Online Giving Growth For Small/Medium Sized Churches, Part 2

Every year a new annual report of sorts is delivered on the state of charitable giving in our country. It is called Giving USA and there is simply no better resource for the most current data on the previous year’s generosity stats and trends. The report is extremely comprehensive reflecting on a myriad of studies across all sectors of charities. I seek to provide a yearly summary and response of the highlights that I believe church leaders need to embrace to become better generosity leaders. This year the trends and shifts are such that I believe it warrants three blog posts, the first is Giving Trends are Shifting. This is part two addressing the online giving trends and church size. The final blog will reveal interesting learnings on marketplace generosity.

  1. Good news: online giving continues to grow. “Blackbaud Institute’s Charitable Giving Report showed results regarding total fundraising in 2018. In nominal terms, overall giving grew by 1.5 percent, while online giving increased 1.2 percent, from 2017. However, 8.5 percent of overall fundraising in 2018 came from online giving—the highest percentage in the nearly 20 years the Blackbaud Institute has tracked online giving.” 
  2. So-so news: not all sized organizations experienced digital giving growth. “Medium organizations saw the largest increase in online fundraising revenue at 3.7 percent. Online fundraising revenue grew by 0.7 percent for small organizations and fell by 0.5 percent for large organizations.” Just because a church is large and may be perceived to have more opportunities does not mean it will always be successful. It actually takes a more concerted strategic effort in complex organizations to experience consistent growth. Small and medium-sized churches may be just embracing digital giving, but please don’t stop. Your future resources are at stake.
  3. Really great news: online giving is growing in the church. Online giving is growing in popularity for religious organizations at a faster rate than online giving to all causes. Digital giving growth actually occurred at twice the growth rate of overall giving. Additionally, the number of churches mentioning online giving during church services increased from 52% in 2015 to 65% in 2017. Keep it up, church, great work!
  4. Good news: religious causes received on average larger online gifts than non-religious causes, online givers tend to give more, and give to more funds. So the best givers in terms of volume and variety goes to online givers. Digital giving is becoming more and more common. There are several standard hesitancies often voiced by church leaders related to digital giving. These hindrances can include transaction fees, the complexity of technology for the staff, the personal identity risk of e-commerce, and the lack of physical engagement during the offering time in worship. I would encourage all church leaders to see the other side as being represented by the givers. They desire to give more, more often, and to more funds when a digital opportunity is presented. Let’s scale these leadership hurdles and not hold giving back. Make giving fun and easy for the giver!

Here are some practical applications moving forward.

  1. Modern givers are only going to grow in their digital giving practices. E-giving is not going away and it is not limited to the young. All ages are engaging in digital giving. Learn to unleash this tool that makes giving fun, easy, and rewarding.
  2. Every church has modern givers and should have the best digital tools. Online giving can exist in two extremes. Most churches either have a static credit card transaction form which is very inexpensive or have leveraged an expensive more modern looking credit card transaction form. Both methods export from your church website to a third-party provider which is not giver friendly. The ability for a giver to give in a convenient and compelling way should not be about cost or even technology. LifeWay Generosity offers a fully embedded and customizable giving form that inspires givers. Your people never leave your website and you can create as many unique giving embeds as you like for no extra cost. We have removed all issues related to church size and complex technology. Convenience is at the fingertips of your givers.
  3. Online giving is a singular channel, but not the only digital giving channel. Online giving is not the only way to give electronically. There are actually six ways to give digitally today and those ways are rapidly expanding. The next generation enjoys giving in their social circles. They like both joining and inviting others. We have all watched the growth of companies like GoFundMe and Facebook with their crowdfunding platforms. LifeWay Generosity alone provides all six digital giving channels for the local church and faith-based nonprofits including crowdfunding! Every church can engage personal stories, videos, impact meters, social media, and events fully integrated with Google Maps, Google Calendar, and social media feeds. Your generosity can now go viral!
  4. Every church can leverage every channel. It is a great day to be a small and medium-size church. You have so many opportunities to engage the same exact technology and expertise larger churches often possess on their team. Gain a big vision and unleash a comprehensive giving effort with the best tools. It is your day to thrive in giving.

LifeWay Generosity has created a one-stop shop for all your generosity needs. We have free tools, training, podcasts, blogs, and more. Every resource you need to give and grow giving is at your fingertips. Dream big and unleash giving today at www.lifewaygenerosity.com. Be on the lookout for Part 3-Learning From Marketplace Giving.