Lessons Learned in Online Giving

Details make me smile.  This week we are looking some small details in our new website we’re launching at Liquid.  I was reminded by Seth Godin last month that good user experience is important on our websites! I’d love your feedback as we roll out our new site!

At the risk of sounding indiscreet – our old website sucked when it came to online giving. If someone wanted to make a financial contribution to our ministry they had to run through a gauntlet to do so.  They had to pick campus, then find the uber small “online giving” link buried in a stack of other options . . . then if they actually made it to page where we had information about giving to the church they were presented with five different options.  The lead option made them create an account with a third party before they could even donate five bucks!

It’s like we were communicating to them . . . please don’t support our ministry. We really don’t want your money!  We were making it so difficult to give!

It bugged me that we made it so difficult for people to financially support our ministry online.  I believe in our mission and I think we’re a great nonprofit for people to give towards!  We made some changes to our online giving that I are worth considering for you church website:

  • Front and Center! Giving is on the “top navigation” on every page of our site.  At no point is a user more than one click away from more information. We’ve also tried to be as clear and proactive in the language of our navigation.  (GIVE rather than Support, Donate, Tithe, etc.)
  • Narrow the Options. I think when we give people a whole bunch of options they tend to pick nothing.  So we’ve defaulted the next step in the giving site to single service that doesn’t require any log in or special steps.  They just select how much they want to donate and then continue.  We’ve even defaulted a suggested donation amount ($20) on that form.
  • Other Options Available. If our immediate option doesn’t suit their needs . . . the user can easily access 6 other options for giving.  Our hope here is meet the more advanced user where they are at.
  • Give Them Someone to Contact. Have you ever noticed that a lot of church websites have someone you can contact directly if you have questions about the Kids Ministry but you can’t find who you are suppose to ask financial questions to?  We’ve made that information clear with a direct contact to Dave (Our Executive Pastor) including both his email address and phone number.

What does online giving look like on your site?  Who do you think is doing this particularly great?

I don’t want this blog to turn into a “brag fest” for stuff I feel like things are going well in my areas at Liquid.  Next week we’re going to look at something needing huge improvement. (That’s a nice way to say we stink at it!)  Subscribe to the blog through email and you’ll get exclusive bonus content.

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