In a previous post, “Can we talk about online giving?”, I made my case for the importance of embracing and facilitating new forms of giving. We need to connect a new generation of givers with the joy of giving. People my age and younger don’t carry cash and checks. If our churches only accept cash and checks, we miss out on givers who are used to being able to pay with debit and credit cards, PayPal and Bitcoin. They are used to being able to pay or donate on the web, on their smartphone and even via text. I think I am on to a way to hack my Amazon echo so that I can give to a church by just speaking a phrase in my kitchen.
At the end of the post, I invited people to watch the blog and the RioTexas.org website for more information, recommendations, and some tips for getting started. I thought I would be able to get that up in a couple of days. That was May 21. Let me explain.
With no intended offense toward the current providers of online and e-giving solutions, the current marketplace is a little bit like chaos God spoke over to bring the world into existence. All of the providers I reviewed were completely on the up and up. However, there is still no clear set of guiding standards which would allow a normal person to decide which service is best for their church.
So, I have created two new pages on the RioTexas.org website, both found on the “Online Giving” page. The first page defines some of the terms that are thrown around by providers: transaction costs, merchant accounts, ACH, EFT, etc.
The second page does a passable job of comparing the services.
As stated on the web page, you are going to do some of your own research to make a decision. I hope the resources might at least get you started down the road.
A few yrs ago, the fnc sec and I were discussing this topic. At the time, her only beef to these online giving srvcs was that there is/was a nominal fee for using it, and this lady counted every nickel and dime significant. She preferred to help parishioners set up auto-draft pmts from their credit cards or checking accounts (credit cards only if the person was in the habit of paying the balance in full each month).
Thank you for sharing some of the reasons some churches are hesitant to embrace online giving. The church does incur a cost for each gift. The people we entrust with our church finances are smart to want to save the church money. However, what we find over time, is that not accepting these forms of payment has a greater cost — entire generations of people not entering into the joy of giving. Small businesses struggled with this same question for a long time. With small profit margins, they wondered if they could swallow the costs of credit card fees. The eventually figured out that they couldn’t afford not to accept credit cards. Consumers would just go somewhere else if they didn’t have cash.
I wonder if churches might consider accepting credit cards while at the same time educating members that it would save the church money if they moved to EFT or auto draft. I wonder if the same might be true for the fear of people getting into credit card debt. Could churches accept credit cards, while at the same time, offering programs like Financial Peace to help their members get and stay out of debt?
Good thoughts, Will, all deserving of ongoing conversations among church leaders and in small groups. Thanks for keeping so many perspectives in the forefront.
All I have to say is that I think it’s awesome that you’re taking the time to dig in and educate folks. Nice work pastor Will.
Every church should to look at the options and make an educated decision based on what their goals and objectives are related to offering more giving options to their members.
ps. I noticed you mentioned asking for more info. about Tithe.ly. We’d love to hop on the phone to discuss more (and be sure you’ve got all the info for your material).
Barn – http://www.tithe.ly