The Advanced Guide to Online Giving

If you have already convinced your team that online giving is a great tool, or you currently have an online giving tool in place, then we would like to offer our congratulations. You have overcome two of the biggest hurdles when it comes to implementing a much easier and convenient way to give––team buy-in and implementation. You are now ready to face your next major challenges: proving ROI on online giving, increasing congregation engagement, and learning tips and tricks to advance your online giving.


It's time to take your online giving to the next level, and that's exactly the reason we developed this advanced guide. You’re not going to completely master these goals and strategies overnight, and chances are they won't happen over the next few weeks, either. But armed with patience and information, you can get a grasp of these advanced uses of your tools and grow your ministry even more.

By using the information in this online giving guide, we're hopeful that you will be able to increase giving and help to further the mission of your church.

It is here in this advanced guide that you'll find comprehensive information on online giving, as well as the opportunity to download other free resources that help you in the next steps. Let’s jump in:

1. Online Giving Metrics You Should Be Tracking

When you implement a new idea, plan, or tool, it’s important to find a way to measure its success. It's no different for online giving tools. Once you've decided to put it into place, you need to know if your online giving tool is worth the investment and how well it's performing. Measuring its success is also a great way to know whether or not the tool needs to be tweaked so that you can optimize the process for those who are using it to give.

In order to prove your ROI on online giving, here are five metrics you should be tracking:

1. Frequency

Measuring how often your members give allows you to identify months, seasons, and holidays where giving is high and where giving is low. By tracking the peaks and valleys of giving, it will help you to understand the giving habits of your church and how often they are utilizing online giving.

Keeping track of the frequency metric will also help provide solutions when you see inconsistencies in giving. For example, if you notice that giving is taking a nosedive during the summer months when church members are on vacation, it may need to be communicated that online giving allows them to give from almost anywhere in the world. They can also sign up for recurring giving to ensure they never miss a chance to give. The more frequently and consistently members give, the more it helps to build the annual budget.

2. Growth

If you don't want online giving to remain stagnant, you're going to have to provide opportunities for members to give online. And when it comes ROI, growth is a great metric to use to evaluate your online giving success as well as the overall health of your church.

When members are giving online, you can measure growth by knowing the average amount each member is giving, and whether or not this amount is decreasing or increasing. You can also measure how much the entire congregation is giving and whether or not there is an increase or a decrease in the percentage of that total.

3. Loss

By tracking online giving data, you'll be able to see if there are any members who have suddenly stopped giving. When this happens, you should lovingly try to understand why. Maybe it's due to the loss of a job or the member has been having problems with the online giving tool.

No matter what the case, loss is a metric you'll want to pay attention to because if people are no longer using the online giving tool, you'll need to know what can be done to resolve it.

4. Campaign Involvement

Besides just tithes and offerings, online giving can be used for larger campaigns, such as raising funds for the new church building or funding a mission trip.

Tracking whether or not your members are involved in funding these campaigns can help determine whether or not the members are truly invested in the growth of the church. Knowing this can also help you determine what type of action needs to be taken on your part to ensure members use online giving for these types of campaigns.

5. Goals

No matter what kind of financial goals you have set for your church, online giving tools allow you to track your goals in real-time. Your online giving dashboard can provide breakdowns by source, timeframe, and donation totals, which allows you to do things like analyze the platforms that are performing the best and when people are donating the most.

3. Apps and Integration Opportunities

Along with proving ROI on online giving and increasing congregation engagement, you'll want to learn all the tips and tricks that are within the tools to increase giving. There are apps and integrations you will definitely want to make use of in order to increase online giving. For example, many people give from their phone, so you'll want to make it known that online giving is completely mobile-friendly.

Other apps that members can use include text-to-give and giving kiosks.
  • Text Giving - members can automatically give by texting the amount they wish to donate to a designated phone number
  • Kiosk - churches can choose from a variety of kiosk giving options including floor stand, counter top, wall mount, or card reader

Besides fully understanding the different apps that are used for online giving, you should integrate your giving tool with your Church Management System (ChMS). By doing so, there is a good chance that you'll be able to increase online giving participation, as well as the number of donations that you receive. Another wonderful advantage of making this integration is that you'll have a better understanding about the donors themselves.

Here are some reasons using your ChMS not only cultivates online giving but increases generosity:

  • It makes it easy to track and follow up with first-time givers
  • It helps to give a more accurate picture of your members and their giving habits
  • It makes it possible to record information so that you can better connect with each giver

Your ChMS already does a great job of tracking vital pieces of information and now you know it's also a great way to enhance online giving.

4. Understanding and Utilizing Your Automation Features

If you want to save time and improve online giving participation, a great way to do it is through automation. Understanding and utilizing your automation features will allow you to communicate more efficiently and effectively, which is important when it comes to online giving.

For example, you would be hard-pressed to find time to send a personal thank you note, whether by email or mail, each and every time someone gave to your church. But with online giving, you would be able to set up an automatic thank you note when someone gives to your church.

Sending a thank you message to a first-time giver is especially important as it allows for an opportunity to encourage them to give again or to set up recurring giving.

Other things that can be automated when it comes to giving include allowing members to set up a recurring donation, sending out tax receipts and year-end statements to donors, and tracking member's pledge promises. You could also automatically get the batch deposit information emailed to you every day or whenever you choose to receive it.

5. Next Level Tips

If you really want to become an online giving pro and take it to the next level, you'll want to design a functional and user-friendly online giving page and a checkout page. In order to do this, be sure to incorporate some of these great ideas when it comes to designing your online giving page:

  • Your online giving page should make the "how" to give and "why" to give very obvious
  • You need to ensure your giving page is optimized for mobile
  • When putting up photographs, using photos of actual people from your church instead of stock photos can help to add credibility and make the giving page feel more trustworthy
  • Don't overload your giving page with too much text, instead help your members to stay focused on giving

Besides designing your giving page, you will also want to ensure that your checkout page not only is well-designed but functional as well.

You'll want to make the information on this page crystal clear and easy to understand. You will also want to customize your checkout page. In other words, make sure it matches the rest of your church website. You can do this by placing your church logo on the checkout page and using the same colors. You don't want donors to be surprised and unsure about the credibility of your checkout page. If it doesn't match your website, this could create confusion and cause a sense of distrust, which is a good way to scare away potential donors.

Avoid making your checkout page complicated or difficult to complete. If members have too many steps to complete or are forced to fill out unnecessary information, it may cause them to abandon the checkout page.

6. e360 Online Giving Resources

If you are currently using an online giving tool but you are becoming increasingly frustrated by the tool not meeting the giving needs of your church, you'll want to check out the e360 Giving Buyers Guide Kit. In this kit you will receive a Buyer's Guide PDF, a 10-step strategy plan to help make the switch to a different online giving platform, and editable presentation slides. We are also giving visitors the capability to download the PDF version of this entire guide.

You can also sign up for a Guided Demo of e360 Giving. This demo will help answer any questions about online giving that you might have including:

  • How will I know which tool is right?
  • Will it do everything my church needs?
  • What will it cost?
  • How can I get my staff and congregation on board?

During the demo you can ask our giving experts questions in real-time, find out how e360 Giving works for your particular church, and gain a ministry partner that is always just a phone call away.

If you don't yet have an online giving tool, or you are not satisfied with the one you are currently using, we would love to see how we can help you make the most of online giving for your church.

We hope you found this advanced guide to online giving useful and that you have learned some new things that can help your church take online giving to the next level! We would love to hear your feedback and any suggestions you have about this guide. Or, maybe you have some questions about online giving. Feel free to reach out to us here if you’d like to chat.

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