Let’s talk about pricing…
Many eGiving programs attract parishes by offering a seemingly low upfront cost structure. This is a classic marketing strategy – getting people in the door with a low price. It might be good marketing, but it’s not necessarily good for churches. Parishes that buy into an eGiving service with lower upfront pricing can quickly find their costs escalating as more people use the program. And “basic” services can burden front-office staff with extra, time-consuming tasks.
eGiving is a long-term process, so it’s important to think of your costs that way as well. Here are five questions to ask as you consider the true overall costs of a successful eGiving program:
1. Is the pricing structure a flat fee, or is it percentage-based?
Flat-fee pricing means your parish’s costs will remain consistent, month after month. Under a percentage-based plan that’s tied to the amount of your monthly offertory, your parish’s costs will increase as more of your members sign up for eGiving – having the perverse effect of costing your parish more if your members are inspired to support key ministries by signing up for eGiving. The last thing parishes need is to to be punished as their eGiving program grows – but that’s what happens under percentage-based fee structures.
2. How much time will your church staff be required to spend maintaining and managing your eGiving platform?
In general, eGiving saves time for your front-office staff because they don’t have to spend so many hours processing individual checks and documenting and safely handling cash offerings (and this makes your offertory more secure as well) – but just how much time your parish can save depends on the platform you chose. If a program makes your team responsible for time-consuming tasks like updating payment and credit card information, dealing with declined transactions, and tracking card expirations, you will need to consider that in your overall staffing and budget calculations. A full-service program like Faith Direct will take this burden off your parish staff, allowing them to dedicate more time directly to ministries and programs.
3. Does the eGiving provider offer dedicated customer care for the parish?
Your parish will inevitably have questions about implementing and managing your eGiving program – and some church members will likely need help with enrollment and account management. Will the eGiving provider you choose be there with the answers you need? Faith Direct assigns a church success manager to every parish, ensuring a direct resource for questions related to the program, communication strategies, and reporting – and we also offer dedicated email and phone customer service for parishioners who need help. If a program requires your church staff to figure out how eGiving works and field questions from members, that’s more time your team will have to spend on administrative tasks – and less time to focus on ministries.
4. Do the programs you are considering have strategies to help your parish with marketing and promoting eGiving?
It’s not enough for a parish to simply offer an eGiving option – parishioners need to know the option exists, and they need to be informed of why recurring, automatic gifts are especially helpful in sustaining and expanding important ministries. If promoting eGiving falls to the parish, that’s even more time required for your busy front-office staff – and again, that translates to less time your staff can dedicate to ministries. Faith Direct offers tested marketing materials customized with each parish’s branding, because we want parishes to success and because we’ve learned that church members respond more enthusiastically to an eGiving option that truly reflects the parish’s identify and overall mission. If such resources aren’t available to the parish – or if they drive up your cost – your parish will pay, one way or the other.
5. Are special features that will enhance your parish offertory and church operations included in the eGiving program’s cost?
As church members grow more tech savvy and use digital tools to handle everything from supporting causes they love to buying groceries and making dinner reservations (especially after COVID-19 has forced everyone to go “contactless”), they will expect such flexibility from your eGiving platform. Some providers do not offer such added services at all, while others only offer enhancements as “add-ons” or “upgrades” that will increase your costs. Faith Direct includes features like text-to-give and event registration as part of our overall platform – it’s important to know exactly what’s included in any pricing given to you by potential eGiving providers. eGiving is an investment for your parish that’s geared towards consistency and long-term growth to sustain your church ministries, and it’s important to take a “big picture” look at how a program’s cost structure will impact your parish now and in the future. If you have specific questions about Faith Direct’s flat-fee cost structure, why it’s more beneficial and equitable for parishes, and the services features included in the cost, visit www.faithdirect.net.