Church online giving software is kind of like a smartphone. As it grows more sleek and capable, there are still some foundational user-friendly features it MUST have to be fit for use.
Since we’re still in the first half of 2022, now’s the perfect time to evaluate whether your giving platform is more like the newest iPhone . . . or the relic Blackberry.
Think about it: many of your givers adjust giving online when a new year rolls around. What kind of experience do they have?
With frustrating, outdated online giving, would-be givers often put off figuring it out until later . . . and it can take months before they decide to try again.
Your church’s donations platform should never stand in the way of someone giving cheerfully—and it shouldn’t make tasks harder for your staff either. Here are eight features that make or break it.
5 Must-Have Online Giving Features For Your Donors
1. Multiple EASY ways to give
People must be able to give from your website; it’s the first place most look for that option. People also expect to be able to text to give.
Giving from your church’s app is one more method to consider, especially for younger members.
And finally, kiosk giving with a tablet. Kiosk giving allows people to pay with a card for church youth tee shirts, materials from your church’s bookstore, coffee—really, anything you want—just like they can pay with a card almost anywhere else (even farmer’s markets in tiny towns).
Each of these methods must be user-friendly with a professional look and no hoops to jump through like requesting a passcode to give on your church website. In 2022, this is non-negotiable.Making giving easy with an option on your website as well as text-to-give, church app, and kiosk giving with a tablet. This will allow seamless transactions for bookstore resources, church merch, or coffee, too. Click To Tweet
2. Recurring giving
People want to give—but they don’t want yet another task on their to-do lists, and even planned giving can be easy to forget. Recurring giving is a must to help them give as they intend, both for those who have an account and for people who choose to give as a guest.
3. Multiple giving categories to choose from–including special-use funds
Neglecting this simple feature causes churches everywhere to lose donations.
When people go to give online, adding a note to a donation—e.g., “for Kentucky tornado relief”—feels like sending a message in a bottle. It might end up in someone’s hands . . . but it could also float off unseen into the sunset.
Because of that uncertainty, it’s critical to create multiple giving categories for the donors. Otherwise, online givers can feel like they have to give cash (which many people don’t even carry anymore) or a check (same) in a marked offering envelope. And the extra steps of remembering to get cash or dig out a checkbook from who even remembers where often mean that donations don’t get made for special giving opportunities, especially if they’re time-sensitive.
So the ability to create a fund for everything you’re raising money for, not just general year-round categories like missions, remains a must-have. Ideally, givers can split one gift across multiple funds. For example, their gift of $500 total can be divided: $400 to the general fund and $100 to benevolence.
4. The ability to pay any applicable giving fees
Most givers (over 70%) want 100% of their gift to go to their church and would like the option to pay any fees associated with their gift.
5. Personal giving dashboard
Yes, people need giving statements for taxes. But they shouldn’t have to wait for a statement to see how much they’ve given or whether they’re on track with their giving goals.
A dashboard presenting that information in a clear, user-friendly format is the answer.
3 Must-Have Online Giving Features for Your Staff
1. Multiple ways to accept donations—and not just digital ones
Even with the increased adoption of giving online, people will still give cash, checks, and gifts in kind (like a couch for the youth center) in 2022. Online giving software should allow your church to record donations in any way your people want to give, online and off.
2. Automatic statements
Sending giving statements can take hours that span across days. Or it can be done for you while you’re grabbing coffee with a teammate.
Quarterly, semiannual, and annual automatic statements—along with the ability to add a personalized message—help keep giving top-of-mind for your members.
3. Gifts dashboard
Your finance team’s dashboard should include the graphs, charts, and data options that help you see a clear picture of your church’s giving—for example, number of gifts, total gift amount, average gift amount, weekly average, and daily average. You should be able to see what percentage of gifts were one-time and recurring, how donations were spread across different funds, and more.
If your church needs an upgraded giving solution, take a look at Servant Keeper ChMS with Faithlife Giving included for no extra cost. The combination provides you with a well-rounded church management system and a giving solution that makes generosity easier for your givers and your staff.
Every feature (all those mentioned above and more) is included with all plans, so even the smallest church can offer an excellent online giving experience on the web, mobile, by text, and through kiosk giving.