Did you know that gifts that come to churches online or through digital means tend to be larger than gifts that come in the form or cash or checks?

Did you know the younger the person, the more likely they will ONLY give when presented with digital options?

Did you know recurring, automated contributions can significantly mitigate the risk from weather-related cancellations?

There’s a whole lot that goes into a healthy stewardship system, but if there was a secret sauce, the closest thing to it would be emphasizing online, recurring giving.

It’s worth the transaction fees.

It’s worth figuring out the technology.

It’s worth the announcements.


First, online gifts tend to be larger. The average online gift is over $120 while in-person giving is about half of that. In other words, when people give online, they tend to give more.

Second, when people give online, they give throughout the week. The Sunday offering can still be an important time in your church, but churches using online giving properly see about 40% of their contributions happen on days other than Sunday. That's a big deal when you’re forced to cancel services due to weather.

Finally, churches that properly emphasize giving see overall giving increase by 15-20%. If you want to increase overall giving, focusing on online efforts might be a wise first step.

Here are three ways you can encourage more people to give online, and specifically, turn their donations into recurring ones.

#1 – Make online giving faster.

In 1999, Amazon patented one-click ordering. This allowed a customer to view a product and purchase it with just one click. They didn’t need to add it to a shopping cart and then go through a big checkout process.

This technology is used on a lot of websites today (and a lot of times, it’s licensed from Amazon!).

But the idea here is really powerful. The faster and simpler you make something, the more people will do it. Giving via your church website is the same way. If you make it faster, more people will do it.

A few years ago, I made donations to more than 100 church websites. I put them on the clock to see how long it took. The results…it took WAY too long.

How long does it take you to make a donation on your website? The best way to know is to turn on your phone timer and pull up your church website and make a donation. If it takes more than 2 minutes, you’ve got work to do.

If you’re looking for a fast, secure, and affordable online giving option, check out Hopeware. There are no monthly service fees, and you can even give donors the option to add the small transaction costs to their donation with the click of a button.

#2 – Emphasize digital options at least once a year.

It’s great to offer online giving.

It’s even better to offer recurring giving.

Mobile and text giving are important, too.

But all of this is not enough.

You need to emphasize these tools. You must create an intentional communication plan to highlight this option. You can’t just have it; you have to bring it front and center.

I recommend churches take the month of May and talk about recurring giving.

May is just before the summer months, when people do a little more travel and church attendance becomes more sporadic. Take 2-3 weeks and use all the communion means at your disposal to ask people to make a switch to recurring giving.

During this 2-3 week “mini-campaign,” you can…

  • Record screencasts and short videos showing how easy and fast it is.
  • Use a communication card to ask if people would like more information, then use and automated email sequence to share next steps.
  • Be honest with your church about why it’s better for the church.
  • Share stories and testimonies about generosity and giving.

#3 – Say thank you for online donations offline.

Whenever you talk about giving in church, make sure to thank people who give online. And say an extra word of thanks to those who automate their giving and make it a regular part of their life.

When you use this kind of language, you define normal. You remind people that these other tools exist, remind everyone they are in use, and create a culture of generosity.

Take a Next Step

If you want to work on your financial and stewardship process, check out The Systems Course. It’s full of insanely practical coaching as well as ready-to-use documents and templates. We’ll guide you through how to implement or improve key systems like…

  • Connection
  • Volunteers
  • Money
  • Preaching
  • Developing Leaders
  • Planning
  • Follow Up

The course and all of the resources will help you get your entire church organized.  And one enrollment is good for every leader (staff or volunteers) in your church. Enroll and go through it with as many people as you like.