Building Relationships: 4 Ways to Inspire One-Time Donors to Become Recurring Givers

Every gift to your parish is a blessing, and is of course received with a spirit of joy and gratitude – and each offering is also a connection to someone who believes in your ministries and wants to see your missions succeed.  You can build that connection by inspiring your generous parishioners – whether they’re giving for the first time or have made multiple individual gifts – to become recurring givers.
 
This can have a tremendous impact for your parish. The average recurring donation is $50, but these givers tend to increase their set amount over time. The more you can connect your parishioners with a monthly giving option, the more impact your ministries can have for your church and your community.
 
Here are four ways to strengthen your parish by inspiring your supporters to make a recurring gift:
 
1.       GET THE WORD OUT
 
This is one of the most fundamental aspects of a successful recurring giving program: For parishioners to become part of it, you have to let them know it exists. 
 
Your parish website is the most sensible place to start. You can make it a prominent option with a recurring giving button on your homepage, and with a dedicated page sharing what recurring giving is, how it works, and how it helps strengthen parish ministries. You can also add a “Make this Gift Recurring” box that people can check as they make their one-time gifts.
 
Videos – shared on your website, via social media or before your parish begins service – can have a dramatic impact in growing your recurring giving program. Studies show that viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it. Videos will capture people’s attention and help them understand why recurring giving is such a meaningful expression of their generosity.
 
Additionally, you can spread the message by mentioning recurring giving during your services and newsletters, and in welcome packets for new parishioners. Sharing real-life stories during the offering about how recurring gifts impact lives in the community can inspire your members to make a monthly commitment, and featuring these same stories in newsletters and welcome packets with pictures of volunteers in action can show how consistent giving helps the church make a difference.
 
2.       MAKE YOUR RECURRING PROGRAM STAND OUT
 
A thoughtful, well-planned recurring giving program can give participants a stronger sense of belonging and connection with your parish. The special website strategies and other promotions mentioned above will all help present recurring giving as a unique and important level of generosity.
 
Another way to make your program stand out is to give it an official name – something tied to your church’s name or history, or that conveys the impact of recurring giving (the “Community Care Program” or “Recurring Devotion Project” are two real-world examples). This will help communicate to potential recurring givers that they will be part of something special within the church they love.
  
3.       LET RECURRING GIVERS KNOW HOW MUCH YOU APPRECIATE THEM
 
Getting people to sign up for recurring giving is just the first step: It’s a relationship, and your donors need to always feel that they are remembered and valued. Specific gestures of appreciation – including immediate thank you emails upon registering and additional recognition throughout the year – will help them feel confident that they made the right giving decision. A “thank you” during services, dedicated to recurring givers, will make them feel appreciated and let others know the importance of recurring gifts.
 
Other options include annual recognition events or monthly video updates or newsletters for recurring givers. Your current donors will likely mention this special recognition to other members, which will help reinforce the message that the church feels a unique sense of gratitude for recurring givers.
 
You should be thanking all your givers, of course, and those expressions of gratitude are yet another way to encouraging recurring gifts. The emails you send out to online donors can recommend recurring giving as a way to give consistent support. ParishSOFT provides tested email templates for one-time, occasional, and frequent givers that you can use to show your thanks and encourage recurring gifts.
 
4.       CHOOSE THE RIGHT PLATFORM AND PROVIDER FOR RECURRING GIVING
 
The recommendations above all depend on your church having an engaging, secure platform for online and recurring gifts. Donors are reluctant when donation tools are difficult to use, or if there are any doubts about the security of the process. A well-crafted donor experience can mean the difference between growth and stagnation.  Questions you should ask about potential eGiving providers include:

  • Are donation pages and other materials branded for your organization, showing a direct connection between generous gifts and impactful ministries?
  • Does the program meet and even exceed rigorous security standards, so your donors’ personal data and your church will always be protected?  
  • Is the platform part of a fully integrated program that will allow you to handle giving as well as the digital and communications strategies (website design, email, livestreaming) outlined above?
  • Does the giving provider offer a range of giving options, including web-based, text-to-give, and kiosks, that let supporters give when they want, how they want (and that give you additional opportunities to showcase recurring giving as an important and appreciated option)?

ParishSOFT answers YES to all of these questions – our full-service system can enhance every aspect of your parish’s operations, so you can feel more connected to your church families, and more effective in planning, budgeting for and executing your parish ministries and events.
 
That’s a huge reason why over 9,000 parishes in more than 185 dioceses and archdioceses across the U.S. and Canada trust ParishSOFT’s integrated church management solution to help them grow their churches (and their recurring giving programs!).
 
Want to find out what ParishSOFT can mean for your recurring giving network and your entire parish?  Schedule a demo today – we can’t wait to show you what a difference we can make for you!