Navigating the Costs of Online Giving for Churches

In the following article, we'll explore how your church can navigate the costs of online giving—where even the best online giving solutions come with processing fees—and how digital giving can ultimately help your church receive more by paying less.

Breeze Church Management

Digital giving apps and tools

"There's no such thing as a free lunch." Or so goes the adage that squashes that zing you get when you believe you've received something absolutely free of cost.

The phrase feels like a bit of a downer, especially for followers of Christ who give (and receive) with joy and surrender. We can certainly understand that costs apply to spiritual principles (salvation, paid for by Jesus), but when it comes to the dime-and-nickel math that comes with running a church, the logic of payment can feel a bit... muddled.

In the following article, we'll explore how your church can navigate the costs of online giving—where even the best online giving solutions come with processing fees—and how digital giving can ultimately help your church receive more by paying less. This is the kind of math that church leaders can really get on board with!

What is Online Giving?

Imagine a world where your church members can tithe with just a few taps on their smartphones. Welcome to the age of online giving, the digital collection plate that never sleeps. This tool, often integrated into church management software, allows members to donate anytime, anywhere...not just when they remember to bring cash or a check to Sunday service (In fact, studies show that donors often make church donations on Friday!)

By offering a range of easy, remote payment options–include credit card giving, ACH transaction, even text giving–churches increase the likelihood of generosity.

Here are some of the typical giving options that come with an online giving platform:

  • Credit Cards: While paying things on credit certainly comes with downsides (i.e. the temptation to go into debt), Forbes recently reported that 82% of U.S. adults have a credit card. Online giving makes it easy to use a credit card to give to church–a better usage than making your next big purchase at Costco!
  • Debit Cards: If church members like the ease of using a card to donate–but are strict Dave Ramsey followers–they can use a debit card to tithe or make a gift.
  • Bank Transactions: Church members who prefer to automate their giving can make direct transfers from their bank account. This typically comes with a lower transaction processing fee than using a credit card or debit card (which we’ll learn about soon).
  • Recurring Donations: Recurring donations are a big win for churches and church members. For church members, they automate the discipline of giving without needing to set reminders or sift through bank statements. For churches, they increase donations and make it easier to plan a budget.
  • Text-to-Give: Despite the fact that we live in an age of social media, 78% of people actually prioritize texting over scrolling through the ‘gram (or TikTok, or Facebook). In other words, people love to text! That being said, many online giving platforms allow donors to use a text message to give, making the donation process fast, easy, and dare we say it–fun?
  • Kiosks: For those who need hand-holding to give, you can always provide kiosks at your church to make online donations possible on-site. These tools streamline the giving process by linking directly to a customizable donation page.

Finally, online giving is often integrated with church management systems. These platforms not only help church leaders improve fundraising with giving tools; they provide solutions for managing church administration, storing and organizing contacts, registering people for events, email and text message marketing, and much, much more.

Why Does Online Giving Come with a Cost?

It should be free to give–right?

Well, not exactly.

Online giving platforms require robust software, security measures, and a team of engineers and support staff to keep them glitch-free. Just like a church, these platforms need maintenance and upkeep, and that's where the transaction fees come in–small percentages deducted from each donation. Some online giving solutions allow the donor to cover the fees, so that churches get to keep every penny. For donors, this is a small price to pay for the wonderful, life-giving act of being generous to your local church community.

Transaction fees can range from platform to platform. A standard industry transaction fee is around 3% for credit cards and debit cards and 1% for bank transactions, plus a flat fee per transaction.

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Why Online Giving is Still the Best, Most Affordable Giving Solution for Your Church

Despite the fees, online giving is still a financial win for churches. Here’s why.

  • Boosts Overall Giving: The convenience of online and mobile giving options means that people are more likely to donate. Accessibility through social media, the church website, and church apps makes it easier for church members to engage in giving. Studies show that churches that receive tithes online experience a 32% increase in giving, which can represent tens of thousands of dollars in financial gifts!
  • Reduces Costs: Online giving reduces the need for manual handling of donations, decreasing the need for extensive financial administration. This allows church leaders to focus more on Jesus-centered outreach, less on tedious administration.
  • Streamlines Fundraising and Event Registration: With tools for event registration and management integrated into donation platforms, organizing church events becomes less cumbersome and more efficient.
  • Gives and Edge to Donor Engagement: Online giving platforms provide customizable pages that can be tailored to match specific fundraising campaigns or church events, improving the giver's experience. This personal touch can increase donor retention and ultimately encourage deeper engagement with the church community.
  • Increases Financial Transparency: By using an online giving solution, churches can offer real-time access to financial data, allowing both church leaders and donors to see where funds are being allocated. This transparency builds trust and can lead to more consistent giving.

By making online transactions smooth and simple, digital giving tremendously improves the giving process. But they also do more than that. By providing consolidated data on generosity, they can help churches understand giving trends, optimize their messaging, and adapt their fundraising strategies effectively. Most importantly, they can help churches facilitate Biblical stewardship for an increasingly tech-reliant generation.

Offer Online Giving with Breeze

Churches need to choose an online giving solution that not only meets their financial and operational needs but also enhances the giving experience for their community. The investment in online giving technology, while initially seeming like just another expense, ultimately supports the church in fulfilling its mission more effectively. The end goal? Reach more people for Jesus and build a thriving community that loves God and loves people.

Breeze Giving is an affordable solution for churches looking to offer digital giving. With minimal transaction fees (2.9% + $0.30/transaction for credit cards/debit cards and 1% + $0.25/transaction for bank transfers), Breeze makes it simple for even small churches to offer online giving to church members.

Plus, Breeze Giving comes with the options to establish recurring giving, cover the fees, and give via text message. Not only that, but church admin can send end-of-year giving statements, observe trends, and even offer payment options for event registration and swag. And if you’re interested in church management tools as well, Breeze provides a full suite of ChMS solutions that are super affordable (and integrated with your giving tools to boot).

While there’s no such thing as a free lunch, online giving tools can ultimately lead to a veritable feast of generosity.

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