Studies show online donations are larger than in-service donations, and online donors tend to be more consistent. That’s why increasing online giving is a key to increasing overall giving to your church. Here are three keys to increasing giving via online channels.
Key Number 1: Make it Faster.
If online giving is complicated, or requires too much information, people won’t do it.
In 1999, Amazon secured a patent for one-click ordering, which allowed a customer to purchase a title using saved information, in effect bypassing the shopping cart system. The results were amazing! Millions and millions of dollars in increased sales, just from fewer clicks. Later, Apple licensed the technology from Amazon, and it’s fairly common on many retail websites today.
The idea is simple and it makes a lot of sense. If the system isn’t user-friendly, then people aren’t going to use it. So the simpler you can make it – the less steps you require people to take – the more likely they are to jump in. It’s true for retail websites, and it’s true for your church website. You’ve got to make online giving simple.
Give people the option to give without creating an account and entering a ton of personal information. Maybe you have a service provider that allows people to create an account and manage contributions – that’s great! But you also need a simple, no-registration required option. In most cases, paypal works great.
Talk to your service provider and ask them how you can reduce the number of required clicks.
Key Number 2: Give Clear Instructions.
If you want people to engage with your online giving page, then you’ve got to provide clear instructions. Don’t assume that everyone in your church knows how to make donations online. Even people that have made online purchases may still be unsure of how to give to your church via the web.
Check out the online giving page at LifeChurch.tv. Here’s what they get right.
1. They provide a link to walk people how to set up an account. Clear instructions right there on the page.
2. They provide a phone number to call in case you have problems. This is often missing from many church websites, but it’s important.
3. They provide two online giving options, and quickly list the benefits of each.
4. There’s plenty more information that’s just one click away.
You might want to record a screen cast of you making a donation to your church, and put that video on your page or send it to your congregations. When you provide clear instructions, people are more likely to take the step.
Guide people through the online donation process. And here’s a good tip: Take five minutes in a weekend service to show people how to do it. Throw it up on the screen and SHOW people.
Key Number 3: Answer Questions Before People Ask Them
In addition to making it simple, and providing clear instructions, a great online giving page answers people’s questions. Here’s some questions that you should answer for people on your giving page.
1. Can I designate my giving to a specific fund or account?
2. Are there additional fees associated with giving online?
3. If I schedule recurring donations, can I change the frequency or amount at any time?
4. What happens if I change banks?
5. Will I receive a contribution statement for online donations?
6. Can I give online and still give in a service?
7. Is online giving secure?
8. Who do I talk to if I have a question?
If you answer questions for people before they ask them, you’ll increase their confidence.