The issue of tithing and giving can be a tricky subject for churches, and there’s no shortage of opinions. Many churches will pass an offering plate every week while others hide a donation box in the back corner of the church. The issue quickly compounds when you include into the discussion the plethora of ways to give digitally.
My day job as a web developer gives me regular opportunities to work with many different online giving options. I’ll say right now that setting up online giving is not for everyone. Sure it can dramatically improve your church’s giving levels, but it can also lead to frustration and complications.
I won’t be discussing the pros and cons of online giving in this article, there are many others who have already done that. Instead, I want to introduce you to one of my favorite ways to collect donations online.
GiveWP has been a pretty revolutionary plugin in the WordPress space. It originated a few years back as a branch of the very popular Easy Digital Downloads e-commerce plugin. GiveWP quickly grew into the standard of what an online giving platform should be.
In the past, I’ve used various solutions for online donations including both Gravity Forms and Tithe.ly. Both of those are great tools (and I continue to use them) but they both fall short when compared to the level of flexibility and integration that GiveWP provides.
Let me share with you some of my favorite features:
GiveWP has done an excellent job creating a donation system that is truly easy and straightforward for the donor to use. I cannot stress how big of a deal this is. If the donor is confused or does not have confidence in the form he is using to donate, chances are that he just won’t give.
GiveWP’s layout also has some great built-in support for donation tiers and campaign goals. This is perfect if your church is trying to raise money for a missions trip or something similar and really helps the donor to see how their contribution has an impact.
Reporting and collaboration is often one of the most difficult aspects of online giving. Introducing your team to a new tool may be out of the question or at least a huge hurdle at best. GiveWP is built right into WordPress, so (assuming you already use WordPress) your team should feel right at home navigating the extensive reports and donor management profiles.
This is a great place to also point out that you can create multiple donation forms and insert them across your site. Again, all of this happens directly through the WordPress admin dashboard. This tight web integration is one of my favorite features about GiveWP.
Customization and Community
I ran into this customization problem while using a church-focused giving product awhile back. I had it all setup correctly, but I did not have any control over the display of the forms or really any of the form interaction. If you have access to a web developer and would like to have complete control over your giving solution, it might be worth giving GiveWP a try.
Which leads me to the second point here. If you need help customizing GiveWP, there are a host of WordPress developers who can help, because at the end of the day GiveWP is just another WordPress plugin. You can see this in the number of add-ons available for GiveWP. Not only that, but the community built around GiveWP are some of the nicest people you’ll work with.
Oh, did I mention it’s free?
That’s right, it’s free. You can go download GiveWP and start using it right now! You’ll probably want to purchase some of the add-ons to get it dialed in just right, but I love that it doesn’t take anything to get started.
In conclusion, I’ll just say that there is no perfect option for online giving. I’ve worked with a number of different systems and they all have their shortcomings. Hopefully, this article has given you a little bit to think about and can maybe help simplify your online giving setup.
If you have any questions about GiveWP or any of the other platforms I’ve mentioned, please leave a comment below.