How to get started with digital giving
Tuesday, June 11, 2019
With fewer people using checks for purchases (or even carrying a checkbook with them), it’s time to consider providing additional giving options.
By creating a digital giving platform where your members can donate online through their phone or on a kiosk, you may actually see an increase in donations. If technology is where people are hanging out anyway, why not meet them there?
Here’s an introduction on how to get started with digital giving:
Step No. 1: Research Vendors
Since there are so many digital options out there, start by researching various vendors to see which one best aligns with your church’s goals. Here are several things to consider as you research:
- How will this service integrate with our church website?
- What digital giving options do they offer (text, mobile, app, online, kiosk)?
- What are the fees (per transaction, monthly, setup fee)?
- Do they specialize in working with churches?
- Will their service easily transport data to our church management software and/or accounting software?
- Do they offer consulting on successfully launching a digital giving program?
- What assistance do they offer (and at what price) to set up digital giving with your church?
- Is there customer service or technical support available on the weekends?
Don’t forget to bring your bookkeeper or finance director into this process since he/she will have to live with the behind-the-scenes details of this decision.
Step No. 2: Prepare to Launch
Now that you’ve chosen a vendor, do a "soft launch" first. To do this, ask a few staff members and volunteer leaders to try out the various digital giving options before opening it up to everyone.
It’s important to include a few people who aren’t known for being tech-savvy in this soft launch. This is supposed to be an easier way to give, so you want to make sure it’s intuitive and user-friendly for all.
Ask how their experience went and get their feedback. Incorporate their input into any instructions you provide when launching to the rest of the congregation.
Once you’ve conducted this first round of staff/volunteer trials, get a few people who are well-respected in the church to try the new digital giving options. Get their input as well and ask if they’d be willing to help endorse or promote this new giving method during small group or volunteer meetings.
Step No. 3: Decide How to Promote Digital Giving
Promoting your new digital giving platform is key to success in those initial weeks. Here are three ways to get the word out to church members:
- Create an email series to send to your church’s email list. These emails should introduce digital giving, give details on getting started, and provide donation links.
- Design slides and write a script for an on-stage or video introduction during a church service.
- Have staff or volunteers available the first few weeks to help people set up digital giving and answer questions.
Step No. 4: Roll Out Digital Giving
Once you’ve completed each of the previous steps, it’s now time to execute your digital giving plan. First, go live with a Give Page on the church website. As mentioned above, promotion is key. Make sure to announce this new initiative during weekend services, on your church’s social media channels, and send out the first email of your email series.
Developing a digital giving plan doesn’t have to be complicated. This plan will help you stay organized as you guide your congregation through this new system of giving.
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