The church collection plate has been a trusted and reliable donation tool for decades. But in today’s digital age, it’s not enough. Churches need to modernize their donation collection methods to reach a wider and more diverse audience.
In short, they need a way to collect donations online.
In this article, we’ll explore the most popular online giving platforms for churches, assess their features, and evaluate their pricing models to help you choose the best solution for your congregation. Let’s dive in.
Features to look for in a tool that enables online giving for churches
Instead of getting overwhelmed by browsing aimlessly through dozens of product websites. focus on the features that are most important to you. Those may be different depending on your church’s goals, but several features are indispensable.
A user-friendly platform is one. After all, few church ministers or admin teams have time to spend hours getting to grips with a new tool. Social media integration is another key feature. Church ministers know the importance of spreading the word better than anyone, and social media is a key channel.
“A nonprofit organization can use social media to increase donations and improve its visibility by successfully employing a comprehensive social media marketing strategy,” writes copywriter and content marketer Jacqueline Tabas. “Starting and implementing a coherent strategy may take a lot of time and effort, but it has been shown to be an extremely cost-effective marketing method for many organizations.”
Email integration and personalization features are also essential. Churches need a donation tool that either has email functionality built in or that seamlessly integrates with their existing platform. Where email is baked into the product, church staff should be able to use personalization features to ensure every email feels like a personal message.
“Donations take place among individuals, so when you send an email or monthly newsletter to your donors, always have their name in the salutation to make your greeting more personal and special,” says Patrick Coleman, CEO and president at GiveCentral. “I have found that actions like this not only help you make a connection with new donors, but they also help you retain them.”
The best platforms for online giving for churches
Get started by checking out the platforms we’ve shortlisted below.
An online form builder may not be the first tool you think of for online giving, but Jotform has everything you need to modernize your donation strategy. That includes
- Donation request form templates
- An advanced, user-friendly form builder
- Secure payment collection
- Powerful app integrations (including with email platforms like Mailchimp)
Unlike other donation platforms, you can even use Jotform as a comprehensive church management software. With over 200 church-related form templates, an easy-to-use database tool that automatically records form responses, and top-notch security at your fingertips, you’ll never need to use another tool.
You can get started with Jotform for free. Better yet, nonprofit churches get 50 percent off premium plans.
Givelify launched in December 2013 with a mission to make it easier for people to give to any organization or cause. To date, the company has helped drive almost $4 billion in donations. The platform’s flagship product is the Givelify app, which generated over $100,000 in giving in the first three months after its release.
Givelify also has a range of other features for church leaders, including targeted messaging, an Analytics Studio, and AI tools that can boost donation levels.
Givelify charges a transaction fee of 2.9 percent plus $0.30 for every donation.
Tithe.ly provides a suite of digital tools to help churches manage their finances, increase donor generosity, and engage members. Features include secure donations, back-end administrative tools, and daily bank account deposits. You can even ask donors to cover the processing fees, so your church receives 100 percent of each donation.
If donors don’t cover fees, then Tithe.ly charges 2.9 percent plus $0.30 for most transactions, but debit transactions incur a fee of one percent plus $0.30.
Donorbox is the go-to fundraising platform for 50,000 organizations across 96 countries. Since 2014, the company has been on a mission to give nonprofits everywhere the power to make a difference. The software is designed to maximize donations and streamline donation management, thanks to features like UltraSwiftTM checkout, Text-to-Give, and monthly memberships.
Donorbox charges a 1.75 percent platform fee and a payment processing fee of 2.2 percent plus $0.30 per transaction through Stripe.
With RebelGive, churches can save thousands of dollars every year with a low, fixed-price donation platform. That’s because donors cover all of the transaction fees.
On top of that, RebelGive has fine-tuned the donation process to be as seamless as possible and to encourage more and larger donations. You can manage everything from RebelGive’s control center, which even lets you track offline giving.
RebelGive charges a fixed platform fee, based on church size, that starts at $29 per month.
Photo by RDNE Stock project
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