How to Use Push Notifications to Increase Giving Adoption

You've just rolled out a new giving solution to your church that makes generosity easier than ever. Hooray! But now you need to encourage widespread adoption. Most church staff members may see this as a daunting task, but we have good news: with the proper plan in place, it's actually not daunting at all! There are many ways to encourage the adoption of a new giving solution (keep reading to learn how to get your hands on some additional resources), but today we are going to focus on push notifications. Push notifications are especially effective because you can attach an actionable item to each message. If someone in your congregation receives a notification encouraging generosity, they can give immediately right inside their app, rather than having to go online and take additional steps. Here are a few scenarios where push notifications can be helpful, as well as some ideas of how to use them:

  1. Announcing a new giving solution: "You are an important part of our ministry. Thank you for believing in it! If you'd like to help further our mission, you can now donate inside our app in just a few seconds. We appreciate your generosity!"
  2. Pointing to a tutorial video: "Our new mobile giving is simple, secure, and in our app. Check out this video to learn more!"
  3. Milestones: "Over half of our congregation has given a gift through the app! Thanks for your caring hearts and generosity!"
  4. Call to Biblical generosity: "We believe in cheerful and sacrificial giving (2 Cor. 9:7). How is God calling you to greater generosity?"
  5. Announcing special projects: "Our service crew is going to Guatemala in 4 weeks! Click here to support their mission!" (Learn more about how to set up custom giving campaigns here. The video is themed around Advent but you can follow the exact same process for any campaign!)
  6. Seasonal messages: "Don’t have time to pick up an Angel Tree gift this year? You can donate to the fund directly in the app!"

Of course, these are just a few ideas. There are MANY ways you can use push notifications to help increase giving adoption and generosity. There are also many other resources you can use to help reach these goals. We want to help you make generosity as easy as possible, so that's why we've created our Premium Rollout Guide, which walks you through the entire process of rolling out a new giving solution and increasing adoption among your congregation. It has everything from big ideas and strategy tips to detailed calendars and rollout plans that you can copy to automate the entire process (including many more push notification ideas)! If you would like to get your hands on the Premium Rollout Guide or speak with someone on our team about tips for your specific congregation, drop us a line at hello@subsplash.com.

How To Use Your ChMS With Your App

Your Church Management System (ChMS) is an integral part of your communication strategy. It allows you to better plan, track, and manage people and events for your church. Encouraging widespread adoption to your congregation can be a challenge, though, as this requires church members to go home, go online, and learn how to use your ChMS. It’s certainly not impossible, but one thing we have noticed is that churches who incorporate their ChMS into their app tend to see much more usage of both the app and the ChMS. Since people are already using your app on a regular basis (and since downloading and using your app is not something they need to be taught how to do), having your content available there is a great way to increase adoption. Not only that, but tying your ChMS into your app can streamline your team's workflow as well.

Recently, there’s been much excitement and discussion about ChMS integrations here at Subsplash (be sure to check out our Keynote for more info), as we are drawing up some big things for the future. But what you may not know is that there are actually many great ways you can tie your ChMS into your app RIGHT NOW. Let’s take a look at just a few:  

Forms

Instead of telling your congregation to go home and go online to sign up for that event you’re having next week, you can put that sign up form directly into your app, allowing users to sign up for events right from their seat on Sunday morning, and without getting kicked out to an external web browser. With the Subsplash Platform, you can even customize exactly where these forms appear inside the app. You can add your sign up form to a media item, list, event, or wherever you want! Of course you can also send out targeted push notifications that link to the event in your app (which also has the sign up form at the bottom)!

Giving

Subsplash Giving offers churches the cleanest interface and lowest processing rates on the market. But not only that, you can easily sync all of your giving data to your ChMS with Simple Sync. Simply export each batch’s data to your ChMS and have all the information automatically line up with the proper fields. This allows you to increase giving in your church without having to increase the amount of time you spend managing donations. Additionally, Subsplash offers direct integrations with CCB and FellowshipOne (with more systems on the way!). These integrations allow all of your data to automatically sync with your ChMS...no exporting involved!

Calendars

Don’t want to update multiple event calendars? No problem! You can easily import your ChMS calendars into the app. Any time you add or update an event in your ChMS, those changes will be reflected in the app as well.

Embeddable ChMS

If you would like your congregation to have access to all your ChMS has to offer right inside the app, we have good news: you can do that. It is easy to embed your entire ChMS into the app so that users can log in and do whatever they need to do without getting kicked out to an external web browser. This allows easier access for your congregation, helps your streamline your communication (everything is in one place right inside the app), and makes it easier to increase adoption in your church.


As we mentioned in our Keynote, we are so excited about what the future holds for integrations. Our team is actively working with CCB, Planning Center, Breeze, Rock RMS, Elvanto, ACS, Ministry Platform, and more, to develop some deeper integrations that help you customize your app on a more personal level. We are excited to expand on our platform and add features that allow for an easier workflow and an easier way for people in your church to get connected. Be on the lookout for some exciting updates and as always, let us know if you have any questions….we are here to help!

Subsplash Keynote 2017

It’s all about engagement! We’re taking church apps to the next level in 2017 to help you better engage with every single person in your community. 

Apps have always been great for presenting to a wide audience, but how do we help you connect with that one person and customize their experience? 

We’ve been dreaming about it, and now we’re going to make it a reality! If you haven't already, check out our Keynote to learn more about where we are headed this year.

How to Ensure Success with Your App

Is your app a magic pill? Not exactly, but with the proper strategy in place, you can be sure that it will help you engage with your community. Here at Subsplash, we’ve helped quite a few churches use their app to boost engagement, so we wanted to compile a short list of things you can do to ensure your app is successful.  


 

Talk About It

No one is going to use your app if they don’t know it exists. Make sure your pastor and team are giving it some love from the stage on Sunday mornings. If you are a pastor or staff member, your congregation looks to you as their leader, and chances are they will get on board with something if you show excitement about it. The churches we work with typically see a huge spike in app downloads after it is pushed on Sundays. This can even help you cut stage time for announcements. Instead of spending valuable stage time going through a handful of announcements, you can encourage people to download the app for the latest updates, and then send your announcements in push notifications.

 

Keep people coming back

So you’ve announced your app from the stage and people start downloading it. Awesome! But what’s next? Downloading the app is great, but having people download the app and then never open it again is obviously not what you want to see. How do you keep them coming back? A great place to start is by intentionally putting content in the app that is relevant and useful to your congregation. If your app is simply a carbon-copy of your website, chances are you won’t see much engagement with it (we wrote about that last week). What things are helpful to your congregation? What do they want to use the app for? Focus on providing fresh content that is relevant to your congregation so the app becomes a helpful tool to them.


 

The best mobile experience

You have great gospel content, and that content needs to be presented well if you want to see people engaging. If your app simply links out to a bunch of websites or pulls in media from outside sources like YouTube, Soundcloud, or Vimeo, then your users are missing out. Even worse, they may stop using the app completely. Why? Simply put, these things do not provide users with the best mobile experience. There is a reason YouTube and Vimeo push you to their apps when you try to watch a video in your mobile browser. It’s simply a better experience that gives the user more control with the playback. Providing your congregation with the best possible mobile experience inside the app will keep them engaged. If you are curious to see how you can accomplish this without adding extra work to your plate, check out Subsplash Cloud, along with our many integrations that optimize your content for use inside the app.

 

Discipleship is key

At the end of the day, your app is not just a piece of technology. It is a discipleship tool. Having people engaged with the content in your app is great not because it makes your numbers look good, but because that means people are using it to grow in their walk with Jesus. Your app is going to become an invaluable tool to your congregation when you fill it with content for this purpose. This could include devotionals, Bible reading plans, prayer requests, daily encouragements, stories of God’s grace, and more.


 

So to summarize, you can expect people to use your app regularly when:

  • They know it’s important

  • Your app provides them with a top-notch mobile experience

  • The app is filled with relevant content that helps them grow in their walk with the Lord


If you are wanting to implement these ideas, we would love to help! You can contact our team here.

Maximize Your Communication Strategy in 2017

What’s your New Year’s resolution? Eat healthier? Work out more? Maybe you want to develop a rock-solid communication strategy for your church. If that is the case, we can help! When thinking through your communication strategy, it is important to identify the audience and purpose for each of your channels. Having too much overlap can create unnecessary work for your team, and even has the potential to cause confusion for your congregation. Let’s take a look at two of your most important communication tools: your website and your app.

 

Maximize Your Website

Outside of Sunday morning, your church’s website is truly going to be the “first impression” for visitors. If someone in your area is looking for a church, they will probably search Google for a congregation in your town. Maybe they drove past your building and want to find out more information, so they go online to learn what your church is all about. Or maybe they saw your Facebook ad that links to your website. Presenting your content in a way that is fresh and easy to navigate on the web is going to help get that person in the door.

Statistics show that if a person can’t find what they’re looking for on your website within the first five seconds, they are likely to give up all together. What is a new visitor to your website going to want to know? Most likely they will be looking for when church happens, where church happens, what your church believes, and who the pastor is. Most churches we work with report that these pages typically get the highest traffic on their websites. Making that content extremely visible will help you communicate what your church is about to those people who are interested in coming.

 

Maximize Your App

Having a good website is imperative for communicating to guests, but it is not going to be the best avenue for long-term communication with your congregation. Studies show that 89% of consumer media content is taken in through native apps. The numbers don’t lie. If you have a high-quality app filled with content that is pertinent to your congregation, you have a much higher likelihood of engaging them there rather than through your website. The app is going to provide a much better experience for things that people in your congregation need on a regular basis, such as sermons, sermon notes, Bible reading plans, prayer requests, events, and giving. Churches that use the Subsplash platform and push people to the app for these things are experiencing a huge increase in engagement: over twice as many sermon plays, giving increasing by 15%, and more people engaged with events and reading plans.

 

4 Tips to Maximize Your Communication Strategy

With all that in mind, here are four tips to help you maximize your communication strategy as you head into the new year:

  1. Make sure information such as service times and location, doctrinal statements, and staff listings are easily accessible on your website. This is the primary information visitors are going to be interested in when they find your church. If it is not readily visible, the chance of them coming on Sunday decreases drastically.

  2. Have a link to download your church’s app on your website. This helps communicate to your congregation that the app is the primary tool that will help them stay connected when they aren’t in the building on Sundays. Directing people to the proper channels will help avoid confusion and keep everyone on the same page. Additionally, you can direct people to your app from the stage on Sunday to reinforce this.

  3. Make content such as sermons, events, forms, Bible reading plans, giving, prayer requests, small group curriculum, and anything else that is important to your ministry available in the app. By doing this, you are providing your congregation with all the content they need in one central hub that is with them at all times. No more telling people to go home and find that event form online….they already have it in their pocket.

  4. Use push notifications to keep your congregation up to date. Once they have the app, you want to make sure you are using it to its full potential. Push notifications receive much higher visibility than emails, and they are a great way to send out devotionals, reminders for events and financial campaigns, prayer requests, etc. With the Subsplash Platform, you can even send specific content to targeted groups of people in your congregation.

 

Creating a strategy that identifies the proper audience for each of your communication channels is going to help you clarify your message and increase engagement in your local congregation. If you haven’t implemented these tips, the new year is a great time to start!