By Kent Woodyard
Digital giving doesn’t have to be complicated, convoluted, or otherwise intimidating. Sure, it requires a bit of research to find the right solution and a bit of legwork to implement, but – really – a successful giving solution comes down to getting a few basic things right.
Any giving provider worth its salt will excel in each of these areas. Use this list to vet any potential platforms your church is considering or to audit your existing solution.
Here are five things you should expect from your giving platform:
- Easy website integration
Don’t have a full-time webmaster on staff? You shouldn’t have to! Digital giving platforms now have tools that make it fast and easy to add giving options to your website. No coding required! The best platforms give you the option to paste their giving forms directly onto your website. That way, your givers can do 100% of their giving without ever having to leave your church’s website. But, even if you’re just getting an embeddable “Give Now” button, the platform you go with should be able to get your new giving page setup in a matter of minutes. After all, they’re supposed to be the experts. Not you!
- Flexible scheduled giving
The ability to automate giving is arguably the single most impactful aspect of online giving. Scheduled giving’s ability to transform inconsistent givers into consistent monthly “tithers” can completely transform your organization’s finances. Beyond that, recurring donations also stabilize cash flow to your ministry and make planning and budgeting a breeze. Your platform should make recurring giving as easy as possible. The less time and fewer clicks required, the better!
- Mobile giving options
In 2015, when we talk about “digital giving,” we’re no longer talking about a ‘donate’ button on your website. Or at least that’s not all we’re talking about. We’re talking about tablets and smartphones and apps and text messaging and more. The Internet has gone mobile, and your giving platform needs to go mobile with it. Different options will work better for different congregations, but your church cannot afford to ignore this rapidly growing giving channel. When it comes to connecting with disengaged givers – especially young givers – mobile is the way to go!
- Streamlined reporting
The chief concern of your online giving platform should be how easy it makes life for your givers. But they’re not the only ones we’re worried about! The right giving platform will streamline the workload for your finance team, as well. How intuitive is the admin back-end? Are reports exportable and available in real-time? Better still, does the platform integrate seamlessly with your church management platform or accounting software? Online giving, when done well, should increase giving AND decrease workload. If it’s only doing one of those things, it may be time to take a closer look.
- Rollout support
As important as it is to get the right tools in place, technology is only half the battle. You need to tell people about them! Effective communication is a huge component of every successful digital giving effort. You shouldn’t have to fend for yourself here. The right giving provider will not only provide the features listed above; they’ll also set your team up for success with marketing pieces, “done for you” resources, customized launch plans, and one-on-one coaching. Your church needs more than just a technology provider. Find someone who wants to be a true “partner” in your ministry.
Kent Woodyard is the director of business development for Mogiv, a multi-channel giving platform created specifically for pastors and churches, www.mogiv.com.
This article originally appeared in the June 2016 issue.