Digital giving continues to rise among all nonprofits–including churches. The Digital Giving Index, produced by Network for Good, analyzes giving trends each year. In the most recent 2015 report, they noted the following interesting statistics:

  • Overall giving rose 3% from last year
  • 31% of annual giving occurred in the month of December
  • 12% of annual giving occurs on the last three days of the year

With that said, churches are heading into the most critical time of year to focus on giving and to encourage the use of online giving for churches and their members. With 31% of annual giving offered in the month of December (and for some churches, this percentage is even higher), the coming of fall brings with it the three P’s of online giving for churches at year-end: a need for prayer, preparation, and petition.

While churches are no stranger end-of-the-year giving campaigns, much is to be said for retooling, refining, and embracing newer technologies to embrace both the young and the old; the faithful long-time givers and the would-be givers.

#1: Prayer

Like in most situations, beginning with prayer is often the best way to start. It’s often hard to know what to pray for, but the bible tells us that we need to ask. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7 ESV

Ask God for clarity on how to bless your efforts by empowering your church with practical tools to reach more people and elicit more donations to do more ministry. It’s tough thinking about starting something new such as expanding your giving options to include new online tithing technologies, but once you begin meeting people where they are at in the ways that they conduct their finances, you’ll probably find that many are relieved to be able to donate through multiple methods.

#2: Preparation

As said in Field of Dreams, “Build it and they will come.” Has your church prepared adequately for increased donations by putting practical technologies in place to receive them? Faith-based online giving provider, Continue to Give, offers online giving for churches, offering kiosks, mobile donations,  giving pages for crowdfunding, as well as badge and public donation options for Facebook campaigns.

Having all the options in place for every kind of giver – from mobile app, to in-church kiosk, to online giver, to social Facebook giving – can assist in reaching millennials, Gen Xers, Boomers, Busters, and every generation in between through the tools they know well and use more frequently.

While some churches will opt for online giving only, others perhaps might feel that having on-site kiosks would work better for their congregation. In other situations, having mobile giving would be a huge win and encourage younger believers to engage in the tithing process by using their mobile devices to bless their church. Online giving for churches, however, is the most effective of all the different options for steady tithing.

#3: Petition

Once you have the practical tools in place such as online and a mobile donation app, preparing your church’s communication around your giving campaign is essential. Include messaging on your website, in your bulletin, from the pulpit, in your weekly emails to the congregation. Share your church’s heart for ministry, include testimonials from members who have felt their needs met through your organization, share your vision for the coming year along with a year verse, then provide a way for people to give according to their needs: mailed checks for some, direct link to the church’s giving page online for others, kiosks in the lobby, and even mobile giving options via smartphones.

When looking for a good online giving provider, note that it’s important to talk with a company’s existing customers and read reviews online available on software review sites such as Capterra to get a sense of their attention to detail and customer service. Choosing a company that is like-minded is very important in the faith-based church technology industry. Also, validating their level of support to help your giving campaigns get off the ground is essential to your church’s future success with online giving.

Lastly, brush up on your online giving fundamentals to make sure you understand the basics of what’s involved in setting up a way for people to tithe online, then nothing will hold you back from reaching your church’s goals and following the call that God has placed on your ministry.