I recently emailed a stewardship survey to our clients to get a pulse on online giving and stewardship in their churches. The first part of the survey was to collect some basic numbers.
In addition, we ran some numbers based on data across all our online giving organizations. You might find it interesting to see how your church compares to these findings. You'll see how to do that below.
The second part of the survey asked about the use of features and for stewardship stories. One feature lags behind the others. One idea and one story provide insights into helping people better use the online tools you provide.
47% of giving amount comes from online giving.
Just over 50% of the churches who completed this year's survey said online giving accounts for 40-60% of their giving. About 25% were under that and 25% were over that.
We ran cumulative numbers for all of our churches. 47.6% of total contributions come from online giving. This is inline with what we found in the survey.
To compare your numbers, go to reports and run a contribution summary report. You may have to do a little addition based on the report, but it will give you an idea of how your church compares.
53% of giving transactions are online giving.
One of the respondents asked me whether I meant actual income or number of transactions. I meant actual income, but was very interested to see if the overall number of transactions was greater or less than the percentage of income. When we ran the numbers across all our churches, it turns out that 53% of contribution transactions come from online giving compare to the 47% contribution amount mentioned above.
The church that asked this question makes a big deal of online giving for their donors, but helps their largest donors recognize the impact of the fees and encourages them to write a check. Get this: 27% of their income, but 69% of total transactions come from online giving!
This means they get their people engaged in the act of giving using online giving. But, they have a plan to help their largest donors understand the associated fees and the savings of giving by check.
I know other churches encourage people to use ACH since these fees are only 10 to 20 percent of credit card fees for larger donations. This is a great solution to provide both convenience and savings. One hidden benefit is that ACH saves the time and effort of manually processing checks.
The option to cover fees is not as popular as other features.
I asked which online giving features churches provide and promote. 75% or more offer online giving on their website, via text, encourage recurring, and for special offerings. Of the features I asked about, only the option to cover fees seemed to lag at 37.5%. It seems to me, there are just two reasons for this.
First, church leaders don't know about the feature and how to turn it on. If that's you, go to Giving > Settings > Online Giving > Online Giving options.
Second, you know about the feature and just aren't comfortable turning it on. That's exactly why this feature is optional.
Two problems solved: Use of online tools & young adult givers
One respondent pointed out that online giving is a catalyst for getting people used to using other online tools like Text-to-Church and the Member App. Both of these are designed to help people respond to appeals, register for events, remember to serve, and connect to other online tools.
Young adults are used to doing everything online. Most of them seldom if ever use checks or cash. Online giving makes it easy for them to give in a way that's convenient and normal.
Two campaigns that were improved by online giving.
An online giving campaign to update our community closet. It was very successful because there are hundreds of people that use the community closet but do not attend our church.
We have a new ministry this year called 'Polaris Gift Shop'. This is one-day pop-up Christmas toy shop where families in need can schedule a time slot to shop for gifts for their children. We've promoted to our congregation to either buy toys or give online donations toward this new ministry initiative. Our congregation has responded well and most gifts are via online donations.
Two stories: 3 a.m. reminder and helping elderly members.
Personally I like that I can tithe anywhere at any time. All I need is my phone, which is always on me. One time I woke up at 3 am realizing I hadn't done my tithe yet...quickly did the text-to-give, done within 15 seconds. Most find it easier than writing a check, and are more apt to tithe in the moment, rather than forget it.
The online giving has really helped our elderly members because they weren't able to attend church during covid, we educated them how to give online and it was a great success. We did that with giving instructions in announcement and on our website but mostly helping them one by one set up their giving. Most of them love it because it was an easy set-up process. Many are now attending church and are still giving online.
As we enter into this wonderful time of the year that we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we are reminded that God so love the world that He gave. In the same way, many of the people in your church so love what you are doing that they want to give. Let's do everything we can to serve them well.