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5 Tips to Significantly Increase Your Donations Onsite and Online
By: Todd Baylis

It's no easy feat to raise funds and get individuals to readily give money, especially in a tough economy. Meanwhile, the old world of writing a check to a charity has given way to a new world in which individuals, spending an increasing amount of time on the Internet, make an online "digital donation" by clicking and providing their debit or credit card number. 

According to recent statistics reported by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, more Americans are getting online than ever before: 80 percent of adults and 95 percent of teens use the Internet. Twenty-five percent of those adults make charitable donations online, and that percentage continues to soar. Beyond harnessing the emotions of existing donors, online giving also attracts new donor demographics, particularly the young and the affluent. According to Pew, 98 percent of American adults with annual incomes greater than $75,000 use the Internet.

Still, there are many instances when giving opportunities "in the moment" exist at a live, in-the-flesh person event. Mobile donation solutions that help churches effectively increase donations while streamlining accounting have to adapt to two worlds -- the physical and the digital.

Today, churches  are leveraging their websites to increase donations, and they are also using special mobile giving kiosks -- some that can cost as little as $100 a month -- that enable congregation members and their guests at an onsite event to easily and securely donate monies in less than 30 seconds. According to data gleaned from our customer database, by leveraging inexpensive Internet and mobile technology, some churches are increasing their average donation by more than 160 percent.

 Here are five tips to help churches increase donations exponentially.

1. Provide for a pathway from your onsite event to your church's website.

At your onsite event, you need to be able to register people quickly and easily so that they can submit key information to donate that is instantly transmittable to mesh with your online giving mechanisms/infrastructure. The information gleaned from onsite and online donations must be easily viewable/accessible to the individual at your church who manages incoming donations. For under $100 a month, you can have a kiosk at your onsite events that enables individuals to donate by merely swiping their credit card, making a couple of selections via the kiosk's keypad, and the information is stored with data that other charitable individuals have provided when they have visited your church's website to make a donation.

2. Always provide an option to donate.

Whenever your church has an onsite event or online event that requires registration or involves a transaction, provide a "click" mechanism or option to make a donation to your organization. Your giving kiosk onsite and your website can be giving points for your congregation members, as they sign up for/purchase tickets for events, register for childcare, access maps, and location-based apps.

3. Make sure your solution provides for accurate accounting of charitable giving.

Tax-deductible giving has traditionally been hard to track and account for come tax time. Make sure your solution can automate donation schedules, and enable you to receive detailed receipts for each donation. This enables consumers to provide charitable donations and take advantage of the tax benefits of such giving.

4. Be safe, not sorry.

As data breaches continue to plague organizations, charitable institutions need to protect donor information in all transactions. Only use a solution that's fully compliant with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) to ensure transactional integrity.

5. Make your giving platform "friendly."

You want to have your online and mobile giving solution capable of supporting third-party software applications. By enabling your system to work with other apps used by other websites, you will be able to have a presence to receive donations not only at your church's website but others' websites, as well!

Don't forget to put your giving button or link on your church's home page so that people can find it easily; if your members or guests have to hunt to find the giving page on your website, the chances of them giving decrease.

And, for kiosks to capture donations at the church and onsite church-sponsored events, provide directional signage to the giving kiosks so that they are easily accessible.

Providing church members and their guests with easy-to-access online and onsite options to give will significantly increase donations to your organization.

Todd Baylis is president of Qgiv, a company he co-founded in 2005. Qgiv is dedicated to providing solutions that make accepting online, mobile and web donations easier. Privately held, Qgiv is headquartered in Lakeland, Florida, www.qgiv.com.

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