How do you ensure your online giving is effective?

Complied by Rez Gopez-Sindac

Love above money
KurtBSouthland’s automated giving program is, admittedly, fairly limited. In addition to receiving cash and checks, we receive a modest amount of contributions in the form of ACH receipts that are set up to be withdrawn on a monthly basis from an attending family’s checking account.

We want to offer our attenders the convenience of additional automated giving options, but we’re well aware that our members aren’t immune to the financial damage done to families carrying high credit card debt. Southland doesn’t want to contribute to the amount of debt carried by our members, and most online giving solutions investigated in the past didn’t allow for debit transactions only. So, we’ve made a philosophical decision not to accept credit cards for contributions.

Interestingly, I just received an e-mail from one of our new attenders, who inquired if we accepted credit card donations as they did at his former church. I responded with information on our giving options, and the reason behind not accepting credit card donations. He was very understanding of our concern and actually forwarded my response to a number of his family and friends. He indicated that one of the things he loved about his new church home was Southland’s concern for its members being placed above a desire to collect as much money as possible.

Kurt Braun, Executive Director of Finance and Administration, Southland Christian Church

Intentional and convenient
JohnTAt New Hope Oahu, taking part in giving is part of our culture and discipleship for our members. We share, teach and celebrate with encouragement rather than obligation. We’re also very intentional on providing a number of convenient ways to give, including the giving of tithes and offering during services and online as follows:

  1. During our online Internet service by way of a simple click;
  2. Through our website and link;
  3. Through our mobile app;
  4. Online via our newly developed and highly successful Donation Platform, a portable Wi-Fi giving pad on a pedestal that operates on our proprietary software. The key to its success is its portability; it can be strategically placed and moved during our services, events and throughout our Ministry Center. Our Donation Platform is available through our Life Resources Ministry and is typically priced better than comparable giving platforms and kiosks in the market.

We’re finding that teaching, discipleship, convenience, acknowledgement and celebration have contributed to the successful participation of our members in giving toward our vision of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

John Tilton, Executive Pastor of Administration, New Hope Oahu, New Hope International, Life Resources

No fear in asking
We found that simply having the ability to give through a website falls grossly short of the goal of using technology to allow people to honor God with their finances. So, two years ago, we embarked on a comprehensive look at how we could encourage a generation that doesn’t carry cash or checks to give. It was from this deep dive that we implemented several new strategies that we had previously steered clear of, mainly out of fear.

We set up a kiosk in every lobby of our campuses where people could give through debit or credit cards. We had to accept that people want convenience, and most people under 35 years old only carry a debit/credit card. We made our kiosks multipurpose. You can give, submit a prayer request or update your information in our database. More than 100 people use our kiosks each weekend, with an average weekly total of close to $20,000 given through that medium. Last year $800,000 was given through one of our kiosks.

We also launched a new CCV app that allowed people to give directly through a simple application on their phones. In the last five years, we have gone from less than 15 percent of our online giving to 45 percent in 2012, done outside of checks or cash. In 2012, we received approximately $29 million in total giving, so this is a significant shift!

Ashley Wooldridge, Executive pastor, Christ’s Church of the Valley  (


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