Our church was hesitant to get into online giving, primarily because of some of the negative connotations associated with credit card giving.
Our pastor asked us to explore the possibilities, and this is what we found:
Online giving can be done using ACH (e checks) or credit/debit cards. A church can use one or both. We chose to use both, along with instructions that discourage the irresponsible use of credit cards.
You do not have to be a technical wizard to choose an online giving application (app). There are many apps available. We narrowed down the number to two by checking with our church software supplier to find out which apps were most compatible with our software. Then we checked with several users of the various apps and found out how each worked best for them. The final decision was based by comparing the operating costs for each acceptable app.
The app suppliers are eager to help whoever is responsible for your church installing the app on your church web site. After this is done, the gifts start coming in.
The app supplier takes care of all of the thank you emails, etc. and periodically makes deposits into your bank account. It also supplies the data you need for your accounting records.
It is important to keep your church decision makers involved in the evaluation process so that neither you nor they get any surprises at the end of the process.
The online giving option was promoted heavily to help it launch successfully. We used mass e-mails, bulletin inserts, verbal announcements, PowerPoint graphics in the lobby and in the sanctuary, website graphics, and Facebook updates.
So far, our system is working well for us. It worked exceptionally well for end of year giving. We had one person who made a contribution right before midnight on New Year’s Eve.
Our giving is averaging about ½ ACH and ½ credit cards. Our average cost has been less than 1 ½ %.
- Dick Ammons, Madison Square CRC