How To Increase First Time Digital Givers

Churches have been launching digital giving platforms in record numbers over the past decade. Hopes have been high for both an immediate and long term surge of generosity. Most pastors that I visit with did see a slight bump initially, however they have not enjoyed the giving overflow they were promised or expected.

Here are some reasons your digital giving experience may be underperforming and how you can turn things around.

  1. Think like a first time giver. Just imagine what the giving experience would be like for a young family that was returning to church raising their kids in the faith. They are digitally savvy and are initially excited that the church has online giving. Or maybe, it is a senior adult who has never engaged the internet’s digital commerce capabilities. The young couple is excited with high expectations. The older giver is cautious but willing.

Common Problem: Unknowingly, churches often focus their digital giving web pages on what is most important to the church and not the first time giver. It is very easy to upload a credit card form and possibly gate it with a login screen. Then, the credit card form is hosted on a web page that is outside your church’s website and is not customizable. This experience causes giver’s pause and many will simply close the giving portal without making a gift.

Next Step: Imagine yourself in one of the two scenarios above and seek to make a gift on your church’s website. Note how it could possibly feel to a new giver. Often times, the people who create the giving experience are insiders with a high financial IQ. We need to think more like a first time giver.

  1. Create a journey people want to return to over and over again. Giving is an experience. It is actually a really enjoyable experience. Think about how great it feels to give a gift to someone special. Then consider the inspiring power of giving when you are working alongside many others who are contributing to a faith-based vision bigger than any one person.

Common Problem: Unknowingly, churches often speak about what is best for the church. We need recurring givers, tithers, people who will give to the budget, people who will give above and beyond, along with people who will donate noncash items. So we can easily feel the need to create an extraneous amount of copy on our giving pages that speak to everything we need. When a new giver comes to your site, they are experiencing both excitement in the opportunity and a little hesitancy in trusting digital commerce. Our language can often deflate or burst their giving bubble.

Next Step: Does your church’s digital giving experience speak to the emotion of a new giver’s experience or is it more focused on gaining a transaction for the church? How could you better nurture the new giver with pictures, stories, and a safe giving experience?

  1. Go modern, go mobile. Kiosk and online giving are the forefathers of digital giving. However, they are quickly becoming the past. 74% of churches make online giving available to their members. However, on average we only receive 15% of our income online. Whereas mobile giving is now growing. It is more than growing, it is thriving. Last year alone it experienced a 205% increase in giving use.

Common Problem: If a church has a less than enjoyable online digital giving experience, the mobile giving opportunity is often times worse. Some churches have text giving which is a little more convenient than online giving when done well, but it has limited potential. If a church has a dedicated church app it may or may not contain a giving link. However, if the giving link requires multiple clicks on web pages outside of the app, pinching or stretching the screen, and squinting you are losing.

Next Step: Does your church have a dedicated giving app that is just as convenient to use as popular apps like Uber, Venmo, Facebook, and Twitter? Remember, modern givers are very tech-savvy and they use their phones far more than a desktop experience.

Four Big Helps:

  1. If you are looking for some more help to coach your team through optimizing your first-time digital giving experience, we have a free ebook called “Is Your Giving Web Page Helping or Hurting.” I took the time to preview the leading church’s giving pages from across the country and provided some insights. You can download the free ebook here.
  2. If you do not have a dedicated generosity app, then we would like to give you one for free! Generosity by Lifeway is committed to unleashing generosity in every church in America. We are seeking to move the dial for kingdom causes. Register your church, download our app, and begin using it for free. Your people can make both one time and recurring gifts. They can even cover the credit card transaction fees for you. As an over the top bonus, we make noncash giving easy as well. Your people can give cars, real estate, securities, and items of value quickly. We will liquidate, provide a gift receipt, and forward the proceeds to your church. You simply have to check it out at
  3. There are actually six ways modern givers can give today. Every church needs to unleash all six. Generosity by Lifeway makes all six available to our customers. If you have read this blog to this point you can receive a 90% discount off your first year plus increase your modern giving channels. Go to to learn more. Our team would love to preview the platform for you, be sure to mention this blog to receive your promo code. 
  4. Free coaching is a must. Simply possessing an online credit card transaction form is not enough today. Maybe it was ten years ago, but the world has changed. Every customer of Generosity by Lifeway is provided over 100 hours of free generosity coaching tools from leading stewardship professionals. All the trade secrets are now yours at no additional cost. These tools can include templated letters, free teaching outlines, budget planning tools, and tips to discipling key donors. It is no joke and you will be blown away by the support!

I hope this blog has been helpful. Feel free to share it with your team, make some assignments, and have a discussion. Generosity is the role of everyone. Unleash giving today!