The following post appears at https://www.onlinegiving.org/support/welcome-the-digital-donor.
According to a new study, Meet the Digital Donor, produced by the Barna Group, a digital pastor thinks strategically about how digital giving opens doors. They found that 68% of pastors strongly agree that it’s important to offer opportunities for digital giving, and 57% strongly agree that digital giving is good for their church.1.
Are you a pro-digital leader, thinking strategically about how digital giving can open doors for your church? If you are not, your church’s giving might be suffering unnecessarily. But don’t worry. At OnlineGiving.org, we passionately design digital giving strategies that support the missions of our church partners. We have the platform and plans to help you become a digital pastor, thinking strategically about how digital giving opens doors.
The Meet the Digital Donor study gives us some new clarity about how Americans do commerce and what their preferences are about digital giving. Here are three observations on Barna’s new report about digital giving, followed by three suggestions. We’ve included a link to Barna’s report at the end. Our first observation helps make a case for why you must start thinking strategically about digital giving.
Observation #1 – Digital giving is here to stay, gaining traction among all generations. Let’s start with a few facts the new Barna study found. Their study confirmed that commerce is fast becoming a digital-only playing field. Meet the Digital Donor” reports that 25% of Boomers and 34% of Elders prefer giving online, and that’s in line with the online preference reported by Gen Z at 32%, Millennials at 25%, and Gen X at 30%. The study also showed that donors like multiple options. They found, “Giving online through a website is as common as giving cash in person. Thinking about the last time they gave, an equal proportion of people (22%) say they did so through each method.”
Suggestion #1 – Churches must provide multiple options for our option-loving Americans. At OG, we offer 15 different methods your members can give. From Crypto to text giving, we offer the latest digital giving methods available. Contact us at (615) 206-4000 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will give you a free demonstration!
Observation #2 – The Internet has become a key influence in financial decisions. The new Barna study states, “In the 2021 survey conducted for this report, two in five U.S. adults tell Barna that talking to close family or friends (41%) is one way they learn about finances. An equal proportion, though, (40%), gets this valuable information through internet research. Social media, an even more specific digital option, has taught about one-fifth of adults (18%) something about money. In other words, the internet now has as much influence as one’s inner circle of close friends and family regarding financial instruction.” The study stated, “All generations point to an organization’s website as their primary source for pre-donation research, underscoring the value of an informative, engaging website for nonprofits.”
Here is the study’s advice, “It is key for churches, nonprofits, and charitable organizations to have clear, accessible websites to help potential givers understand the reasons and ways to give. It may not be enough to offer online giving; prospective donors may respond to pages that make clear the purpose of the organization, how the money is used, stories of the impact on the community or world, and credible ratings or accolades received.”
Suggestion #2 – Because the Internet is the leading source of financial information, your online landing page must be informative. Strategically thinking churches use the main giving page on their website for more than simply collecting donations. It should also be a place where your members can learn how to get out of debt, better manage their money, and leave behind a legacy through estate planning. Make your site an informational treasure trove of helpful tips and financial advice. Your members will be better positioned to become the generous disciples God desires His followers to be.
For a great example of how to set up your online giving page, check out how Northridge Church has set up its giving page in this post, https://www.onlinegiving.org/support/3-keys-to-an-effective-giving-page.
Observation #3 – The average member is unaware of the options available. When it comes to giving options, the Barna study stated, “The prevailing answer among Christians, however, is that they are not sure what formats for financial gifts are offered at their church. This uncertainty is not new to the pandemic era and points to a need for church leaders to promote and educate about how congregants can contribute to the church financially.”
Suggestion #3 – Educating members about the various giving options you provide must be a continual process. There is an old church saying, “You must tell a church member seven times, seven different ways if you want them to hear what you are saying.” This is true when it comes to your digital giving platform. One of the common mistakes churches make with digital giving is setting it up and then forgetting about it. You must continually focus on each of the various giving methods you provide.
Meet the Digital Donor has given us great insights into the practices of Americans both in and out of the church. In one of their final comments, they state, “Whether your organization or church has fully embraced digital giving or is still hesitant, this research has implications for anybody who is invested in the success of generous movements. Leaders and fundraisers need to keep these key takeaways in mind as they connect with today’s donors—whoever they are and however they give.”
At OnlineGiving.org, we agree with this statement and work daily to help your church embrace digital giving to advance the Kingdom work God has called you to. We would love to show you how our platform and support can help you and your church think strategically about how digital giving can open doors for your church. Contact us at (615) 206-4000 or at email@example.com and tell them The Stewardship Coach sent you!