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Online Giving Options – A Pastor’s Perspective

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We are living through a unique window of time. Even with the likelihood of many of our churches not gathering physically for the next few weeks, the need for people to give generously does not dissipate at all. But how do we do that? How do people give if they aren’t in a room where the offering plate is passed?

One of the best options for churches is online giving. Many churches already have this in place, but there are so many who do not. Of course, you can always encourage your people to mail in their gifts. They can also use the bill pay option through their bank. However, in most cases, the best option is to set up online giving.

The goal of this post is to provide online giving options for you to consider. As a pastor who has been through this process and as a consultant for other churches, I wanted to find the best online giving option for other churches. I conducted my own research and compared multiple options. As you will see, my emphasis will be placed on solutions you can get up and running today at little to no cost to your church.

Tithe.ly

Price: Free
Platforms: Mobile giving, online giving, direct links for social media, kiosk giving
Fees: No startup fees, no monthly fees. 2.9%+ $0.30 per transaction
My thoughts: This is the option I am referring most churches to use. It literally takes five minutes to complete the setup process and you can begin receiving donations today. You can add a link on your church Facebook page and of course on your website. It has options for people to give a one-time gift or a recurring donation. Because it has no extra costs, it’s a no-brainer.

Easytithe.com

Price: Starts with a free option
Platforms: Mobile giving, online giving, Facebook app integration, kiosk giving
Fees: No startup fees, no monthly fees. 3%+ $0.39 per transaction
My thoughts: This is also a good option. The setup is a little more involved, but you can still get it set up relatively quickly. Paying a monthly fee is an option, but it doesn’t make sense for churches just starting out with online giving.

Generosity by LifeWay

 Price: Free to get signed up, but it does come with a monthly fee of $21.90 from their credit card processor. (Note: Through a special COVID-19 Digital Giving Plan offer, LifeWay is temporarily waiving the monthly fee. Visit https://lifewaygenerosity.com/coronavirus for details.)
Platforms: Mobile giving, online giving, direct links for social media, kiosk giving
Fees: No startup fees, $21.90 monthly for credit card processing, 2.69%+ $0.30 per transaction (See special discount offer above.)
My thoughts: The entire platform of Generosity by LifeWay is impressive. It offers everything you want, and it integrates with your website beautifully. The onboarding process is a bit cumbersome and it will take more than a week to get going.

Givelify.com

Price: Free
Platforms: Mobile giving, online giving, direct links for social media, kiosk giving
Fees: No startup fees, no monthly fees. 2.9%+ $0.30 per transaction
My thoughts: This would be my second option if I were signing up. It’s free and easy to get started.

 Ultimately, no matter which option you choose, I pray that we have realized this is a new normal. While this crisis may be forcing you to seriously consider online giving, it is a tool that all churches need to use. According to a recent article by PushPay, more than 68% of church members have indicated they want digital options and 39% of people used their smart phone to pay a bill in the last month. About 75% of Americans average writing only one check per month. In fact, when churches add the option to give online, it actually increases the giving level of the church! My experience as a pastor is that the church more than makes up for any fees associated with online giving because more people end up giving when given the choice.

I know that it is difficult to have to make these decisions so quickly, but these are all trusted options. If you need further help and guidance, I know there are folks at the State Board of Missions who can provide assistance and I am certainly willing to provide any help as well.

I am praying for you as you lead in the days ahead.

Mark Gainey serves as the lead pastor at Fultondale FBC.

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