Digital fundraising FAQs

02 March 2023

Digital fundraising presents amazing possibilities for your church to grow its giving. To help you get started, we have answered some frequently asked questions below.

Illustration of person with long hair on laptop screen with speech bubbles

Digital fundraising frequently asked questions

Firstly, set up an online giving page where you can receive donations. There are many providers available – Charity Digital have complied a list of fundraising platforms with price comparisons, which may be a useful starting point.
Once you have set up an online page that best suits your needs, encourage people to give. Have a strong fundraising message that sits alongside your page, telling people why you need support. Make sure a link to the giving page is visible on your website. Then promote your giving page to your communities through social media, posters, QR codes, events and word of mouth.
Crowdfunding is the concept that, rather than having one major investor, charitable projects can harness the power of the internet to get lots of small gifts.  Crowdfunding is about spreading the word as widely and quickly as possible.
You will need to set up an online giving page to crowdfund (see the question below for more guidance on this). 
To run a successful crowdfunding campaign ensure that:
  • You are raising funds for a specific, tangible project, such as buying new furniture for the church hall.
  • The project you are raising money for will benefit the whole community (for example the new furniture will provide better facilities for everyone!). 
  • You are looking to raise a specific, medium amount of money
  • You already have some of the money raised, to give confidence that you will achieve your ambitions.
  • You work hard to promote the crowdfunder for a short period of time (i.e. two weeks)
  • You have a clear and compelling fundraising message. For example ‘We want to transform the church hall into a warm, comforting and appealing place for the community to use’.
  • You use all routes possible to publish your crowdfunder such as parish newsletters, local press, Facebook, email and, most of all, your network to reach as many people as possible 
Firstly, choose a provider that best suits your needs. There are a variety available, with different features and functionalities. Charity Digital have complied a list of fundraising platforms with price comparisons, which may be a useful starting point.
When choosing a provider, consider functionality as well as costs. It can also be helpful to ask for recommendations from other churches or local organisations.
Once you have chosen your provider, use the steps on their site to set up your online giving page. 
Use all routes possible to promote your giving page:
  • Make the link to your chosen platform very visible and prominent from your church website’s home page 
  • Post on social media 
  • Make giving part of your ‘digital liturgy’. If you have an online service, have a regular form of words (or several) to remind people to give. 
  • Tell stories about the difference people’s giving makes, for example ‘Because our giving went up last year we were able to reach more isolated people in our community’.
  • Use posters in your church building to promote online giving 

Social media is a great tool to build a sense of community and spread your fundraising message to a broad audience.

To help with your fundraising, regularly post on social media with:

  • Updates about any projects or work your church is doing. Sharing interesting news or photos can help make people feel invested in your aims and informed about your activity.
  • Your fundraising message. Let your community know you are fundraising and asking for donations. Make it clear that you are fundraising, and why, on your social media.
  • Thank you messages – if you receive a grant from a funder, share and say thank you on social media. This may even encourage others to give to your project!

It is better to focus on using one social media platform well then spread yourself too thin across many. When choosing a platform to use, think about which one your communities are most likely to be on.

For more guidance on getting the most out of social media, read this helpful blog from Benefact Trust.

It’s important to remember digital giving is just a mechanism – it’s a way you can receive donations but not the heart of your fundraising.

If you are trying to reach a community outside of your church who are not online, it may be best to use ‘analogue’ methods, like events or letters.

For people who are already in your church family – take small steps to help them get online and build confidence in other ways. For example, you could first encourage people to use an online calendar or church management software.

Perhaps someone in your church could act as your online giving champion and offer support by phone for people who need help navigating online giving.

Once people feel more comfortable and confident online, digital fundraising activity will increase.

Online fundraising events can help boost income and connect communities socially. 
Firstly, pick an event that is unique to your church, that your communities will enjoy, and crucially one that is not too difficult to organise – it’s often best to keep it simple!
Ideas for events include:
  • Quiz night 
  • Competitions – such as photography or walking challenges 
  • Cook-along or coffee morning 
  • Online auction 
  • Music night or sing-along 
You can run most online events via platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. 
Set up an online donation platform so people can donate. You can then ask people to donate before, during, or after the event. 
Share your event widely via posters, notice sheets, your website, social media and word of mouth!

Get Safe Online have produced helpful guidance on any risks involved in online donations:

It may be useful to share this link with your communities so everyone can take simple precautions to be safe and secure online.

Online giving presents amazing possibilities for churches to grow giving:
It allows your church to spread its message to a wide range of people, especially a younger audience. You could reach people from a wide geographical spread – not just those who are local to your church. 
For example, there may be online communities from around the world interested in your church’s history or architecture. 
The public is carrying less cash than ever. According to the Bank of England, debit cards overtook cash as the most frequently used payment method in 2017. The pandemic has only accelerated this trend. 
Having an online giving page means that those who visit your church can still give, even if they don’t have cash on them.
Digital fundraising may sound daunting to some, but it’s easy and convenient once you master the basics! 
Remember that digital fundraising is just one mechanism you can use to engage your local community - it’s not a silver bullet. Think about who your communities are and the different ways you can reach out to them. Identify the specific needs and wants of your particular communities. 
Then to help engage people to donate online, consider:
  • Producing an online newsletter to showcase the work your church is doing – include photos and quotes – and the link to your online giving page!
  • Using social media to promote your projects and encourage people to donate – regularly share photos and keep your community up to date
  • Hosting online events for your communities – and include your fundraising message during the event
  • Making your fundraising message and link to your online giving page clear and visible on your website 
  • Using posters and notices to promote fundraising 
Church fundraising PC screen