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!".

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