Are you overpaying for your eGiving program?
If you are currently using, or hearing sales pitches from, transaction-based eGiving providers, here are five questions you should be asking yourself:
- Generosity that materializes and grows over time is a culmination of reflection – an increased awareness of the need to give back to God, and recognition by individuals and families that your parish is an effective instrument of God’s work. Why should an eGiving firm get to share in this recognition by being paid more for larger gifts?
- Do you think that your parishioners would be happy with the fact that, the more generous they are, the more money an eGiving provider receives?
- Beyond processing donations, what practical steps and services do transaction-based eGiving providers include in their platform to merit a higher fee month after month?
- Is the fee your parish pays to your eGiving provider predetermined – or are you paying your provider a larger commission as participation in your program grows?
- How much money will your eGiving company be making when 80% of your donations are eventually processed electronically – the current forecast for most parishes?
As you review your eGiving program, make sure that your parish is receiving the most equitable fee structure possible – one in which your costs don’t fluctuate from month to month, and that doesn’t charge you more when your parish family gives more.
How can I share the importance of eGiving through my parish’s Lenten message?
During Lent, Christians are called to renew spiritual practices like fasting, praying and almsgiving. Year after year, Faith Direct receives tremendous support of our Lenten Challenge, in which parishes share a bold message with members: Fast. Pray. Give Up Envelopes!
With this message, pastors encourage parishioners to help the church by giving up envelopes, and embracing eGiving for their generous offertory and parish support.
As almsgiving encourages each of us to express gratitude for all that God has given by giving some away, Lent is a time for parishioners to think about how they give.
Here are four points you can highlight this Lenten season:
This Lent, encourage your parish to Fast. Pray. Give Up Envelopes!
May God bless you and your parish abundantly during this Lenten season.
“Each life that we encounter is a gift deserving acceptance, respect and love.”
– Pope Francis
Faith Direct is leading a new #LentenGift social media campaign, with the hope that many will encounter the spirit of Lent online. We hope your parish will be part of this unique initiative!
Inspired by everything from cherished bible verses and Pope Francis’s 2017 message for Lent, to words associated with this season of reflection and penance, we’ve chosen a special theme for each day that captures the meaning and significance of Lent.
Throughout Lent, our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram posts will reflect each day’s theme, with the hashtag #LentenGift.
Here’s how you can join us:
- Start by posting the attached Lenten calendar on March 1 with the #LentenGift hashtag on Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram.
- After that, simply follow the calendar and take inspiration from each day’s theme. Post whatever you are moved to share, whether it’s a photo of a cross from your church on the first day of Lent, or a quote from Pope Francis on the final day.
- Whatever platforms you use, you can post images from your church and community, or you can share inspiring quotes that reflect the day’s theme – and you can encourage your parishioners to post as well.
- You’re also welcome to share our daily posts, as we spread the message of Lent.
Together we can build a community of faith across social media in recognition of Lent. We look forward to seeing what inspires you!
Consider this: Two members of your church make their offertory gifts via eGiving. One gives $25, while the other gives $60. With a transaction-based eGiving provider, you would actually be required to pay more for the larger gift – even though the eGiving company isn’t really doing more work for that gift.
Now is the time to make sure your church is not overpaying for your eGiving program – espcially if you are currently using, or hearing sales pitches from, transaction-based eGiving providers. Here are five questions you should be asking yourself:
- Generosity that materializes and grows over a period time is a culmination of reflection – an increased awareness of the need to give back to God, and recognition by individuals and families that your church is an effective instrument of God’s work. Why should any eGiving firm get to share in this recognition by being paid more?
- Do you think that members of your church would be happy with the fact that, the more generous they are, the more money your eGiving provider receives?
- Beyond processing donations, what practical steps and services do transaction-based eGiving providers include in their platform to merit a higher fee month to month?
- Is the fee your church pays to your eGiving provider predetermined month to month – or are you paying your provider a larger commission as participation in your program grows?
- How much money will your eGiving company be making when 80% of your donations are eventually processed electronically – the current forecast for most churches?
As you review your eGiving program in 2017, make sure that your church is receiving the most equitable fee structure possible – one in which your costs don’t fluctuate from month-to-month, and that doesn’t charge you more when your church family gives more.
Meet Vince Guerreiro — Vince is the Finance Chair and member of the Parish Planning and Building Committee of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Ewa Beach, HI. Just last year Vince vetted out eGiving providers and shares his thoughts.
Q: How many eGiving providers did you consider, and what was the process like?
A: We narrowed the possibilities down to four providers, and received proposals from all of them — Faith Direct’s was the only proposal that was personalized to our parish and addressed the critical concern of long-term costs as our program succeeded. I created a spreadsheet to make the numbers from all four providers comparable, so the Finance Council members could see the pros and cons of each bidder. Included in my analysis was potential staff and promotional time that I recognized to be key to having a successful program.
Q: What was Our Lady of Perpetual Help looking for in an eGiving provider?
A: Experience mattered — firms may have good intentions, but experience is what counts. A good value was also important, and I believed that a program with a flat fee and promotional strategy was the best solution. Security responsibilities, including who serves as the Merchant of Record, were a real concern for many of us.
Q: Did the church consider doing in house?
A: It’s been said that the lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client, and I feel that’s applicable to eGiving — it’s best left to the experts. We talked with a local bank, but it was just a payment provider option with no other resources or help with marketing. We wanted a wider range of services.
Q: How did you approach the question of costs?
A: Rather than focusing just on up-front costs, we recognized that future growth would ultimately be to our benefit. Younger folks are tech-savvy, and will respond to the program. With other programs, that would mean that our fees would grow. With Faith Direct, as the volume grows, the cost per parishioner drops below the other players in the marketplace.
Q: Since partnering with Faith Direct, the return on your investment is now at 281%. Are you surprised by this level of success?
A: I was worried about how eGiving would perform for us, especially since we are home to a lot of older parishioners. But we found that older parishioners are very interested, but they will usually come into the parish office to enroll, which makes the availability of paper enrollment forms very important. Overall, I’ve been very pleasantly surprised.
Q: At this point 40% of your parish donors have converted to eGiving through Faith Direct. What do you believe is driving this high success rate?
A: Our Pastor and priests have been very aggressive in encouraging parishioners to use Faith Direct — they used the talking points you provided us to get us off to a great start. It’s very important for the parish leadership to buy into eGiving, and recognize that churches are going to need new ways of giving other than cash or checks. This has been a great partnership: Faith Direct does the heavy lifting and parish leadership helps serve as an advocate.
Q: What has the impact of eGiving been on your enrollees’ offertory?
A: On average, those parishioners enrolled in Faith Direct are showing a 23.7% increase in their annual offertory giving. While we can attribute this to the recurring giving consistency that eGiving affords, it also should be an important lesson in why participation levels really do matter.
Q: What advice would you give other parishes discerning eGiving options?
A: Don’t be afraid to ask yourself, “How can our parish not do all the work?” Most churches don’t have the resources or manpower to handle all the facets of eGiving. While fees should definitely be considered, it’s just as important to consider what your provider will do for the parish. Faith Direct takes the work off our hands — other providers would have pushed more responsibility on us.