Congregations are increasingly seeking out options for online giving to meet the preferences of members across generations. The current COVID-19 pandemic has made finding a donation platform even more urgent as restrictions on public gatherings have temporarily moved many worship services online.
These platforms offer an array of popular giving options:
- Online donations—set up a page to collect one-time and recurring gifts via credit card or electronic funds transfer (EFT) from checking or savings accounts
- Recurring gift program—an amount is automatically withdrawn for offerings or tuition from the member’s bank account or credit card on a regular basis
- Text to Give—members can text a phone number to give a dollar amount; this is charged to their phone bill
Comparing vendors typically requires contacting each company to negotiate options and pricing—and the pricing structure is a little complex (e.g., a set fee plus a percentage of transactions). Another factor to consider is how well the software coordinates with your church database.
There is no WELS-endorsed vendor, but many congregations use Vanco’s GivePlus program because of their familiarity with Vanco’s past SimplyGiving program for gathering offerings electronically. You can review the Vanco platform at the St. John’s, Wauwatosa, and St. Marcus, Milwaukee, websites. Other vendors used by WELS churches include RebelGive and Realm. RebelGive has a simple interface and annual price (fees are covered by member donations). Realm goes beyond online giving to also coordinate and collect member information, church communications, and events.
Once you have an online donation page, it’s easy to make this available to members via the offerings section of the bulletin or a digital display as a QR code by following these simple steps. You can learn more about online giving from this WELSTech Podcast (minutes 6:15-12:45) and by contacting Ministry of Christian Giving at email@example.com or 800-827-5482.
Note regarding donations to WELS: In view of Wisconsin Governor Evers’ “Safer at Home” order, our WELS Center for Mission and Ministry employees will be working from home until further notice. During this time, acknowledgment letters for gifts by check or cash will not be prepared and mailed. We thank you for your understanding and will send such letters as soon as practical after our office is reopened. (Online gifts will continue to be immediately acknowledged by e-mail.)