What is digital stewardship and is it different than the stewardship language we have used over the years?
Digital stewardship is the ability to convey the message of stewardship in a way that is engaging to online users. These users might be a cross between your bulletin users and envelope stewards, however as we tend to be a more digital church, we can’t diminish or dilute the valuable message found in Catholic stewardship by ignoring best digital practices.
We have created a list of resources and check-points for your own online giving process, with a special focus on ordinary Sunday giving and how the user can contribute online. Remember, your website experience is the largest and most on-demand expression of stewardship, next to being one-on-one in ministry together. It is the communication vehicle people are preferring to connect with and if done well, can increase your ministry presence far beyond just the people in the pew on Sundays.
Review this list on your own and with your ministry and see how you stack up with digital Stewardship:
Your website and ALL online forms are easy to use on any device, phone to ipad, to 52′ screen TV.
We are not just talking mobile friendly, but all screen friendly. The majority of Parishes and Schools we work with start out with a static, non-responsive site. They also insist that people prefer the bulletin over the website. Well, shortly after getting a more screen-friendly platform, we check the statistics and that is proven untrue.
The donor is able to set up recurring giving.
Think of it this way, you are already doing recurring giving…each Sunday of the month! We need to reflect that option for our parishioners, so they can easily budget along side us church administrators easily. It also allows for a conversation regarding first fruits…it is not what we have at the end of the month, rather what we can start with at the beginning of each week, offering God our gifts first sets the tone for the week.
The donor NEVER leaves your website. Everything, every form and transaction happens on your site.
This item is important. Like, super important. How often do you search a site and leave that particularly site, and not returning? For example, if I am going to read about an upcoming event and want to sign-up, right when you send me to an external form/site to register…I typically don’t come back. This is a missed opportunity for further engagement and evangelization. Your website should be able to drive people after their registration or donation to a specialized thank you and on top of that, to other curated content that might be of similar interest to them. Automatically.
The donor can contribute to their offertory, plus purchase flowers in the flower sale all on the same form.
Your form should also be dynamic. Not a laundry list of items in a drop-down that goes on, and on, and on, and…you get the idea. Rather, you should be able to code the forms in a way on the back-end that make sense for your database, but then on the front end user experience, make it easy to get done what they intend to do.
Provide a “Thank-you” digitally and immediately.
I am not referring to an electronic receipt. I am referring to a touching and well-done thank you. Rather it is a video (which is a great option) or a collage of pictures from one of the ministries that will benefit from their generosity, you need to have some response of generosity that is gracious and immediate.
The content on your site is updated. Daily. If not daily, quite often. Because stewardship happens everywhere, all the time.
Look, your website is the best reflection of stewardship at your Parish. For new and returning users, your landing page can be a touchpoint for information, but more importantly inspiration. The photos changing to the reflection article provided during Advent, these are all ways we can express our faith throughout the week, not just for an hour on Sunday. Your website should be updated and refreshed with new content and gadgets so we never find ourselves so behind, we have to waste time and money every three years playing catch up. Stewardship is alive and well in many of our Parishes, we just need to express it visually in our websites, and offer people a way to express their stewardship in easy to manage donor experiences.
We hope this list has provided you a start with measuring your online stewardship process at your Parish and School. Check our blog for other tips and resources or sign up to receive email from Design Big Dreams today!
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