If you haven't set one up yet, learn how to set up your online giving account using SumUp here.
1. Why should I encourage people to give online to my church?
“I owe you more than my whole self, but I have no more, and by myself, I cannot render the whole of it to you.” St Anselm
Online Giving is a fantastic mechanism for giving that can enable a huge range of people to give, but it is just a mechanism. In order to be successful, we need to make it clear why we need people to give:
- We need to communicate the impact of giving (not the cost of the Church, but what we are doing with the money that people give and how giving is enabling the mission and ministry of our Church).
- We must tell people why we need them to give. During the Covid-19 crisis, many churches have lost income usually received from collection plates, visitors, regular giving and church hall lettings. We need people to give so that we can come out of lockdown and provide flourishing mission and ministry to our communities.
- We need to enable people to trust us as a Church. We must be transparent about how we handle the money given to us, and about how it is managed and spent.
2. Directing people to your online giving page
For people to give, you need to ask them and then tell them where to give. Test different times and groups with different ways of asking. It might feel strange, but our experience is that people are happy to think about their giving at challenging times.
Here is some wording you can use if you don’t know where to start:
‘During this difficult time when our church buildings are closed, we are still a church; meeting virtually for prayer services and fellowship, loving our neighbours by offering practical support to the vulnerable, and caring for our communities. With the closure of all our buildings, and some people not being able to give due to the financial impact of the pandemic on them, we cannot receive all the gifts that we usually would, so we really need your help now. If you are able to give more at this time, please visit our A Church Near You page/ website/ Facebook page/email [email protected] to find out how you can give. Thank you.’
It’s important to share the link to your online giving page widely. Try to share the link everywhere your church goes online, from your A Church Near You page, in virtual services, on your church website or Facebook page, in emails, newsletters and even WhatsApp groups.
‘Support St Mary’s Church Today. Please visit our online giving page by clicking here.’
‘While our building is closed, we need your support more than ever. Find out how you can help’.
Here are a couple of ideas for text you can use to signpost people to your online giving page. This text can be linked directly to your donations platform by hyperlinking the text. To learn how to do this on A Church Near You please check out our help centre article on formatting text.
3. Encouraging online giving on A Church Near You (ACNY)
Every Church of England church has an A Church Near You Site, and this is a great place to get started, especially if you don’t have a church website or Facebook page.
Once you have set up a giving button or giving page, you can ask anyone who wants to give to visit your ACNY page by sharing the link to your page with them.
Customised giving video
Once you have set-up your giving page, use the Video Generator in the ACNY Resource Hub to customise an animated video that encourages people to give to your church. You can also share this video on your social media and during online services to help promote online giving for your parish.
The Church of the Holy Spirit in the Diocese of Southwark has added a giving button to their ACNY page and it’s one of the first things you see when you visit the page. This is great signposting and visitors are just one click away from being able to give online directly to Holy Spirit.
4. Encouraging online giving on your church website
If you have a church website, you could add a giving page outlining all the ways people can give, including a link to your online giving page. You might also want to add a giving button or link to the homepage of your website so visitors can easily see where to give. Talk to your website administrator about the best way to do this.
St Chad’s Church, York have added a giving button on their website homepage clearly directing visitor to where they can give.
St Stephen’s Church, Preston have included a great giving section on their church website, which clearly states why they need people to give, and what the impact of giving is. They also include contact details for the treasurer in case people would like to talk about their giving, which helps to build people’s trust.
5. Encouraging online giving on Facebook
If your church has a Facebook page, you can share your online giving link with your followers.
Find out more about setting up or managing a church Facebook page here.
Asking people to give through a Facebook post is the easiest way to quickly use Facebook to encourage online giving. You may then want to pin this post to the top of your News Feed so it’s the first thing anyone visiting your page sees.
Sample text for a Facebook post:
During this difficult time when our church buildings are closed, we are still a church; meeting virtually for prayer services and fellowship, loving our neighbours by offering practical support to the vulnerable, and caring for our communities. With the closure of all our buildings, and some people not being able to give due to the financial impact of the pandemic on them, we cannot receive all the gifts that we usually would, so we really need your help now. If you are able to give more at this time, please visit our online donations page by clicking here: link to your online giving page. Thank you.
Upload your customised giving video from ACNY and share it in a post too.
Sample text for a Facebook post with video:
While our church building is closed, we are still a church and we need your support.
Here is a short video about what we are doing and how you can help by giving online here: link to your online giving page. Thank you.
Facebook Donate is a service that you can use to collect donations through Facebook directly. Although it’s a useful tool, as most churches aren’t registered charities, the registration process is cumbersome, and it’s not possible to claim gift aid through Facebook Donate if you are an excepted charity. We don’t recommend you use Facebook Donate, but promote your online giving page through some of the ways suggested about instead.
Church in the Park in Newcastle upon Tyne are encouraging giving on their Facebook page. They have pinned a post including the giving animation to the top of their News Feed. A link to their giving page is also shared during streamed services in the comments section of the streaming page. Here’s a picture of how this works.
6. Encouraging online giving in virtual services
Virtual services are a good chance to think creatively about the offering within your services because passing around collection bags and plates isn’t possible.
As well as talking about giving in the notices section or including a ‘virtual offering’, you can include your customised giving animation in online services to encourage those to give online at the point in a service when they might normally make a cash offering.
Using the screen sharing function, play the giving animation during your service and include a slide with giving information on it at the beginning or end of the service linking to your website or ACNY page.
There is more guidance on live streaming your event here.
If you use Facebook Premier or Facebook Live to share your online services, add a link to your online giving page in the comments sections and pin to the top of the comments feed.
If this all seems too high-tech, why not print the link off on to a sheet of paper and hold it up during a hymn?
Learn how to add a service or event to ACNY with your live-stream link here.
Cramlington Parish Church in the Diocese of Newcastle includes this Giving Slide at the end of their virtual services highlighting a range of ways to give, but also communicating clearly why they need people to give.
Kings Cross Church in London has been using this Giving Slide in their virtual services making good use of QR codes.
More resources to help you:
Reimagining the Offertory is a toolkit on Parish Resources that offers resources to help parishes enable their offering to move closer to becoming both a joyful act of worship and also a committed part of discipleship. Giving in the context of worship reflects the importance of giving in community. The offering can also be a wonderful time to give thanks for generous contributions of time and talents in your community, both inside and outside of your church family.
Particularly useful for pre-recorded or live-streamed online services are:
- Hymns and Songs
- Introductions and Sentences
- Offering Prayers
- The Diocese of York Generous Giving Team has produced offering prayers written for online worship.
7. Encouraging online giving in your newsletter
You should share a link to your online giving page in your email newsletter or digital service sheets if you have them. As your newsletter is going to recipients who have opted in to receive it, it is fine to include fundraising messages under the terms of GDPR. If you have any concerns, please consider reviewing your privacy notice. There is more guidance here.
Suggested wording for your newsletter:
Giving to St Barts
We are keeping a very close eye on the cost of running St Barts during the lockdown and have cut back on all non-essential spending, to minimise the impact on the budget set for the year. Thank you to everyone who gives to sustain the life, mission and ministry of this church. If you would like to join our planned giving scheme, please do so here /speak to the treasurer. If you normally give via the collection plate, you can make a one-off gift by clicking the link in the below.
All contributions are very gratefully received since we have lost several of our regular income streams since being in lockdown, owing to the cancellation of weddings and other events.
Make a one-off gift to St Barts here (include link to online giving page)
8. Encouraging online giving in your emails
If you’d like to add a giving message to your email signature, here is some suggested text:
While our church building is closed, we are still a church and we need your support. You can help by giving online here: link to your online giving page.