I was talking with my friend recently who runs a nonprofit minstry and also is a pastor of a church in Chicago. We got to discussing donations, and I asked him if his websites (for both his church, and his nonprofit ministry) were accepting online donations.

“Yes, but not recurring donations.” he said to me.

When I heard this, I knew right away that my friend was significantly limiting his donation revenue.

By not empowering people to give in the way they prefer to give, we hinder our organizations from receiving the needed cash flow to survive. For example, I (and most millennial friends of mine) don’t carry cash or checkbooks on us. We use our debit/credit cards, pay online, and/or use our phone to pay for things and make donations (and if we can automate our payments or donation giving, even better!).

Now, this is just one example, but here’s the point: By having numerous different ways for people to give, we allow people to give in the way they prefer to give, which opens more doors for donations to come in.

Is revenue the point of ministry work? Absolutely not. But all organizations need cash flow in order to survive and continue serving the people they do.

With modern technology, their is a plethora of online giving software options available to suit nonprofit organizations big and small. Make sure your nonprofit empowers people to give (in the way they want to give) by accepting these five payment options:


1. Online Giving (one time gift)

This is basic, but critical. Can people donate to your church or nonprofit through your website? Is it a simple and painless process, or a complicated and confusing one? By incorporating BlueFire’s online giving software with HaloPays payment processing, you can easily accept payments through your website with only a few simple adjustments. (Plus, there is no monthly fee to use BlueFire if you use HaloPays as the payment processor!)


2. Online Giving (recurring)

If you have number one above, then recurring donations shouldn’t be much more difficult to setup – unless you’re giving software or payment processor is giving you problems, like my friend’s old payment gateway and merchant processor was. Recurring donations are great for both parties, because it lets the donor set it up once (without having to manually donate every month), and it creates a more predictable cash flow for the nonprofit.


3. Text Giving

This form of giving is new, and popular. By simply sending a text message, your congregation, followers, and donors can give via their mobile phone. Learn more about text giving here.


4. Cash and Check

While this isn’t a ‘new technologically advanced’ donation method, it is basic and significant. You will always have a portion of people who prefer to give the old fashion way, so don’t stop accepting cash and check. If you have a physical location for your nonprofit, you could also have giving stations setup around the facility, with giving cards and slots that allow donors to give while at your facility (the giving cards could have an optional check box for donors to select ‘recurring gift’, as well).


5. Products

Many churches and nonprofits are already creating an enormous amount of content each year. If they were to take some of that content and package them into online courses, audiobooks, CDs, DVDs, and eBooks – instead of letting them just collect dust in files – they could offer them to people on their website, serve more people, and create an additional revenue for the organization.



Revenue for an organization is like fuel for a car: you need it in order to keep running. By accepting these five different payment methods above, churches and nonprofits can diversify their revenue streams, keep running, and continue to serve people around the world.

Does your organization accept these five different payment methods? Which payment method do your donors use most frequently?