We talk often about the advantages of offering online giving, but we rarely address the concern that leaders have–even those who believe online giving could be a good decision for their church: Will people use it?
In the early days of online giving, we thought churches were doing well if they had 30% of their congregation giving online, but we’ve got one church partner with twice that rate! We’ve seen the statistics of increased giving rates, we’ve heard our church partners rave about the ease, accuracy and time-savings it gives them, and we’ve never heard of a single regret for incorporating online giving. One of our churches actually set up online giving by popular demand of the congregation.
But that’s not the whole story.
3 Reasons People Don’t Use Your Online Giving
For churches that have implemented online giving but aren’t seeing the adoption they’d like, we sometimes find these three issues to be in play:
- People don’t know about it. It could be publicity issue. A successful roll-out includes a planned timeline and a communications strategy that ensures broad placement of notification. (Pop quiz: Have you heard the well-known standard for the number of times people have to hear or see a message in order to absorb it? See answer below.)
- People don’t know how it helps the church. It could be an education issue. Many people think they’re saving the church money by giving in-person and avoiding transaction fees. They don’t realize that the savings in processing, administration, and decrease of fraud and error risk help defray those costs. Your communications strategy should provide an opportunity for all questions and concerns to be addressed.
- It’s too complicated. Ease of use is a main selling point of online giving, but statistics show that drop-off can occur mid-gift if your online giving form contains just one too many fields. Apparently, gift abandonment rates rise after 5 fields. And a 5% abandonment rate can occur simply by not telling the number of steps upfront! One of our church partners has a peak demographic of 55-70 year olds who requested a how-to-give-online class with hands-on instruction. Why not?! This group is generous, adventurous, and eager to help the church, so make online giving easy for them.
Achieving buy-in for online giving isn’t as simple as flipping a lightswitch, but with the guidance of an experienced team, it can be surprisingly seamless to implement–and definitely worth it. Even if you already have online giving, you can launch a new communications strategy to continually increase utilization. This checklist can help.
(* The Rule of 7 states that people have to hear a message 7 times to fully absorb it.)