Recurring giving programs continue to grow in popularity for parishes and parishioners alike. Churches appreciate recurring gifts because they help with forecasting and donor retention. Parishioners and donors love the program because it’s convenient and simple to incorporate into their budget.
While the average recurring gift is $50, givers tend to increase their set amount over time. Even when involved in the program, these types of givers are more aligned with the ministry’s causes and likely to give one-time donations as well. In fact, those that use recurring giving features contribute 42% more annually.
Among the benefits listed above, and other perks such as sustainability and increasing church giving, you can see why this is a top priority for many parishes. So, whether you’re starting your first recurring giving program, or you want to grow membership in 2018, here are 3 essential elements to ensure you succeed.
1. Online giving tools
The first element to put in place is online giving tools. When utilizing ParishSOFT Giving’s features, parishes saw a 32% increase in monthly online giving. It makes sense because the average parishioner attends mass 37 weeks out of the year, leaving 15 weeks that they may not have the opportunity to give (or they forget). By having recurring online giving tools in place, your ministry can give whether they’re at mass or elsewhere.
Recurring givers enjoy conveniences such as being able to set the frequency of gifts as well as to tithe at separate intervals. While monthly gifts are the most common frequency set, donors can give weekly, bi-weekly, or choose another consistent giving schedule. And if there is a special church event, members can easily contribute at the giving kiosk, on the donation page, or other ways like the mobile giving app.
And be sure to use branded donations pages for recurring giving programs. Branded donation pages can raise 7X more gifts, and increase your recurring giving program membership. A donation page with your parish’s brand displayed makes the sign-up experience more familiar and trustworthy. It also lets the visitor know they’re in the right place versus being sent to a page outside of your organization.
2. A gesture of appreciation
To help encourage members to join the parish’s recurring giving program, you want them to feel special and show gratitude. A gesture of appreciation is the ideal way to achieve this. While these gestures should be fun and designed to thank the donor, they should also be educational and address the results of the gifts. Here are some ideas:
An annual event: This could be anything from a summer cookout to a formal dinner. Highlight how the recurring donations helped the ministry reach yearly goals and personally thank everyone for their loyalty.
A monthly video update or newsletter: Include extended information on how the recurring donations have impacted the parish and improved the community.
A handwritten thank you letter: Show appreciation to recurring tithers with a personalized handwritten message. You can send this on their sign-up anniversary or schedule them on the same day each year.
You can also provide a gesture of appreciation tailored for first-time recurring givers. One example would be a welcome package that’s filled with material about the parish’s mission and a bookmark with a verse about the rewards of giving on it.
3. A plan to encourage parishioners and donors to join
Once you have the first two elements in place, it’s time to encourage people to join. Begin by incorporating the promotion for recurring giving into current generosity campaigns. Educate givers on the features of the program and the mission of the church. You can also inspire existing parishioners and donors to increase their current gift.
Also, send an invitation via email that focuses attention on the conveniences and benefits of recurring giving. For those that are on the fence, suggest starting with a low number to test it out. Even $5 a month from a few tithers can increase giving.
Be available to answer questions about recurring giving, and let people know they can stop the program anytime. As you continue to encourage new parishioners to join, take note of what inspires givers to sign up, and apply these techniques in your next generosity campaign. While it takes time to cultivate a recurring giving program, the effort is truly worth it.
By applying these 3 elements, you’ll increase membership and monthly giving (and ParishSOFT Giving can help). Gain access to online giving tools that make recurring giving effortless and secure by calling 866-930-4774 x6 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.