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The Importance of Personalization to Online Giving

20 Jun. 2014 Posted by Denis Greene in Stewardship

As more people choose to give online to churches, Church Development shares the importance of a personal connection with your potential givers.

In wrapping up this series on the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s study on why most charities fail when it comes to online giving (and what this means to the church), I’m going to share a couple of minor closing points to engage your givers.

To recap, the major points we’ve covered are as follows:

While both of these points are important, they do nothing to connect with each giver as individuals. Let’s pick that up here:    

Personalizing the Experience

The reason why I covered minimizing clicks and optimizing your church website for mobile first is because often you don’t have a chance to reach givers on a more personal level if you don’t give them the basics of what they’re looking for. With these basics set, we can move to personalization:

I’ve covered this line of thinking before in noting the importance of addressing your church letters to the recipient (typically via mail merge), but in the failure study from the Chronicle of Philanthropy, it noted that nearly 4/5s (79%) of charities failed to personalize their automated emails.

Nobody likes feeling like a number. It’s amazing how little things like including their name, a signature on letters (even if it’s a blue ink scan), etc., can meet that need. Make sure you’re doing this in your weekly church emails, too (more on how to optimize those here).

Initial and Continual Connection

If you ever want to get a lesson in fundraising—which, Church Development doesn’t do in our capital campaigns—give $25 to the University of Notre Dame. They will bombard you with opportunities to give to them forever. However, although many charities are good at mailing people reminders—as the #1 reason charities don’t get gifts is because they don’t ask—as noted, they’ve failed to bring the same tactics into their e-marketing.  

Although you have to be careful with how often you email people (more so than how often you physically mail to them), the Chronicle of Philanthropy study noted that even initial mailings are falling short, as 56% of charities did not directly ask for a donation within 90 days of a given user’s sign-up.

When somebody first signs up for your church newsletter or for online giving. That’s when they’ll be the most interested in giving. Invite them to give to your great causes and/or automate their giving (helps with that summer giving slump, too). 

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Denis Greene is the Founder and President of Church Development.  He is the author of The Stewardship SystemStewardship-Based Capital Campaigns, and How To Ask For Donations as well as numerous articles on stewardship. Denis has helped over 200 churches across the USA raise more than $200,000,000.

A complete list of Church Development’s services (including capital campaign management and consultation, feasibility studies, and year-round stewardship ministry programming) is available here.