This week we had the opportunity to talk with parish representatives from across the country while we were at the International Catholic Stewardship Conference. In addition to increasing our depth of understanding on our journey of Faith, we wanted to make sure we understood the experience our customers have with our products and services.
We heard some useful techniques to maintain parishioner engagement and increase contributions for parishes who are using Online Giving from OSV:
1. Send an email to announce special collections
Each month you have a new special collection planned, pull your email list from Online Giving and send parishioners information about the purpose of the collection. As part of the note let them know they can log in and select the gift as an option.
2. Send a mid-year and year-end reminder
A couple times each year send a gentle reminder email to your Online Giving contributors. Thank them for their contributions and remind them to review their gift commitments to the parish. This gentle nudge encourages people to take the time to log in to review their commitments.
3. Make Online Giving a Standard Part of Your Stewardship of Treasure program
If you do a more formal annual or periodic process to review and pray about financial commitments to the parish, you can make it easy for parishioners by including the link to Online Giving in all your materials. This is also a great way to sustain the the commitment through automatic recurring contributions.
Parishes who are offering Online Giving reported fantastic results:
One parish in Indiana credits Online Giving with "stabilizing their cash flow". They had a tremendous reduction in monthly offertory during summer months when parishioners left for vacations at lake cottages. By offering a simple way for parishioners to set up recurring contributions, this parish eliminated a 30% loss of revenue for 3 to 4 summer months. In addition the parish has seen an overall increase in contributions of 23% or more.
Two parishes we talked with compared contributions for the group of parishioners using Online Giving. They looked at the 12 months before the group started using the application and compared it to the 12 months after they started using the application. One parish in the northeast has seen an astounding 62% increase from credit card gifts, and a 49% increase overall. Another parish measured 42% increase.
In general we are observing at least 30% increase for individual parishioners who move to Online Giving. This is due to a combination of the regularly scheduled gift and conscious decision on the part of the parishioner. We also have found that coordinating Online Giving as part of a broader plan which keeps parishioners informed and engaged in the direction of the parish generates a more sustained increase over time.
Keep track of what we are doing through our news and events page: http://www.osvoffertory.com/NewsEvents.aspx
And let us know your experience at your parish!