Electronic Giving to Church

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Does your church offer electronic giving?  If so, what do you like about it?  If not, do you think they should, and why?

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We have been encouraging our deacons to offer electronic giving options for our congregation.  The reality is that most younger people (and increasingly others as well)  handle finances differently in this increasingly electronic age we live in.  As a church we want to make it easier for people to support the church financially, not harder.

Participant

I'd be interested to know how exactly you offer electronic giving? Do you just have a place on your website that allows electronic devotions? Other methods?

My church doesn't, but I certainly wish they did! I'm in the twenty-something bracket you described, and hardly ever carry cash. I'd much rather give to my church electronically - if I could contribute monthly at the same time I pay for my phone, gym, mortgage, etc. it'd be a lot simpler. I bet giving would even go up, if people are able to build it into their monthly budget planning. Interesting idea.

Participant

I actually do contribute to my church using online banking. I just set up my church as a "payee" and then set up a schedule for a monthly contribution. The bank sends my check each month and the church office gives it to the deacons. There are a couple of other households who give this way, too.

Maybe we could just encourage more people to do this?

Our church allows for Pre-Authorised Remittance (PAR) through setting it up with the Burlington office. I think this is available for every CRC in Canada who uses CIBC as their bank.

Also in Canada, every charity can set up a Canada Helps account where people can donate online through them. The church inputs their details on Canada Helps and they process the transaction (which can be monthly, one time, etc.), sends the money to the church (automatically, or however you set it up), and prepares an income tax receipt for the donor (the church doesn't even have to do this!).  The cost to the church is the same as if they did their own online processing or through PayPal, so is a very good deal.

Mavis:  Our church is putting a section of the website to allow for members to initiate a one-time or recurring gift directly from their bank account.  Our deacons are concerned about the challenges some people have with credit card debt, so they do not plan on allowing gifts by credit card at ths time.

Participant

Just thought I'd let this forum know that last week I set up online giving for our church using PayPal. A member asked about giving using a credit card and wanted to do it before the end of the year. I checked into how difficult it would be with PayPal and it turned out to be pretty easy. I called the tech support number and the person answered my questions quickly. I got the "donate" button set up pretty quickly. I did have to call support again to ask why it didn't let people use a credit card and they had to "verify" my email address, which she did while we were on the phone. Then I needed to fax in a voided check and other info for non-profit status, which gives you a little lower transaction fee. The whole process wasn't too bad.

Now I'm working on making the button prettier. But that's just me being picky. :)

Our Church stated using this about 1 1/2 years ago and had 6 people sign up right away.  I was pleased that a couple of the people commented that it helped them be more regular in giving and made it a higher priority for them.   We probably should offer the option again, as electronic fund transfer is becoming much more readily accepted and used.  For us offerring this was a great step in the right direction to encourage stewardship!

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