At ACS Technologies, we understand how vital online giving is for the health and vitality of your organization. We want to help you smoothly implement online giving in your ministry so we’ve developed four steps that will help you maximize your use of Online Giving within Access ACS.

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These are the steps you need to take...

The first step to get started using Online Giving within Access ACS is to sign up for a merchant account. To get started visit, FAQS and How To Sign Up for Online Giving. The setup process takes four to five days after completing the application.

The second step to using Online Giving within Access ACS takes only minutes - setting up fund codes. After setting up a new fund code in ACS, the new fund code is imported into Access ACS. The administrator goes in to the Online Giving Setup and from the Funds menu makes the fund available for Online Giving.

Fund codes can be re-organized and re-prioritized so that the most current and relevant funds are the first ones that potential donors see after logging in to the system. For instance, during the year-end holiday season the Easter fund code might be considered a lower giving priority and moved further down on the funds list. After the New Year has passed and spring nears, Easter can be moved closer to the top of the list.

Being able to quickly re-organize the fund codes is also helpful when emergency fund codes are set up, like the ones for natural disasters or local fundraisers in the community. Moving the newest fund codes to the top of the list helps ensure greater contributor awareness.

To maximize the effectiveness of Online Giving within Access ACS, evaluate your current Web site and make sure it is easily navigated. Less is usually more in Web site design. Key roadblocks that can prevent online giving include:

  • Clutter relating to page and site design, and confusing workflow. If people have to search for the right page to make their donation, they may decide not to give.
    • Access ACS gives users the ability to link directly to the Online Giving page so include the link anywhere you think is pertinent: online event registration pages, announcement pages, individual ministry pages, etc.
  • Unclear content or confusing terms. Be as clear as possible so that contributors know exactly what you are asking of them.
  • Poor fund code organization. During the spring months move Easter to the top of your fund codes list; change the order of the fund codes after Easter has passed so that the most relevant funds stay at the top of the list.
  • Inability to give to specific causes. Donors that want to give to a specific cause (like natural disaster relief efforts) may choose to give elsewhere if you don’t offer the ability to give directly to that cause.

User Experience: Donors & Staff

Don’t underestimate the importance of the user experience – both from a staff perspective and the donor’s viewpoint when using Online Giving within Access ACS.

For the donor, maintaining the look and feel of your online giving pages is crucial to its acceptance/use. Consistency will keep contributors from getting confused or from thinking they’ve somehow left your site because it doesn’t look the same. The Online Giving within Access ACS pages are designed to be modified to fit the needs of each individual church. Feel free to upload your own graphics, create a unique look, and brand the online giving pages to match that of your existing Web site. Remind people that all of their information is in one place – it’s not just for online giving, it’s for event registration, updating contact info, looking up small groups, and even finding potential serving opportunities.

For the staff user, it’s all about familiarity as well. Staff members know the ACS software – the look and feel of the pages, how the buttons are laid out, etc. Using Online Giving within Access ACS extends that level of familiarity. There are no extra interfaces to deal with and usernames and passwords remain the same as well. Reports are easy to populate and view, fund codes are integrated across Access ACS and ACS, and gifts are imported with the click of a button.

Once the technical aspects of using Online Giving are accomplished, the next step is to show people that it is both easy to use and a completely secure transaction. Reach out to people with this information through your pastoral and staff leaders. If the leaders of the church use Online Giving, have them talk about and promote the service so people will follow their example. Members have confidence in the church leaders; therefore, their confidence will transfer to online giving if their leaders promote it.

Another way to spread the word about online giving is to consider launching it with a technology savvy group. Ask them to use Online Giving within Access ACS and share their experiences about how efficient using the system is with their groups. Have them share their testimony during services or on the church Web site about why they wanted to give online. Tie those stories in to standard giving times and ask them to provide detail about what online giving has helped them accomplish from a spiritual viewpoint. Spreading positive word of mouth through peer groups is one of the most effective ways to get people comfortable with the online giving idea.

Reach people through announcements whether online, in print, or in messages from the pulpit. The more people hear about online giving, the more they become accustomed to the idea. Finally, the church has to remember that online giving is most successful when done in conjunction with more traditional donation strategies such as in-service giving or collection plates. It is meant to enhance giving by allowing your congregation to choose which method is best for them instead of taking the place of traditional contribution methods.

One step that churches should remember when implementing Online Giving within Access ACS is the importance of being prepared for the frequently asked questions that all new users tend to have. Take a few minutes to prepare an online FAQ that solves common issues (like password problems and how to begin or end a giving schedule). Post it on your church Web site conspicuously so that it’s easy to find. Helping people easily find the answer to their question increases the likelihood that they give online.

It’s also important to make sure that staff members are prepared as well. Providing adequate training within the online giving system will help ensure that they are ready to move forward during the online giving process. The ACS Implementation Team can assist you with all of the financial forms, setting up your fund codes, and helping your staff learn to keep track of donations and progress through reporting. It’s all part of the support system that has been developed to help you reach your ministry goals and implement your vision as smoothly as possible.


Watch the video to hear about the "rapid growth" in online giving at Sugar Grove Church of Christ, where 40% are using online giving - with more participating every week!


Access ACS

Find out more about Online Giving with Access ACS.