When it comes to online giving, a church giving page can set the tone for congregants and inspire them to give. The page itself is a vital component in the online giving process, but all too often, simple mistakes can hinder the page’s effectiveness and inhibit online giving.
That’s why we’re bringing you advice on how to fix the 6 most common mistakes you’ll find on church giving pages. Today, we will go over the first 3 which are as follows:
- The Page is Too Complicated
- Lack of an Online Strategy
- The Page is Not Mobile Friendly
At the end of the day, a giving page is a tool for reaching your congregation. After all, online giving is an important development in church giving, especially as congregations ditch cash for debit and credit cards.
But you may be unsure about your giving page strategy. Or maybe your page isn’t mobile friendly (if this is the case, check out Qgiv’s guide here, but don’t worry; we’ll cover this important information in Mistake #3).
To stay on top of your tithes and offerings, keep an eye out for the following errors that can deter online giving, and take heed of these tips to take your giving page to the next level.
1. The Page Is Too Complicated
For your giving page to be effective, you’ll need a clear, easy-to-read form that encourages and inspires your congregants and page visitors to give. To do so, you’ll want to carefully evaluate your giving page to ensure that it follows the three golden rules:
- Be simple.
- Be clear.
- Be concise.
Oftentimes, giving pages are too complicated and don’t offer enough guidance for those who have arrived on the page. Let’s take a look at some problems related to over-complication that may be hindering your giving page conversion rate (i.e. the people who arrive on your page and complete the giving process).
Complication can take many forms, but the most common mistakes that appear on church giving pages are as follows:
- Following an illogical format. Beginning your page with a giving button or form may come across as demanding. But even more so, this kind of design provides no context for what giving means to your church, which will likely confuse supporters. Would you begin a church service with receiving tithes and offerings before greeting the congregation? You likely wouldn’t. Instead, ease page visitors into giving with an introduction.
- Too many distractions. Pictures, videos, bright colors, and changing fonts may dominate a page if they aren’t carefully laid out, making it difficult for supporters to pinpoint the information they’re supposed to be reading.
- Complex giving process. Online giving must be simple and straightforward. A complex giving process that pulls guests away from the page or that requires too many steps will inhibit giving.
According to Double the Donation’s online giving guide, an online giving page should allow supporters “to give quickly, easily, and securely.” If your page isn’t accomplishing this vital step, then it’s likely not fulfilling its full potential. Creating the best online experience for your congregants will encourage generosity and help lead them toward giving.
Remember: your goal is to keep visitors on the giving page until they make a gift, guiding them through the process of online giving. Carefully planning your page design will help ensure that your page is not only easy to use, but effective!
Your page should begin with an introduction to ease visitors into the giving process, followed by the giving aspects that you most want to highlight near the top of the page.
Once you have a basic design plan in place, follow these tips to keep your page orderly, focused, clear, and most of all, effective:
- Stick to a simple color scheme, using 1 to 3 colors. Keep the distractions to a minimum, and don’t feel pressured to add background colors.
- Keep fonts consistent. Use headers or larger fonts to distinguish sections or subsections, but otherwise, use the same size and style of font across your page. Be sure to pick a font that’s easy to read and accessible for everyone.
- Use images wisely and sparingly. Images can be great additions to a page, but only if they don’t distract the reader from the text. Choose high-quality, complementary images.
- Remove navigation bars from the page. Side and top bars are distractions that can lead visitors to other parts of the site before they’ve even started reading (or giving!).
- Keep it minimal. Don’t add flashy features or extras just because. Remember your purpose: to promote and encourage giving, not to showcase electronic tricks.
- Do not require an account. Offering the option of creating an account is a great way to engage with your members and retain visitors. However, requiring an account pulls them away from the giving page, distracting them from their original purpose. In fact, many page visitors will simply not give if they’re forced to make an account.
- Simplify giving forms. Keep your giving form to one page. Provide a checkbox that your givers can click if their billing and mailing information is the same. Place a single, clear submit button at the bottom of the form, and do not include reset buttons (accidentally clicking these can be very frustrating!).
Ultimately, remember that everything on your page must have a defined and direct purpose. Doing so will keep it simple, clear, and concise.
For more design tips, read up on the best church and nonprofit website trends. Or, ask a team of trusted members for their opinions on your design and their experience using the page. Follow up with your team if you make modifications!
2. Lack of an Online Giving Strategy
If having an online giving page is the extent of your online strategy, you’ll need to take some more time to outline your goals. After all, you wouldn’t organize a mission trip without a plan of action or okay a bake sale without determining where the gifts will go.
An online strategy will help you focus your giving page and measure its success with an eye toward growth. Strategizing will also help you contextualize online giving with your in-person efforts, allowing you to use your page to its full potential.
Without strategy, you’ll likely end up with an unfocused, overly-crowded, or uninformative page. Even worse, you won’t have a valuable means of measuring your page’s performance or a plan for integrating your online component into your current giving and communication efforts.
You want to leverage technology to accelerate giving. Your giving page should be an extension of your overall giving efforts, utilizing the advantages of the internet to grow giving in your congregation. An online page offers new opportunities for your congregation to give, but you’ll need to guide them toward the options that will most help your church.
What are you trying to accomplish with your giving page? You’ll need a clear plan that reflects the answer to this question. To determine your goals, start out by asking your team these questions:
- Are you using the giving page as an alternative to cash offerings during worship services or in partnership with cash offerings?
- Will you be offering the option to set up recurring tithes and offerings? If so, how can you promote this unique online feature to your congregation?
- Will your congregation have the option of giving “in memory of” or “in honor of” gifts? How will you incorporate this feature into your giving form?
- How will you distinguish your giving page from other giving options and resources that your church may offer?
- How will you distinguish between your giving page and specific giving campaigns, such as youth group mission trips, that require their own pages?
Questions and answers will vary depending on the scope of your giving program and the size of your congregation. Knowing which giving options and features you want to emphasize will help you determine your overall goals. Giving options can encompass the types of giving available to your congregation (tithes and offerings), the frequency of giving (recurring gifts), or the amount of each gift.
Be as specific as possible (i.e., instead of saying that you want your recurring offerings program to grow, aim for an amount or percentage). When you’ve determined which goals are your most important, you can establish a plan to design and promote your page. Remember, you want your giving page to be smoothly integrated into your church communication plan.
By figuring out how your giving page fits into your church’s current communications, you can better determine your goals for the page and promote it to your congregation.
3. The Page is Not Mobile Friendly
Mobile optimization is a vital aspect of any online page. But often, churches overlook this important step. Mobile access is more than convenience; it’s an opportunity to promote your giving page in-person and guide your congregation through the online giving process.
Take the time to encourage your mobile-savvy churchgoers to take out their devices (during small groups, Sunday school, fellowship events, or even during the weekend service) and show them the page in-person. Doing so will connect the congregation to online giving, easing them into the process.
Some churches feel that mobile giving is too impersonal or that it takes away the meaning of the offering. But mobile devices aren’t a temporary trend; they’re here to stay. Working with the technology that your congregation likely uses on a daily basis will help them integrate giving into their daily lives.
Pages that aren’t intentionally mobile-friendly can be confusing to follow or difficult to read on a mobile device, causing your church to miss out on giving potential from your mobile supporters.
Prioritize mobile accessibility by thinking about your mobile page with the same consideration that you’ve put into your online page. To ensure your page is mobile-friendly, you’ll need to optimize your giving page for mobile devices. To do so, follow these steps:
- Use large, highly-readable fonts. Mobile pages are much smaller than those that appear on a computer screen, so accommodate your readers as much as possible.
- Big buttons are better. Create buttons that are easy for a mobile supporter to click with their hands.
- Preview, preview, preview. Test out your changes as you make them by resizing the editing window on your computer to the size of an average smartphone screen or tablet. Check that everything still lines up neatly and that all images and text are in order.
- Test mobile responsiveness. Pull out your smartphone or tablet and check your online giving page on your mobile device. Read through the entire page. Try all the buttons yourself.
Remember that if your mobile giving experience is lacking, it’ll be even more frustrating for your congregants. Use your own mobile giving experience as a point of reference to make any necessary adjustments.
Have you made any of these mistakes on your giving page? Don’t worry! Mistakes are opportunities for improvement, and these solutions are here to help. Taking the time to plan and evaluate your giving page will help you — and your congregation — get the most out of online giving.
Whether you see big room for improvement or just a few tweaks to be made, take what you’ve learned to provide your giving page with a gift of its own; make it the best giving page that it can be.
In the next post, we will go over the other 3 common mistakes on church giving pages, as well as solutions to these issues.
Abby Jarvis is a blogger, marketer, and communications coordinator for Qgiv, an online fundraising service provider. Qgiv offers industry-leading online giving and peer to peer fundraising tools for nonprofit, faith-based, and political organizations of all sizes. When she’s not working at Qgiv, Abby can usually be found writing for local magazines, catching up on her favorite blogs, or binge-watching sci-fi shows on Netflix.