How can you integrate online giving into your website?
Maybe your church is still meeting online, and you’ve never found a good giving solution. You’re not alone. During COVID-19, Barna Group found that “70% of pastors report that overall church giving is down.”
Maybe your church decided to continue an online giving service even after transitioning back to in-person services. Maybe you need an online giving solution for a totally different reason. Either way, here are some ideas and tools to help you take your online giving capabilities to the next level.
Online Giving Overview
No matter your situation, your end goal is to get money into your church’s bank account. Before you can build a process to make that happen, though, you will need to talk to your bookkeeper, treasurer, or any other financial personnel at your church. You should work with them through this process to ensure that you’re on the same page and you can find a system that works for everyone.
Now, in order to get that money into your church’s bank account, you can leverage several possible systems. You’ll need a third-party payment processing service. Some church management systems like Breeze or Realm already come with online giving capabilities. If you are part of the Presbyterian Church in America, the PCA Foundation offers an online giving service that you could definitely take advantage of. Tithe.ly and easyTithe are good options if you don’t have any systems already in place. You can also use a general payment processing service like Stripe, which isn’t built primarily for churches.
To make these services accessible for your church members, you can either embed the donation form onsite, or you can link your website to an offsite page. Embedding the donation form is more difficult to set up, but will mean a better giving experience for your church members.
“Quick Start” Online Giving
If you want to set up your giving system quickly, here are some things to think about:
- Do you already have a Church Management System (ChMS)? Talk to them or research their online giving capabilities.
- If you don’t have a ChMS, try Tithe.ly or easyTithe.
Tithe.ly versus easyTithe
Tithe.ly and easyTithe are both very popular giving services. Here is a quick cost breakdown and summary of their key features. These prices and rates may have changed since this analysis.
- $0 setup cost
- $0 per month
- 2.9% + 0.30 per trx
- $10 monthly minimum
- 3% + 39¢ per debit/credit gifts
- 1% + 39¢ per ACH gift
Before you go with any option, make sure you fully understand its capabilities. Here are a few key questions to keep in mind about any service you are considering:
- Is this a self-hosted or third-party hosted option?
- How quickly and how often is money sent to your church’s bank account?
- Is there a setup fee?
- Is there a monthly fee?
- What are the transaction fees?
- Can they process ACH (bank) transactions?
- Do they provide a fee recovery option for donors?
- What kind of reporting features do they provide?
Online Giving: Website Integration
If you want to integrate your online giving link into your website, the easiest way might be to add another page to your menu. To do this, go to your Dashboard, click Appearance, and then click Menus. Choose “Custom Links” and copy-paste your Tithe.ly link, for example, into the appropriate box. (To learn more about editing menus, you can read our blog post.)
Creating a “Giving” page is another way to integrate online giving into your website. A giving page can include some thoughts on what your church believes about giving, various ways to give (if applicable), and the link or button to the church’s online giving platform (such as Tithe.ly). An online giving page also allows a church to explain the additional costs associated with various giving methods if desired.
To give you a few ideas about how these systems work, here are a few links to churches who have used various giving methods:
- Covenant Presbyterian Church – PCA Foundation
- Faith Community Church – Stripe
- Community Bible Church – Tithe.ly
- Christ the King Presbyterian Church – Realm ChMS
- Oakland Hills Community Church – Breeze ChMS
- Lexington Community Church – Online Giving Page with Breeze ChMS