Ultimate guide to church giving apps

July 21, 2020

Imagine yourself in church as the collection plate is passed around. Your wallet only has  spare change. So you open your smartphone to give, but the church’s website isn’t mobile friendly. How are you supposed to donate? 

Now imagine the same scenario with a church giving app. You open your church’s app and with just a few taps you’ve quickly and easily made a donation. 

These scenarios illustrate why some of the most popular online donation tools today are church giving apps. They allow people to easily donate and tithe via their mobile devices. Mobile donations have tripled over the last few years, as the best church donation apps are rapidly replacing collection plates in many countries. 

A cursory glance at trends in smartphone usage and payment preferences explains this rise in popularity. Nearly every adult in your church most likely owns a cell phone, and 90% of them make purchases through their smartphones. People prefer to make mobile donations with a card, and most no longer carry cash or want to use checks. 

Let’s take a look at the benefits of using in-app giving, the different types of church donation apps, and how to decide which app you should use.

Benefits of church giving apps

Increased donations 

Studies have found that churches offering online giving see a 32% average increase in overall donations. 

Security

Cash and checks are not secure methods of receiving donations. The best giving app platforms offer top-tier security known as PCI compliance. These safeguards prevent fraud and protect cardholder data.

Recurring giving

Many church donors want the convenience of being able to schedule ongoing donations that are withdrawn from their accounts on a regular basis. The best church donation apps include options for scheduling these ongoing, regular donations to save people time for payments they’re interested in making over and over again. In under a minute, a donor can set up monthly tithing through their church’s app and have those donations recur for many years.

Streamlined bookkeeping

Church tithing apps will automatically track your donations and donors. Not only does streamlined bookkeeping increase your accuracy, it also saves a lot of time compared to manual entering this data.

Happier donors

Donors like the convenience of donating through their church’s app, plus having multiple options like recurring giving to express their generosity.  

       

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Church donation app features

Not all church giving apps are equal. While all of them will allow you to digitally collect tithes, there are some additional features that every church should look for in an online giving app:

Support and resources

One of the features the best church giving app providers offer is their dedicated expert support staff and resources. These assist your church with driving adoption of your new online giving solution and hitting your goals. 

Before committing to a church giving app provider, ask if they will provision you with a launch plan, push notification templates, email templates, media graphics, custom videos and handouts, along other resources to help you successfully launch your app. 

Text-to-give vs. church giving apps

It’s important to note that church giving apps are different from text-to-give services. Text-to-give donations are made by texting a special number or code to a church-specific SMS phone number. Both text-to-give and in-app giving involve donating through phones, but the exact method by which that is accomplished is very different. 

Types of church giving apps

There are several types of church donation apps. They range from generic payment apps like PayPal—which are exclusively for collecting money—to robust church giving apps that offer a multitude of engaging features. Here’s a breakdown of the three main categories of apps commonly used by churches to collection donations:

Payment apps

Payment apps offer only one feature: collecting money. These apps include PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay, and the Cash App, and they are intended to help you pay for purchases or send money to individuals and organizations. 

Receiving money digitally is the only benefit churches can get from these simple payment apps. They were not built for nonprofits to use, so they have some major shortcomings compared to other apps churches can use.

Pros

  • They allow your church to digitally collect money

Cons:

  • Lack important features for churches and ministries
  • Complicated & lengthy setup process
  • No custom charitable giving tax statements for your donors
  • No custom-branded experience

The last item listed above is very important. Donors are six times more likely to finish making a donation on an app that displays its name, logo, and branding. These apps don’t allow customization, leading more donors to abandon their donations when they feel uncertain that they are giving to the right organization. 

While they offer the most basic of online giving experiences, churches using payment apps quickly find out they fall short of meeting their everyday needs and expectations.

Generic church giving apps

Some generic church giving apps are designed simply for receiving church donations. These include platforms such as easyTithe, Pushpay, and Givelify. The main benefit of using these basic church donation apps versus a generic payment app is they provide nonprofit giving statements that can be sent to donors, and some offer limited branding customization. 

It’s important to note that these types of apps are also known as “container apps,” as your church’s “giving app” is actually contained within the main giving app. They are completely different from true custom-branded apps found within the Google Play or Apple app stores. 

Here are the pros and cons of using generic church giving apps:

Pros:

  • Apps are more tailored to church audiences
  • Easier to set up than simple payment apps
  • Giving statements and donor-tracking tools
  • Can also accept donations through church websites

Cons

  • Limited features beyond giving
  • Difficult to find a church’s listing within container app
  • Some offer little to no customization options

Because their focus is online giving, these apps offer other engagement features as secondary add-ons. Often the features are clunky and require church staff to use multiple platforms and tools to manage them. 

For example, sermon delivery is a very popular app feature because people love watching sermons on their mobile devices. Generic church giving apps essentially offer in-app YouTube video players, which include ads and third-party content. In comparison, the best church giving apps have no ads and offer distraction-free dedicated video players with media storage to create a delightful experience for your viewers.

Top-tier church giving apps

The best giving apps offer churches their own custom-branded apps that can be found in the Apple and Google Play app stores. They also have far more features, and are seamlessly integrated with a broader church engagement platform. 

In order to stay connected with their communities, churches are livestreaming their services, making podcasts, writing blogs, and engaging their communities in many other innovative ways. It’s important for giving solutions to be a robust and integrated part of these engagement tools!

Features you will love

  • Fully customizable
  • Custom-branded app in the app stores
  • Churches can easily sign up and start receiving donations within minutes
  • Integrates seamlessly with dozens of engaging features and tools
  • Single dashboard to manage online giving, app content, media, and websites

Here’s a simple scenario demonstrating how engagement tools help your church stay connected with your community. With group push notifications, you are able to send a push notification letting your youth group know that the live stream of your youth service is starting. They can open the app, watch your live stream, take notes, and make a donation—all within your custom mobile app. 

Features your community will love

Because they offer more features than bare-bone giving apps, donors will want to use the apps over and over again. Take a look at some of the engagement tools that make these apps so effective:

  • Native in-app sermon delivery with media storage and casting to Google Cast & Airplay
  • Push notifications
  • Live streaming
  • Events and calendars
  • Blogs
  • Podcasts
  • Sermon notes

How to give through top-tier giving apps

Donating through custom church giving apps is easy and convenient. Here are the steps your congregation would have to take to donate to your church through Subsplash Giving: 

  • Download your custom app from the Apple or Google app stores
  • Open the app
  • Tap on the “Give” icon
  • Create an account
  • Add a credit card, debit card, or bank account
  • Select the amount to donate, and tap “Submit”

       

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What’s the best church giving app?

Subsplash Giving is the only fully integrated church giving app that works seamlessly with your custom church app, website, live streaming software, and media hosting and delivery platform. Rather than juggling multiple tools, Subsplash offers a robust all-in-one solution to manage all of your content. These types of apps take your engagement to a whole new level. 

Are you ready to experience increased giving and delight your donors? Sign up now for Subsplash Giving and you could start accepting donations in minutes. Start growing your church’s giving today!

Already using the Subsplash Platform? Log in to your Subsplash Dashboard to get started.

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