Online and digital giving

As the way people engage with Church and our church buildings changes, being able to receive donations through digital and online giving has never been more crucial.


On this page we cover

Card readers
Getting started with online giving
Running a virtual stewardship campaign

Card readers

People carry much less cash than ever before, and increasingly payments for just about everything are made by card or online.  You can use a card to pay for raffles or concert tickets and refreshments - why not a donation to church?

Card readers can in many forms and can be very versatile:

  • People attending weddings or funerals, but who haven’t thought to bring any cash with them might be glad to make a donation by card
  • You could have a unit secured in your church for visitors to donate. 
  • You can even pass it round during the offertory.

Most card readers will need either wifi or a good 4G phone signal to work, which can be problematic in some places, but there are some options where you have no wifi or phone signal.

Many of our parishes have been using card readers for quite a while, and along with online giving, the amount of money being is increasing all the time.


Getting started with the online giving

So much of our lives involve going online. We are shopping online and surfing the internet. Providers like Zoom have enabled us to work virtually, meet one another and socialise and, of course, stream our church services. 

We can also give online, and the evidence is there that churches that are enabling online donations are getting more money coming in.

  • Giving mechanisms  - a page from the Church of England exploring ways of giving and the benefits of having lots of ways for people to donate

Explore the themes below to uncover more resources to help you get started with online giving:

Setting up online giving
Parish Buying - this website has lots of information about online giving and how to set up an account
Online Giving (Church of England) - a dedicated page on the Church of England website exploring how to get started with online giving 
Encouraging online giving
Encouraging online giving (Church of England) - With answers to questions such as, why to bother with online giving, and how to encourage people to give via your website and A Church Near You site, plus resources such as customizable giving videos, this Church of England page is full of information and advice about how to encourage online giving.
Running an online stewardship campaign - we have created our own checklist of how to engage people with giving online.
Ecclesiastical Insurance - a comprehensive set of resources looking at online fundraising.
Online providers
Parish resources - a downloadable document showing the range of online providers available and their pricing.


Run a virtual stewardship campaign

A giving campaign in your parish church can be a very effective way of increasing your income, and as we increasingly work online it is important to adapt our stewardship practices accordingly. 

Here are the key steps:

Choose a Sunday to focus on generosity and giving 

Choose a Sunday to focus on generosity and giving in your online Service. If you are back in your church as well on a Sunday it would be good to co-ordinate the Services.  There are plenty of hymns with a theme of generosity, and the Bible is full of passages that highlight money, possessions and generosity.  Prayers and intercessions should also focus on God’s generosity to us.

The ‘sermon slot’ could have something which has the elements of standard stewardship presentation, but as you are doing a non-traditional Service you could do something different. 

  • You could have a sermon. 
  • You could have some PowerPoint slides. 
  • You might also produce short video clips of people saying how giving is important to them inserted at different points during the Service. 

There are some important elements of the traditional campaign that shouldn’t be abandoned, however:

  • Connect financial giving with mission and ministry outcomes – what difference do the donations make?
  • Tell people what is needed, clearly and transparently.
  • Ask people to review what they give, seriously and prayerfully.
  • Ask them to consider an increase in what they give now, to set up a standing order, and to sign a gift aid declaration if they are taxpayers and don’t currently have one.
  • Talk about giving in terms of priority – how much do they give now as a % of their income, and how much do they spend on other things.
Have supporting materials available
You will need to provide some materials in support of your giving service so that your people will be clear what is needed and what you are asking of them.  These should go out by email (or post to those who don’t use the internet) and also be available on your website and A Church Near You page.  If you have an active Facebook page you can also link to your website from there.
  • Template email for your congregation
  • Template brochure  - This template for an information document, can be adapted, saved as a PDF and uploaded to your website.  You could also link through you social media pages.
Make it easy for people to respond
We want people to respond, so we need to make it as easy as possible.  The email which has gone out to members of your congregation has details of how to respond.  If people want a paper response form there is a template here 

For guidance on following up non-responders you can click here.

Say thank you
Remember to thank your donors, individually, letting them see the difference which their money has made.  Just as we appreciate the gifts which we are given, our givers really need to feel appreciated at this time, and we can look forward to being together again soon.
More ideas

Generous June was developed in partnership between the Dioceses of Sheffield and Winchester.  It has resources and ideas for online Services, and also individual reflection.


Key Contacts

Liz Mullins

Generous Giving Adviser

Get in touch


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