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By Jason Caston

Source: iChurchMethod.com

The effectiveness of online donations cannot be denied. President Obama received over $690 million in online donations during the 2012 presidential campaign. With the ability to quickly and safely donate small amounts online, politicians running for office have discovered this tool. Now, the iChurch can harness this powerful force too.

It is very simple to add a free donation form using Paypal.com, Jotform.com or Kimbia.com to your website to collect money online. With this online form, a website user can easily select their own amount and donate in seconds using a credit card. Your ministry, however, must still pay the credit card processing fees for handling the transaction. There are also donation programs/modules where an online user can set up automatic recurring withdrawals from their bank account or credit card to give to the church.

eChecks are yet another way for users to pay/donate online. eChecks are payments that you make directly from your bank account. Note that the ability to use debit cards for online donations is not easily done for free at this time so that feature is not prominent in eCommerce.

For some, the convenience factor is a big reason for iChurch online donations. The younger generation is very familiar with donating online. In fact, many young people have never written a check but they are very familiar with online shopping (or donations) from their computer or mobile devices and using a credit card online. If you add a mobile component to the iChurch such as “text to give” or a mobile website/app with online donation capabilities, you can harness the power of impulse donations. When a person is at an event where your church is represented, with a mobile module as part of your iChurch, that person can donate right there as the spirit moves them instead of having to drive home, log on to their computer and then donate. This may be hours later.

Another feature is record keeping. These online donations modules give an instant receipt to the person donating which is often very important to them. For the church, this also saves staff time months later because these online donation modules keep records for the church such as who donated, how much they donated and when they donated. This information is important for the ministry’s financial records.

An online donation eCommerce module added to your website can collect a large amount of money from online users, many of whom may never set foot in your church. These online users may donate smaller amounts, as President Obama showed but volume, not size, is what counts.

For more information on this and other topics, get your copy of “The iChurch Method Volume 1: How to Advance Your Ministry Online.” or The iChurch Method Volume 2: Changing the World When You Login or even sign up for the iChurch Method Online School. 

3 Responses

  1. Church Secretary

    Can you point me to any hard, cold evidence that shows an increase in income when a church starts accepting donations online? The Obama example is always used, but one of the keys there was the marketing and message. If a church has the same message, but adds a new channel, will donations increase or just shift? This is an ongoing debate in the churches I work with, and I have not yet found any solid evidence that accepting donations online increases yield. I’d love to be able to give them a reason besides “Everyone says you have to!”

    Reply
    • CMM
      Christian Media Magazine

      Hi. You can read this article here: http://tinyurl.com/ptr33j8 and this article here: http://www.rsistewardship.com/5-online-giving-statistics-that-will-influence-church-giving/ and this article here: http://www.fellowshipone.com/Downloads/DynamicChurchTrends/DigitalGivingIsSucessfulGiving.pdf

      Casey Graham is someone great to talk to. I saw him take up an offering at a conference one time and he collected like $9 because his point was nobody has cash on them or checks. They do have credit and debit cards.

      Reply
    • Jason

      Only examples I can give you are from the ministries I have worked with. They don’t publish their financial records online for public consumption but here is the cold hard facts:

      Church 1
      Offline donations = 56%
      Online donations = 44%

      Church 2
      Offline donations = 64%
      Online donations = 36%

      I don’t have the permission to give actual totals but here is the main key indicator for online vs offline donations, and that’s simply paying attention to where the financial industry is going. Cash/Checks are being used less and less and electronic transactions are being used more and more. Thus if the financial industry is going that way then the church or any industry that needs finances, will have to follow.

      Reply

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