May 6, 2021

The Guide to Online Giving for Churches


Giving back to your church is one of the hallmarks of the Christian community. Whether it’s through donating your time or tithing to your congregation, every church can rely on its congregants to want to do what they can to grow and uplift their brothers and sisters. 

However, sometimes churches stumble in figuring out how to strike the right balance when fundraising. Your congregation will always have financial needs to address, and you must be able to empower your congregants to show their support without putting them under undue pressure. 

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll go over how online church giving tools can fit into your church’s fundraising strategy without leaving behind your core contributors. 

Online Giving for Churches

Online Tithing Software

If your church doesn’t yet use online giving software as a way to collect gifts from congregants, you may be missing out on important fundraising opportunities. Now more than ever, people prefer to give over the internet. By enabling congregants to give from their computers or smartphones, your church can reach a whole new audience of eager supporters looking to give back. 

Consider some of these types of online tithing software to get familiar with the many ways your church can start collecting gifts over the internet. 

Online Giving Forms

Online giving forms are the bread and butter of online church giving. To accept gifts online, your church needs to invest in online giving software to create these forms. With this software, you’ll be able to set up church giving forms branded to your congregation. You can share these forms on your website, social media pages, or even via text and email. With online giving forms, you can reach congregants wherever they prefer to give, be that at home, on the go, or in the pew. 


With text-to-tithe software, your church can enable congregants to tithe directly from their smartphones. By sending a keyword to a specialized phone number, supporters will be sent back a link that takes them directly to your church’s mobile-optimized online giving form. With just a few clicks, they can donate directly from their phone from anywhere. Since so many of your congregants no longer carry cash, text-to-tithe software allows them to give at services quickly and conveniently. 

E-mail Giving

By adopting e-mail giving software, your church can access more supporters and help streamline the giving process even further. With this software, your church will be able to include donation buttons in emails to congregants. You can send out emails equipped with this button in periodic church giving reminders, or in your regular communications with your congregation. Email giving software offers your church the ability to encourage congregants to give throughout the year to campaigns that are meaningful to them in addition to their weekly tithing. 

Church Giving Practices

Not only can online giving tools make it easy for internet-savvy supporters to give back to your church, but this software can also be incorporated into your congregation’s traditional fundraising practices to unite every arm of your church’s fundraising strategy. With the right church-giving tools in place, your church can enhance how you currently fundraise without leaving anyone behind. 

Let’s explore some of the ways your church can incorporate online church-giving tools into how you raise money already. 

Collection Plate

Contributing to the collection plate every Sunday is likely the way your congregants are most familiar with tithing to your church. However, since more and more people are going cashless, they may not always have the amount on hand they’d like to give. In addition to passing around the traditional collection plate at services, your church can encourage congregants to use your text-to-tithe keyword from the comfort of their pew. 

End-of-Year Gifts

For many, contributing a generous end-of-year gift to your church is part of their family’s holiday tradition. To make this process even more convenient for your congregants, consider promoting online giving during this season as an alternative to writing a check. Your church can email your congregation with reminders in the weeks leading up to Christmas and include your donation button at the bottom of each message. 

Church Newsletter

Your church’s newsletter is a great way to connect your congregants with online giving tools through a medium with which they’re already familiar. If your newsletter is fully digital, be sure to include links to your online giving forms within the publication itself. If your newsletter is on paper, you can still direct readers to your donation forms by including a scannable QR code or instructing them to use your text-to-tithe keyword. 

Social Fundraising for Churches

Peer-to-Peer and Wishlist Fundraising

One of the most effective ways for churches to raise money online is through peer-to-peer and wishlist fundraising. With this unique social fundraising method, congregations set up fundraising pages that supporters can give to directly. As the campaign is shared across social media, churches can increase awareness of their fundraising needs while also growing their community of contributors. 

Consider some of these ways your church can incorporate crowdfunding into your fundraising strategy and collect more gifts online. 

Fund a Mission Trip

Mission trips are an important part of your church’s calendar, but they can often be quite pricey. For this reason, crowdfunding is one of the best ways to raise money for your church’s next big mission trip. Congregants who will be on the trip can share your crowdfunding page with their networks using personalized posts explaining why the trip is so meaningful to them. As you get closer to your goal, supporters can watch your progress in real-time on your church’s crowdfunding page. 


Connect families in need with volunteers from the community who can “adopt-a-family” during the holiday season. Families are treated to gifts and food through the generosity of adopters. Volunteers can fundraise for daily living essentials plus toys and games that provide children with much-needed diversion and recreation. For these families, the anticipation of a joyous Christmas celebration is a light of hope in what can be a very dark and challenging time. 

Raise Funds for a Capital Campaign

When people give money to a capital campaign, they want to know where their money is going. One way to encourage participation is to provide a detailed breakdown of where every dollar will go. This is extremely helpful for people who may not be sure whether or not to give. By understanding their impact, donors feel like they are more involved in the process. You can also use Centennial celebrations as a crowdfunding theme to enlist volunteers and raise money. 

Promote a Prayer Service for Disaster Victims

People who are left homeless after a natural disaster don’t know exactly where to turn for interim housing. Being able to provide living essentials, and showing care and concern offers identity, security, and hope to rebuild. As part of the vigil, have volunteers take videos and photos and capture prayerful moments for social media posts, text messages, and emails with easy giving instructions. This illustrates the need for your supporters and encourages them to give both time and money. 

Setup Camps or Trips for Youth Groups

Student and youth group ministries provide experiences for young people to relate to real-life and also connect them to God’s word in an intentional way. Millennials look primarily to digital channels to connect to social issues they care about. Providing them with a fundraising and communications toolkit to promote on social and mobile channels within their network can amplify their fundraising efforts and generate greater awareness for youth group ministries. 

Host Service Ministry Days

Use Ministry leadership to connect volunteers to host service ministry days for veterans, the homeless, immigration support, or any other cause close to your heart. Send weekly updates to volunteers with highlights and encouragements. Recognize team/individual fundraising leader’s talents and highlight gifts that they bring to the ministry and campaign. Send text messages, emails, and social posts to inspire fundraisers to reach their individual goals and help drive your campaign to reach its goal. 

Fundraising Through Social Media

Social media fundraising is quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing ways for organizations of all stripes to raise money. When your church invests in online giving software, you should share it on your congregation’s social media profiles to reach the widest possible number of potential givers. With the right giving tools, you can optimize these forms for social media sharing, making it easy for congregants to signal boost your church. 

Let’s take a look at some of the ways your church can incorporate online giving into your social media engagement strategy. 

Embedded Giving Forms

When fundraising online, people are more likely to donate when they have to cross as few hurdles as possible to make their gift. This is especially true when fundraising on social media, where you might lose potential givers by making them travel to one too many links to reach your giving page. Luckily, with the right online giving software, you can embed your branded giving form into your church’s Facebook page. By doing so, you streamline the giving process and make contributing more convenient for supporters. 

Social Sharing

Once your supporters give to your church online, the best way to ensure that others follow their lead is by immediately prompting them to share their donation with their personal networks. Choose an online giving solution for your church that automatically generates a social sharing prompt following the receipt of a gift. You can customize the message that appears to contributors and even provide them with a branded hashtag that they can use to help generate buzz for your church. 

Giving Events for Churches

Online Tithing Tools and Fundraising Events

While your church can certainly use your giving forms to collect gifts at fundraising events, that’s not the only way that your congregation can use online church giving tools to process face-to-face contributions. In fact, with on-site payment swipers and event ticketing software, your church can start collecting even more contributions digitally that would have previously been limited to cash transactions. 

Let’s review how these two church-giving tools can make giving more flexible for your congregation so you can start processing more gifts than ever before. 

Event Ticketing

Just like your church can collect gifts from supporters using an online giving form, you can similarly create an online ticketing form that congregants can use to purchase tickets to church events from their phones or desktops. As more people buy tickets, you can watch your real-time progress on an event thermometer. 

Payment Swiper

With a payment swiper tool, your church can accept gifts and payments from supporters without sending them to your online giving page. This makes transactions more convenient for givers since they don’t need to manually enter their card information or visit a webpage. Your church can also use a payment swiper as a digital alternative to a collection plate for added convenience each Sunday. 

Fundraising event ideas for churches

One of the benefits of adopting online giving software for your church is that it makes it easier to collect donations for fundraising events, as well as easier for congregants to fundraise on behalf of your church. Since online giving is highly adaptable, you can use these tools to enable giving at all sorts of events, regardless of where they are or who hosts them. 

Consider some of these fundraising event ideas made more effective through online giving tools. 

Hold a Walkathon

Your church can hold a Christian walkathon to raise money for your congregation throughout the year. This walkathon can be tied in with a crowdfunding campaign and congregants can encourage friends and family to “sponsor” them by making a gift. Crowdfunding campaigns work best went tied in with an event like this, making a walkathon even more useful to your cause. Using crowdfunding for this event stimulates excitement bringing more people and fun to a walkathon. 

Donate your Big Day

One way that congregants can take initiative and fundraise on behalf of your church is by “donating” celebrations of life events. Community members can share your giving forms with their networks on birthdays, baptisms, confirmations, first holy communion, weddings, and graduations in place of accepting traditional gifts. This way, your church might reach potential supporters outside of your congregation as well as your tried-and-true base of supporters. 

Host a Church Talent Show

Everybody loves a night of family-friendly entertainment, and there’s no better way to get your congregation together than by hosting a church talent show. You can sell tickets using online giving forms or have supporters “vote” with a donation for their favorite performers. Either way, you’re making giving back to your church even more fun for your community. 

Auction off Items and Services

Another way to get your entire church involved in a fun fundraising event is by holding an auction following Sunday services or coupled with another big event. For congregants who can’t spare a large monetary gift, they have the option of contributing a sought-after item or their own services to the auction. Your church can sell tickets to this event as well as collect money from the profits of each sale. 

Is your church ready to rethink how you empower congregants to give? Consider investing in online giving software to bridge the gap between motivated supporters and active givers in your congregation. The experts at GiveSmart can help 


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What our clients say

We needed a platform to make sales online and to track and display ads for our sponsors. GiveSmart was perfect. We ended up making close to $15,000 more than we had hoped for. Definite better ROI than we anticipated. The interface is easy to use and provides plenty of options to get help if needed.

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The Rotary Club of South Whidbey Island

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MicroFinancing Partners in Africa

GiveSmart is highly flexible - you can use it for [a] simple registration and check-in, to full-scale galas with complex order forms, onsite upsells, live auctions, seating management, and more.

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Hope Chest for Breast Cancer

GiveSmart is easy to use and ideal for virtual events and can be used for in-person events to manage the silent auction, seating charts, and check-in to the event. Being able to use the platform for unlimited events within the contract year is very useful and being able to add other users and volunteers for different levels of access is helpful as well.

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Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County