4 Steps to Help Small Churches Implement Online Giving

With church attendance impossible in most places due to the COVID-19 pandemic, tithes and contributions may also decrease and churches must rethink how members can continue the stewardship of giving. Steady giving is doubly important for small churches.

Electronic giving is an effective way to maintain steady income—and implementing it, even for smaller churches, shouldn’t be overly complicated.

Here are four easy steps.

1. Select a Provider

The first and probably most difficult step is selecting a company to process electronic contributions and deposit them into your bank account. A Google search lists many companies that do this, and they’ll differ in pricing, customer support, and how they process contributions. I recommend searching for companies specializing in churches. For example, LifeWay is currently making its Generosity giving platform available to churches for free. It’s a complete system and no technological expertise is needed.

You’ll find quite a few companies that work with churches. Pick perhaps half a dozen of these providers, check online reviews, and contact promising providers by phone. Before you do this, estimate how many transactions and what dollar volumes you’ll have each month.

Ask the following questions:

  • How much do they charge? Do they itemize the bill?
  • How do they bill you? I’d choose a provider that debits your bank account monthly.
  • How and how often will they deposit contributions? I’d give preference to more frequent deposits.
  • How and how often will they report contributions to you? Whatever the frequency, the report should list for each contribution the donor’s name, the amount, the date the donor authorized the contribution, and the date the contribution was transmitted to the bank. For each credit-card transaction, the report should list the transaction and discount amounts.
  • How will your donors interact with the provider’s giving platform (phone app? church website? their website? text?) and what help will the provider give you in implementing it? If you have a website, add a link to the giving platform. The provider should help you do this.
  • Do they offer ongoing customer support?

2. Communicate with Your Congregation

No doubt you’ve established a communication process to hold your church together during this difficult time. While being sensitive to the fact that some will lose their income for several weeks or longer, let them know that the church still needs…

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