Online Giving During COVID-19 with Troy Pollock
Churches are beginning to realize the importance of incorporating online giving for their members during COVID-19. William recently interviewed Troy Pollock from Pushpay to discuss tips and strategies for online giving.
Pushpay, an online giving solution, makes it easy for members to give to their church through an online platform. Their heart is to help equip the church with tactical and practical ways to leverage technology while also being able to share their message online.
A New Norm in Giving
Institutionally, churches are not quick to change their ways. But right now, we are seeing both smaller and older churches who are looking for ways to give online. Troy, who has worked for Pushpay for over seven years, has noticed a dynamic shift in the way churches are desiring to implement technology now. While most of our biggest life changes happen through face-to-face interaction, we just have to shift the way that occurs right now, given the context of social distancing.
The way the church operates will never be the same after COVID-19. Because of the innovation being bred by this necessity, there’s a new norm for the way we interact and the way we give, but it doesn’t have to create a dichotomy when we can gather again. People will still have the desire to give on Sundays using cash, however, since people are learning to give online right now, many people will shift to this new norm. “I believe hybrid-giving will be the new norm for churches who did not use it before COVID-19,” Troy expressed.
Top Tips For Pastors and Leaders New to Online Giving
Communicate the purpose of online giving to your church community. Right now, it’s a necessity. Be sure to research and explain that it is safe to give using an online portal. This is a common fear that many people who are new to online giving will struggle with, so know it’s coming and respond with patience.
Highlight the positives of online giving. It’s easier for people to adapt when they understand the benefits of a new process.
Use banners on your website with instructions on how to give online. Having public and frequent displays in places where your members will already be visiting will attract and encourage more people to utilize your online giving portal.
Make people aware of the different ways to give. Different people prefer different methods. Make sure all of the possibilities are outlined and clear for users.
Share real stories about positive life-changing things that are happening through your online services.
Major Strategy: Segment your donors by running a report that shows who your cash and check givers are. Then, reach out to them individually and let them know that they can continue giving through an electronic system with instructions on how to do it.
Follow-up with Your Donors
William explained the importance of intentionally and diligently following up with the donors of your church. During such challenging times, a simple gesture like thanking them for their gift goes a long way. Even when we’re not in a global crisis, gratitude and appreciation are never overlooked. Senior Leaders hold the most influence in most churches, so encourage them to be the ones to follow up with first-time donors to show appreciation.
Aside from ensuring your members know that they’re valued for their support and generosity, Troy mentioned that donors are also more likely to give a second time after receiving a follow up from their Senior Leader. Pushpay even has the capability of highlighting new donors through a report so that you can be sure to follow up with them. Again, this is significant because it shows your church members that you see them and you appreciate them.
TIP: You can even send a thank you text if that’s easier. A lot of people text throughout the day, so it’s a way to make sure you express gratitude immediately, and that your message will be seen. It also lets the giver know that it’s a personalized message from a leader, rather than an auto-generated email or letter.
Communicating the Importance of Implementing New Technology in the Church
William and Troy are both aware of a few churches that question the validity and need for online giving. In the interview, Troy shared two strategies for new pastors who are in need of implementing online giving:
Get your board to approve; if applicable
Remind your leadership that it’s important to use the same technology that their attendees are using
While COVID-19 is introducing many challenges, it is also opening the door for a lot of opportunities. Implementing new technology in the church right now is a good way to meet your church’s internal needs and adapt to the channels and methods that a lot of your members are already using.