This is a complete guide to switching church giving providers.
In this guide you’ll learn:
- How to change church giving providers without causing confusion
- The steps you’ll need to take to minimize any giving drop-off
- A proven 12-week step-by-step transition plan (broken into 3 phases)
- And plenty more…
Changing giving platforms can feel like a daunting task.
But here’s the good news:
In many cases, switching platforms can not only save your church money — it can actually help increase giving overall.
But how do you actually do the switchover well? There’s a right way to do it. And a wrong way to do it.
Let’s dive in.
The most important part of switching church giving providers
The first and most important thing you’ll need when changing giving providers?
A transition period – usually around 2-3 months.
During this time, you’ll want both your previous provider and new giving platform to be active.
This is the key to making your transition plan smooth.
Because the worst thing you can do is end your relationship with one provider and then start new the next day with another.
This is how churches get themselves into trouble with recurring gift drop-offs and confusion.
To that end, we’ve created a 12-week transition plan (broken into 3 phases) to help guide you through these months.
Let’s begin with Phase 1.
Length: Weeks 1-3
Goal: Announce the upcoming switch; articulate the missional purpose behind the change
Phase 1 begins by announcing to your church that you’re switching giving providers. Ideally, this will be done through both stage announcements (in-person) and email (digital).
More importantly, don’t just announce the change – talk about why the change is being made in the first place.
This is the part we see churches commonly miss.
But here’s why it’s so important:
Articulating the motivation behind the switch will help your congregation be invested in the change. Because now, it’s not just an administrative annoyance – there’s a missional purpose attached to it.
And this can do wonders for your transition.
Here’s an example of how to do this:
Let’s suppose you’re changing your giving provider to Nucleus Giving. And part of the motivation behind that change is you don’t want to lose parts of every gift to rev-share and processing fees. This is how you could script an announcement or email to communicate this to your church (feel free to copy this or re-word it to make it your own):
“With our current giving provider, every time a donation is made ~2% of that gift is lost to processing fees — and ~1% is taken by the giving provider themselves. Meaning, every year our church needlessly loses thousands of dollars in intended donations. By making this switch, those gifts will stay with our church and be used for ministry. It will also make it much easier for people to join us in giving as an act of worship.”
The key to Phase 1 in our transition plan is identifying the missional motivation behind the change and sharing that with your church.
Naturally, there are administrative and logistical needs as well.
But inspiring your congregation to change (and thereby paving the way for a smooth transition) starts with a missional motivation.
Length: Weeks 4-7
Goal: Roll out new giving provider for all new gifts; begin transitioning recurring givers
Phase 2 is dedicated to replacing your previous provider with your new one.
Here are a few key areas to consider:
- Links/buttons on your website
- Print materials (bulletin, connect card, etc.)
- Social media posts and links
Essentially, you’ll want to take inventory of every communication medium your church uses (offline, online, print, digital, etc.) and replace the old provider with the new one.
This is an important threshold to reach in your transition plan. Because once you’ve arrived at this stage, every new gift (both one-time gifts and recurring) will go through your new provider.
Once this has been accomplished, you’re more than halfway done! And now, your perspective should shift to the recurring givers in your church.
It’s important to open direct communication with your recurring givers starting in Phase 2 and not wait until Phase 3.
You’ll also want to communicate that once they set up their new recurring gift, they’ll want to cancel their old one.
And this is why a transition period is so crucial — because it ensures you don’t see a drop-off in giving by canceling your old platform and immediately losing all of your existing recurring gifts.
From our experience, within a few weeks, most givers will take care of their own switchover. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see ~75% of recurring gifts transitioned in this phase.
But what about those last stragglers?
That’s what Phase 3 is for.
Length: Weeks 8-12
Goal: Move over the final few stragglers
We now enter Phase 3. Our final (but also longest) phase.
At this point, your old giving provider should:
- No longer be available as an option from your website
- Not be talked about or promoted publicly, and
- You shouldn’t see it on any digital or print media
So truly, the purpose of these final few weeks is to encourage the final stragglers to move over.
Because no matter how well you execute the changeover process, there will always be people who drag their feet.
But this is why a transition period is so important. Because in our timeline, we now have several weeks of margin to make sure we get everyone moved over.
And there are a number of different strategies that we’ve found especially effective for Phase 3 that you know about:
Technique #1: Easy, Individualized Emails
First, we’d recommend creating a list of every recurring giver that has yet to move over to your new platform.
Next, send quick, individual emails to each donor on the list. In these emails, you’ll want to note that they have a recurring gift set up and you’d like to help them move it over.
These emails can be in a standardized format so you don’t have to write a custom email to each person. But make sure you do include the personalization of their name, along with specific info about their recurring gift (amount, fund, frequency, renewal date, etc.).
Also, include a link to your new giving platform to set up the new gift and also a link to the old platform so they can cancel their old gift.
(you can also simply ask them to let you know when they’ve set up their new recurring gift so you can take care of canceling the old gift for them)
To make this easier, I’ve written an email template (screenshot below) that you can customize for this exact purpose:
Technique #2: Trigger Links
Now, not every platform offers something like this, but on Nucleus Giving specifically, there’s a powerful technique you can use to transition recurring givers.
We call these Triggers Links.
And simply put, a Trigger is a shareable link that has pre-populated information embedded within it. So when a person clicks the Trigger link, they’re brought to a page with a gift amount, frequency, fund, and renewal date pre-selected for them. So now, all they need to do is enter their payment information and their email to complete the gift.
Creating a Trigger link takes just a few seconds.
So here in Phase 3, we’d recommend creating custom Trigger Links for each person or family remaining on your recurring donors list that has yet to move over.
Now, using the modified email template below, send emails to each of the people remaining on your recurring givers list with their custom Trigger link – and once the new gift is created, simply cancel the old one for them.
Follow this process, and it shouldn’t take more than 2 minutes for a donor to re-create their recurring gift:
Technique #3: Deadlines
Here’s one final tip for you to use in Phase 3:
Simply put, choose a day on the calendar (perhaps the same day you’re officially canceled with your previous provider) and use that as your hard stop for moving people over.
You can use language like this when talking about the deadline:
“Use of our old giving platform will expire on [INSERT DATE HERE]. At this point, everything has been moved over – we’d love to have you move over your recurring gift before that date.”
However you choose to word it is up to you – but there’s something highly motivating about deadlines.
Because it’s not uncommon for people (you and I both included) to put stuff off until we know there’s an actual deadline – and then that’s when we do it.
So consider setting that hard end date and using it in your communication to those few, final folks that are taking a bit longer than the rest.
And now, what if you’re stuck in a contract? Then what?
So what do you do if you’re stuck in a contract with your current giving provider?
Well, for the sake of discussion, let’s assume you’re paying ~$199/month for online giving in a contract with a platform like Pushpay. That’s right around where their monthly subscription cost typically starts.
More importantly, beyond the monthly subscription cost, they’re also taking rev-share off of each gift.
So yes, you may be on the hook for that monthly payment for the next little while – but, the average church on Pushpay pays dramatically more in rev-share fees than they do in monthly subscription costs.
In fact, Pushpay and rev-share-taking providers make over 70% of their income off their cut of fees (Source: Pushpay Investor Relations Report July 2021).
Meaning, even if you had to ride out the rest of your contract paying the monthly subscription cost, you could still follow the 12-week transition plan within this guide, eliminate rev-share & processing fees, and start saving immediately.
You may not be able to recover 100% of what you’re paying in your contract, but by getting out of rev-share and processing fees, the average church can expect to re-coup ~70% of their costs.
Then, add in a platform like Nucleus with a modest monthly cost (where you’ll never lose any of your donations to fees) and the end result is *still* a dramatic net positive in terms of what your church pays monthly.
And this is because:
Believe it or not, the average cost to a church on Nucleus Giving for a whole year is half the cost of just one month on Pushpay (or similar rev-share giving providers).
Now, for what it’s worth, we’ve heard from some churches that they’ve been able to convince their salesperson to cancel their contract. So it’s worth a shot.
But here’s what you don’t want to do: stay where you are because of sunk cost.
Because it will always be cheaper to switch off a rev-share giving provider to save money on the fees. Even if you’re still paying the monthly subscription cost for the remainder of your contract.
If you are motivated to begin exploring options for changing giving providers – we want to make that as easy as possible for you.
So we’d like to give you an extra 3 months free on top of your first year of Nucleus Giving. This means you can follow the 12-week transition plan without paying extra for two providers! 🥳
Here’s what that looks like in practice:
- Let’s say you signed up for a Nucleus Giving annual plan on November 1st, 2021
- Normally, your renewal date would be November 1st, 2022 – the following year
- Instead, with these extra 3 months of free time, your renewal date becomes 15 months after your initial signup date rather than 12 – so now, your renewal date would be February 1st, 2023
- Combined with an annual plan already giving you 2 months free compared to our monthly costs – that translates to 15 months for the cost of 10 in your first year
To claim this special pricing, just click the banner below or visit nucleus.church/giving/3free
And don’t forget to download the 12-week transition plan PDF by clicking here.
Thanks as always for your time, attention, and trust. Talk soon.