Friday, April 13, 2012

"Oh that's right! I heard our parish is offering Online Giving..."

When I talk with members of my parish about Online Giving I often get a response such as..." Oh yes I did notice the letter and thought about it but we haven't done anything yet!" As in all communication programs, the information has to be repeated many times and in many different ways. We often do a good job announcing the introduction of Online Giving, but our efforts trail off and so do the new users for Online Giving.

In his book "Best Practices in Parish Stewardship", Chuck Zech summarizes the tactics that result in vibrant parish communities and the associated positive financial support from parishioners. He supports the idea of electronic contributions systems because they involve a conscious decision on the part of the donor and therefore can be considered a pledge. He also recommends lay witness talks.

Why not ask some of your Online Giving users to do a short talk at Mass to explain how they use the system and why they like it. This kind of talk would help form personal connections to the experience of the presenter and also would provide the opportunity for conversations after Mass.

We recently compared results for Online Giving customers who have used our introductory communications packages versus those who have not. The parishes that used the communications have on average 43% more users on their system than those who have not used the package. We'd like to trumpet this as a big success; however, it does not factor in parish size as a component, so we will say it indicates that communication about the system helps.

We do need to continue to invite people to use both envelopes and Online Giving. And the combination of a witness talk plus personal contact such as the example in the last blog have more direct results than a notice in the bulletin.

What has been your experience at your parish? how are you moving past "Oh that's right! I heard our parish is offering Online Giving!' to "Yes I am using Online Giving and it is convenient and easy to use!".

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Online Giving Milestone; Part of Offertory Planning

During the month of March Online Giving exceeded 1 million transactions! This significant milestone and the continued growth in users demonstrates that electronic contribution systems have become accepted as a tool for parishes and dioceses.

At the same time parishes continue to focus on the importance of offertory as part of liturgy and as an example for children in a family. So parishes are introducing Online Giving as a tool while also emphasizing liturgy and the use of offering envelopes as a means to participate in liturgy.

During March we also saw that the average percentage of parishioners using Online Giving increased to over 14%. There are a number of parishes with 30% or more of their parishioners using the Online Giving application. See our indicator at:

We recently heard a great example about how to introduce parishioners to Online Giving from a parish near Los Angeles. The business manager sets up a table monthly with her PC and invites parishioners to sign up after Mass. She has mugs with the parish logo and the Online Giving logo on the mugs as giveaways for people who sign up. This makes it easy for the parishioner to get started and its a fun way to introduce Online Giving!

How is your parish using Online Giving as part of your offertory plan?