Macbook_0748As churches begin to look toward the annual stewardship campaign, many will be considering whether or not they should add online giving to their website. The answer is yes, if you can.

We can take pictures of checks and upload them to our bank account. We use computers or tablets or phones, whatever we have to pay our bills and connect with causes. Online giving is a good way to engage people who do their banking and bill pay electronically.

If you want to get more young adults involved in your stewardship drive online giving is a good tool to have. In 2012 83% of young adults (about 18-30) made a gift to a nonprofit. How did they do it? 84% gave online. (For more see the Millennial Report 2013)

Ok, so if you want to have some kind of online giving tool on your website, what can you do?

The easiest thing is Paypal. As a non-profit churches can use Paypal at a discounted rate. You’re looking at a rate of 2.2% + $0.30 per donation. So Paypal gets $2.50 out of every $100. (Some churches ask their donators to pay a bit more to cover that rate.) Paypal works mobile, it works without the giver having to have a Paypal account, it’s a good all-around donation tool. If your website is a Worship Times we offer easy Paypal integration through Gravity forms.

Research other online tools and see if there’s something better out there for what you want to do. For example, if you’re doing a creative project with a clear end goal consider Kickstarter. (Check out this Philadelphia ministry kickstarting a soup company) Raising money for the youth group to go on a mission trip? Maybe GoFundMe is the way to go.

Pay attention to the rate charged for each donation and any barriers to getting the donations (for example, if your Kickstarter doesn’t get 100% or more funded you don’t get any money). Also think about whether or not you’re going to change how offering happens in Sunday morning worship. A church here in Louisville gives online donators poker chips to put in the offering plates to symbolize their giving. (The chips don’t directly reference how much they donated, just that they did donate.) If you still can’t figure things out, reach out to a local church who is already doing online giving and ask them for help.