By Mark Brooks
Can I still give if I forget my checkbook (or don’t have cash on me) when I come to your church?
We are a check-less, cashless society. Yet, in 2011, Lifeway Research discovered that only 14 percent of churches offered online giving. Recent studies are showing that that number is increasing.
Hopefully, yours is one of those churches that has implemented online giving.
One of the biggest mistakes churches make AFTER they set up online giving is not launching it correctly. It’s not enough to simply have a tool — you have to use that tool effectively. As I tell people all the time, I have a great lawn mower; but if I don’t get it out of the shed and crank it up, my lawn doesn’t get mowed.
In this article, I want to offer some practical suggestions on how to effectively launch your online giving. (If you’ve already launched it, consider a relaunch.) Any church can use these steps.
To launch online giving effectively, you should…
Know the process yourself. You cannot move your congregation to use this tool if you don’t use it yourself. If you use it, so will your members!
Make the giving button easy to find and access. I’m often shocked at how hard it is to find online giving on some websites. While it doesn’t have to be a flashing blue light, it must be visible and easily accessible.
Set a kickoff date. Set a time to officially kick off the launch. This will give you time to announce the site and “market” it to your members.
Build a plan of action for launching. Think of multiple ways to tell the story about the benefits of online giving. Use all your communications outlets, from direct mail, to email, to social media, bulletin inserts, QR codes in the bulletin, videos and platform communication. Talk about it so that people will know about it!
Work your plan! As with all stewardship plans, I say, “Get a plan and work your plan.”
Don’t stop working your plan. Don’t stop after the launch; you need to continually drive people to your giving site. One mistake many churches make is that after the launch, they fail to continually feature this tool. The more you talk about it, the more people will use it.
Online giving is the future of giving to the church — and the future is now!
Mark Brooks is founder and president of The Charis Group and Charis Giving Solutions.