takeaway: Be sure your congregation feels at home when they’re on your site and filling out your online tithing form.

#3. Encourage Mobile Giving.

Why Mobile Giving is So Important

Church members don’t always have cash to give when the tithing plate is passed around. Mobile giving makes it easy for anyone to give wherever and whenever the mood strikes them.

Plus, offerings made on mobile devices are on the rise!

In fact, tithings from mobile devices increased 205% in the past year, and over 25% of all gift submissions were completed on mobile devices.

Make Your Forms Mobile Friendly

Your church members need to be able to view your website on their phones just as easily as they can on their desktop computers, which means:

1. Buttons need to be larger and easy to click on.
2. There should be fewer steps to reach your tithing page.
3. Your website needs to be simple, clean, and easy to read.

If your church makes donating easy on mobile devices, you will likely see growth in gifts across all your online giving channels.

In the past year, mobile giving donations have increased 205%, which is great for church online giving!

Takeaway: Your church’s website needs to be mobile-friendly in order to encourage online giving on the go.

#4. Use Strong Imagery.

Quality Images Matter.

When your church members are scrolling through your site, they’ll be infinitely more captivated by images of the good works you’ve been doing.

Additionally, your efforts will likely be shared on social media if there is a picture attached to your message.

The most effective images are 500 x 500 pixels. The more clearly you can see the subjects in the picture, the better.

Your church website’s landing page is a great place to feature pictures of:

The youth group’s latest mission trip
People worshipping
Last weekend’s charity build for the homeless
Sunday’s service
The worship band playing
Vacation Bible School
Churchgoers greeting one another happily
Any number of great church moments!

A congregation member smiles as a featured part of the church's online tithing page.

Takeaway: Images leave a lasting impact on your church members, and it’s always a good idea to include them in your online giving correspondences.

#5. Remember to Be Thankful.

Why You Should Thank Tithers

Everyone loves to be appreciated! After a church member gives, they are at they are excited about your cause.

However, over two-thirds of churches and organizations don’t have a “next step” once a donor gives. 

It’s a huge missed opportunity to cultivate relationships with your congregation. Having next steps could encourage tithers to give again.

How to Thank Tithers

Thank your donors within 48 hours of their offering. That way, their gifts are still fresh on their minds.

On the “Thank You” page after tithers submit their offerings, include:

• Social sharing buttons.
• How their gift will be used.
• Ways to get involved in other church activities.

Your church members will appreciate being kept in the loop, thanked on social media, and invited to all of your latest events.

Church text-to-give sends an automatic thank you reply to church online gift giver.

Takeaway: Thanking your members quickly and sincerely is a great way to encourage them to continue tithing online.

Learn how @Pay can help you earn more with church online giving.

#6. Create a Form with One Step.

Why One Step is the Way

When presented with the option of going through an involved process to tithe or using a one-step process, people will always choose the latter.

The vast majority of churches require online gift-givers to go through at least three steps to submit an offering.

Requiring your members to take multiple steps will cause some members to abandon the form without giving.

Make sure that your online tithing form involves the fewest number of steps possible.

Find the Right Solution

Look for online giving portals that require the least number of steps. And be sure to ask only for the most crucial information (i.e. name, email address, number, and credit card info).

@Pay offers a solution with 2-click giving forms. Your church members only have to click on the donate button (and fill out their credit card information if it’s their first time giving).

They will be directed to a prewritten email where they just have to click send to confirm their order. It’s that easy!

A mobile tither confirms their online church giving via email.

Takeaway: By keeping the online tithing process as quick and easy as possible, your church is making it possible for anyone to give from anywhere.

#7. Remove the Clutter.

Why Remove the Clutter

Studies show that viewers prefer websites that feature larger pictures with fewer words to smaller pictures accompanied by long blocks of text that tend to look “cluttered.”

To encourage church members to stay on your website long enough to tithe, you’ll need to remove a lot of the excess wording and any images that don’t add meaning or value to your site.

How to Remove the Clutter

Don’t fill up your website (or mobile site) with chunks of text and tiny pictures. Leave only the most important information.

Of course, you’ll want to have events easily accessible, and your online giving page should be quick to find and simple to navigate.

A sleek, easy-to-navigate site will make it easier for donors to give.

Church online giving works best when the website is clean and uncluttered.

Takeaway:  If your members don’t have to fight against a pile of words on your website, they’ll be more likely to stay and tithe.

#8. Feature Your Tithing Button Everywhere.

Easy-to-Find Forms

Be sure to embed a “Tithe Here” button on your homepage so that your form is easy to find. That way, you can also encourage all your site’s visitors to make a contribution.

Make your button stand out by making it a different color than the rest of your navigation. Place it in a prominent place and make it large enough to stand out.

Buttons On Every Page

Not only should there be a prominently featured “Tithe Here” button on your landing page, but you should include the option to give on every page.

Add several online giving buttons throughout your site, so members don’t have to search around too much to give.

These additional donation buttons can be more subtle than the one highlighted on the main page, but they should still attract attention.

A church online giving donation button in an email encourages churchgoers to tithe more.

Takeaway: The more visible you make your online tithing button, the more likely churchgoers will be to click on it and give on the spot.

#9. Accept Recurring Gifts.

Why Recurring Gifts Matter

Receiving a large one-time gift is incredible, but wouldn’t it be better to receive a long-term commitment of a smaller amount?

Allowing your church’s members to set up recurring gifts means that your day-to-day projects will be more likely to receive funding because you have funds coming in regularly.

How to Allow Recurring Gifts

If you want to accept recurring gifts you need to find online giving software that has this feature.

Plus, maintain consistent branding. It’s been proven impact on people’s decisions to become repeat gift-givers.

A generous church member sends a recurring gift through a church online giving portal.

Takeaway: Recurring gifts are the gifts that just keep on giving…literally! That’s why it’s important to learn how to encourage your members to commit to them.

#10. Offer Different Levels of Tithing.

Why Offer Different Tithing Levels

Research has proven that suggesting specific gift sizes ($20, $50, $100) leads directly to an increase in tithing.

Churches that suggested specific offering amounts on their websites rather than fill-in-the-blank amounts saw an astonishing increase in their gifts when they switched over.

Most people, when left to make their own choices, will not give quite as much as they would if they were provided with options for how much to tithe.

Offer the Right Options

The gift amounts that you suggest should correspond directly with your needs.

That being said, you should also keep in mind the financial limitations of your congregation members. Always be sure to provide smaller offering options for those who would like to tithe but don’t have the means to contribute significantly.

Offer at least 3 options in order to provide a nice variety for your church members.

A church member is given multiple online church giving options to choose from.

Takeaway: How much your church suggests is entirely up to you, but one of the most crucial elements to successful church fundraising is to offer various high and low giving amounts. 

Learn how @Pay can help you earn more with church online giving.