Security – it’s one of the most important considerations for your eGiving program.
Since many eGiving providers place security responsibilities directly on churches, it’s essential for you to understand your church’s potential liabilities and vulnerabilities – especially since your provider likely requires you to handle and store your church members’ most sensitive personal and financial information for the administration of your eGiving program.
Here are six security questions you should be asking about your church’s eGiving program:
6 Security Questions for your eGiving Program
|Is your church listed as “Merchant of Record” by your eGiving program? This is an important designation – you should check with your current provider to determine your status. If your provider lists your church as the Merchant of Record, in the event of a security breach that exposes your members’ bank or credit card information you will be required to take a number of costly, time-consuming actions, from notifying those affected, replacing their cards, and offering restitution, to reporting the incident to credit card companies and paying any related fines.|
|Is your church PCI DSS compliant? If your church is processing credit card transactions, you are required to be PCI compliant. Is your church burdened with the requirement of completing and filing your own annual assessment or does your provider manage the process?|
|Are you strictly limiting who can handle sensitive data? Credit card or bank account numbers shouldn’t be handled by anyone who is not properly trained and directly involved with administering your eGiving program.|
|Are you restricting physical access to your members’ personal information? Electronic data should be kept on a secure server in encrypted files accessible only to authorized users. Printed forms must be kept under lock-and-key in a secure area – and should be destroyed once no longer needed.|
|Are you prepared for a worst-case scenario? If a security incident arises with your eGiving program – if data is accessed by an unauthorized user, for example, or if your network is compromised – you need to have a rapid response plan in place so you can immediately alert your members to the problem.|
|Does your church practice the basics of safe computing? Maintaining computers that have strong passwords, current antivirus, malware blocking software and all software security patches in place is a good first step. Security professionals also recommend that you dedicate one computer in your office accessing banking and other financial websites.|
If you answered NO to any of these questions – or if you’re not sure how your current provider handles security matters, and how vulnerable your church may be if there’s a security crisis – now is the time to determine what you can do to increase security, and what if anything your eGiving provider will do to decrease liabilities for your church.
Waiting until a problem arises can be costly to your church, your ministries and your members.
Are you deciding on the best eGiving program for your church, or reviewing your current provider to make sure it’s still the best fit?
Faith Direct wants to help you make the most informed decision possible.
Below you will find our 2016 eGiving Program Checklist. This easy-to-download PDF covers every aspect of your eGiving needs from Program Administration, Communication and Customer Service to Administrative Services and Security.
|eGiving Program Considerations|
This 2016 eGiving Program Checklist covers a lot of ground, because there’s plenty to think about as you make this important decision for your church. Faith Direct wants you to make the best choice for your church’s eGiving program. We hope this Checklist helps!
The first day of summer – June 20 – is National eGiving Day.
Most churches see their offertory decline during the summer by close to 10% according to estimates. Here are five reasons why Faith Direct is the best program to bring you consistent church offertory so your church can weather summer’s budget strains:
- COST: Our pricing is equitable, with a flat managed fee for the life of the program. Unlike many providers, we don’t make your church pay more when people give more.
- SERVICE: Faith Direct is full-service – we handle everything from enrollment to processing to program management, so your church staff doesn’t have to do all the work.
- CUSTOMER CARE: We offer a strong customer service program. If your members have questions, Faith Direct agents are available via phone, email or online chat.
- SECURITY: We protect the church from liability and security risks. You won’t be left holding the bag if there’s a security breach.
- MARKETING: Faith Direct helps churches implement a personalized, multi-channel plan that inspires members to sign up. The more people know about your program, the more likely they are to use it – and the most consistent your offertory will be.
Let us help your church achieve consistent offertory during the summer and throughout the year, so your missions and ministries will be even stronger.
How important is information security? Are checks on the way out? How well is Faith Direct doing?
We asked and you answered.
Over 2,600 Faith Direct users took the 2016 eGiving Survey and provided some interesting answers. Thanks to those who took the survey, Faith Direct can use this feedback to provide a better service to our customers and plan for the future of eGiving. Some of the answers were surprising while others were to be expected (of course our Customer Care team is excellent!). Read below to see the full breakdown.
An overwhelming majority would not prefer to have their offertory donations automatically increase every year.
Faith Direct found that church members prefer to have complete control over how much they give. Although an automatic yearly increase could be convenient for some, on the whole donors reported they would rather not use such an option. The good news is that with an online account, donors still have full control over how much–and how often–they give to their churches.
We have always thought the Faith Direct Customer Care team was great. It’s nice to know that you do, too!
The Faith Direct Customer Care team is available Monday-Friday from 8:30 AM-5:30 PM ET over phone, email, and online chat. 95% of users that contacted the Faith Direct Customer Care team rated their experience as Excellent or Good. We hope to be able to use survey results like these to improve the experience of all of our users (but especially that other 5%).
Satisfaction is pretty high with our current option of two debit days per month.
Faith Direct offers two debit dates to eGiving donors so that members can choose whether to have their accounts debited on the 4th of the month, the 15th of the month, or both. Our hope is to make eGiving easy and convenient for church members so that they–and the churches to which they belong–can better plan financially.
Are checks going away any time soon? About half of those who responded think so, but the other half say checks are here to stay.
Even though it seems that we are living our lives more and more online, 47% of Faith Direct customers that responded to the survey believe that check donations will always be an important source of church collections. Of the 53% that do see eGiving replacing checks in the future, there is little consensus on how long that will take. This is a question that Faith Direct has been asking for a while and one to keep an eye on as time goes by.
Information security is something our users take seriously, as nearly 60% would not support their church if sensitive financial data were being managed by church staff.
Identity protection and information security have become increasingly important in our day to day lives. Protecting sensitive information is a big responsibility for everyone and is one of the core priorities for Faith Direct. We maintain the highest levels of security so church members can rest easy knowing their information is safe and church staff have one less thing to worry about.
Fast. Pray. Give Up Envelopes.
Every Lenten season, Christians are called to renew spiritual practices like fasting, praying and almsgiving. In keeping with the tradition of almsgiving and with Pope Francis’ renewed call for environmental responsibility, Faith Direct was proud to start the annual Lenten Challenge. The Lenten Challenge encourages church members to not only continue supporting their churches, but to do so simply and electronically. eGiving cuts the cost of printing and mailing offertory envelopes and reduces household waste.
While not everyone is expected to go paperless (though there are a few Faith Direct member churches who have taken that challenge), the benefits of eGiving are hard to miss. Here are the results of this year’s challenge:
Even though the Lenten season has come to a close, you can still encourage your members to enroll in online eGiving–both for their convenience and for yours!