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Everyone knows the significance of a church offering plate. This is the traditional channel by which church members have shown their support for their ministry’s programs and activities. As the plate gets passed around, congregants contribute what they can in support of their church community.

But the COVID-19 pandemic presented many challenges to church fundraising efforts. Many churches responded to the crisis by moving to virtual or hybrid services to stay connected to congregants despite social distancing guidelines.

However, many churches experienced a disconnect between virtual church services and virtual fundraising capabilities. Many churches simply weren’t equipped to facilitate online donation opportunities since it was brand new territory for them.

If you relate to this situation, it could be time to adjust how your church conducts remote fundraising. There are plenty of church fundraising tools available that engage members while earning more for your ministry. We’ll review the following five tools:

  1. An online donation page
  2. Peer-to-peer fundraising software
  3. Text-to-tithe software
  4. Marketing tools
  5. Livestreaming software

Most church fundraising initiatives require some form of support from software tools, whether it’s to collect donations or promote the fundraising opportunities to your community. Let’s take a closer look at how each tool can support a well-rounded, effective church fundraising strategy.

Online donation page

Your online donation page is the foundation of your virtual fundraising efforts. This page acts as a virtual “offering plate” that can accept donations from church members 24/7.

To create an effective online giving page, invest in an online fundraising platform that allows you to centralize all aspects of your church fundraising efforts. Double the Donation’s list of church giving tools provides multiple options to kick off your search. Find a church giving software that allows you to create donation pages that are:

  • Streamlined. Your online giving page should only ask church members for absolutely necessary information. If your giving form is too long or complex, it might lead to prospective donors abandoning it before submitting their gift.
  • Mobile-responsive. In all likelihood, your congregants will view your online giving page just as much on mobile devices as they will on desktop computers. Your page should automatically adjust to fit the user’s screen size, so smartphone users don’t have to face any formatting issues when trying to submit a donation.
  • User-friendly. Your donation page should be accessible to all church members, no matter their age or abilities. It’s important to follow accessibility guidelines and make your page’s navigation straightforward. For instance, don’t include any flashing graphics or complex form design elements. This boosts trust in your online donation efforts and opens your fundraising opportunities to the widest possible audience.

As the foundation of your church’s virtual fundraising efforts, your online donation page should be professional and well-designed. Be sure to include your church’s logo or tagline on the page to promote brand recognition. This assures supporters that their gifts are going to the right place.

Peer-to-peer fundraising software

With peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising software, you can empower members to fundraise on behalf of your church. These software platforms allow congregants to create their own fundraising pages in support of your church and promote them to their family members and friends.

If you decide to launch a P2P fundraiser, your church will first create the main donation page. Then, encourage church members to make their own fundraising pages and share them with their personal networks using social media and email.

You can use P2P fundraising to support specific initiatives at your church, such as your mission trips or youth groups. You can also use it in conjunction with a fundraising event, such as a walk-a-thon or giving day.

Donately's complete guide to peer-to-peer fundraising explains that the right software will enhance your campaigns with features that allow you to:

  • Brand your fundraising page using your church’s logo and color palette.
  • Track donor data to identify trends such as the most popular donation days of the week or donation amounts.
  • Easily share your donation page with social media widgets.

P2P fundraising expands your marketing and outreach efforts outside of your church’s organic audience. Plus, it gives church members a way to deepen their involvement in your ministry and feel more connected to your church during these uncertain times.

Text-to-tithe software

Text-to-tithe, also known as text-to-give or text-to-donate, is a mobile fundraising initiative that involves supporters submitting donations using their smartphones. It offers a convenient fundraising avenue that meets congregants where they are, allowing them to give from a device they already use frequently in daily life.  

If this sounds like something your church could benefit from, here’s how the text-to-give process works:

  1. Invest in text-to-tithe software (such as Donately).
  2. Create your mobile-responsive online giving page.
  3. Receive a designated phone number and keyword from your text fundraising partner.
  4. Promote your text-to-tithe number and keyword to your community members.
  5. Your congregants will text the keyword to the assigned number and then be sent a link to your giving page.

That’s it! Once you’ve set up your phone number and keyword combination, you can implement text fundraising into any number of church fundraising initiatives. For instance, you can encourage P2P participants to share your text-to-tithe information on their fundraising pages. You can also share your text-giving number during your services and encourage church members to pull out their phones and donate at a specific time.

Additionally, robust fundraising platforms will also allow you to track donor data using your online giving page for your text-to-tithe campaigns. With tracking and reporting features, you can determine giving trends such as your most popular donation days of the week, your average donation amount, and who your most active donors are.

Use this data to enhance your future fundraising efforts. For example, you can focus your marketing efforts on your most popular day of the week for giving, or send personalized thank-you messages to your major donors.

Marketing tools

Marketing tools are the bridge that connects your fundraising efforts to your wider church community. Without a proper marketing strategy backed by software tools, your church won’t be able to get the word out about its fundraising efforts.

A strong marketing approach not only allows your church to connect with its current audience but also re-engage congregants who might have left the community during the pandemic.

To cover all of your marketing bases, make sure your church invests time and attention into the following platforms:

  • Social media: Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are incredibly popular among all age groups, especially your Gen X, Millennial, and Gen Z audiences. Use your social media pages to share quick updates on your fundraising initiatives, post shoutouts for congregants who have donated to your campaigns, and highlight upcoming events. Be sure to look into your options for social media scheduling tools, such as Hootsuite or Buffer. These tools make it easy to schedule social media posts for the future and monitor engagement metrics.
  • Email marketing: On average, people check their emails 15 times a day, which highlights the importance of this marketing avenue. With email, you can reach church members directly in their inboxes, enabling you to share information about fundraising progress and make donation requests. Email marketing platforms like Mailchimp and HubSpot allow you to create email campaigns and schedule them to be sent at a specific time. You can also use these platforms to assess the success of your email campaigns by viewing metrics such as open rates and click-through rates.

Your marketing tools give your church fundraising efforts the visibility they need to be successful. The best part is that most social media and email scheduling tools are free to use, with optional upgrades available.

Livestreaming software

If your church hosts any fundraising events, livestreaming software will come in handy. You may already be using digital church platforms to host virtual or hybrid services, and you can use these same tools or invest in new ones to host live fundraising events.

Popular livestreaming platforms include:

  • Facebook Live
  • YouTube Live
  • Zoom
  • Vimeo

You can use these platforms to offer exciting live fundraising opportunities to congregants, such as a virtual concert with a local or well-known worship band or a cooking class with a professional chef. These are great fundraising ideas if your church is conducting the majority of your activities virtually right now. You can still keep church members engaged in fundraising while offering them a fun and safe virtual experience.

You can also use livestreaming software to turn an in-person event into a hybrid experience, so they’ll have the option to attend either in person or from the comfort of their own homes. This gives church members the ability to participate at their own comfort level.

With these fundraising solutions in your church’s toolbox, you can efficiently accept virtual donations from church members and ensure your digital giving process is legitimate and risk-free. These tools will help modernize your donation collection process to offer congregants a streamlined, convenient giving experience.

Be sure to research your options for online fundraising software thoroughly before investing in any platform. Read online reviews, ask for demos, and get all of your questions answered to determine which tools will meet your church’s specific needs.

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This article was written by Jacob Spencer at Donately. is honored to partner with Donately