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Category: General

Faith Direct blog posts that can fall into a general category.

a Minute for Giving Tuesday…

On this Giving Tuesday, we celebrate the generosity of the faithful. It’s likely your members are making charitable gifts today and their donations may include your church. We would like to share some thoughts on equitable fee structures for church eGiving… it will only take a minute!

Consider this scenario:

Maria G. and Bill K. have been longtime active members at St. Joseph Catholic Church.
Maria G. donates $20 per week electronically to offertory.
Bill K. gives $50 per week electronically to offertory.

  • Should St. Joseph’s be required to pay more for Bill’s gift?
  • Is the eGiving company, actually doing more work for Bill’s offertory donation as compared to Maria’s?

Consider fee arrangements that many churches like St. Joseph’s have with transaction-based eGiving providers – I hope you will reflect on the following questions:

  • Do your members realize that the more generous they are, the higher the payment is for your eGiving provider?
  • Generosity that materializes and grows over a period time is a culmination of reflection; an increased awareness towards the need to give back to God, and recognition from members that belong to the church. Why should any eGiving firm get to share in this recognition by being paid more?
  • How much money will the eGiving company St. Joseph’s is using be making when 80% of their donations are eventually processed electronically?
  • 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?

Since 2004, Faith Direct has maintained that a flat fee payment model, for the life of the eGiving program, is a more equitable fee arrangement for the churches we serve.

On this Giving Tuesday we encourage all churches not only to consider what is given, but what you are paying to receive each gift. Please give us the opportunity to review your eGiving cost structure and share what Faith Direct can do for your church in return.

Happy Giving Tuesday!

Are You Ready for Year-End Giving?

Starting with #GivingTuesday and rolling through New Year’s Eve, December is a critical month for your church’s ministries. It is estimated that charities, on average, receive 40% of their annual contributions in the final weeks of the year – and especially for church members, Christmas is the season of giving.

Faith Direct can share that:

  • Over half of year-end donations were made in the last week of the year.
  • 20% of these year-end gifts made on December 31.
  • The average year-end donation amount was $286.

Is your church ready to accept this generosity?

There are three questions you should ask yourself as church members prepare to make their year-end gifts:

  • Does my church offer flexibility in giving? Church offices aren’t always open when people feel inspired to give – especially during holidays, when offices could have limited hours. Make sure you have a Giving program that allows parishioners to give what they want, when they want, whenever they are inspired by a specific ministry or need.
  • Does our church let people choose the best way to give? Not every parishioner wants to drop a check off at the church. With a strong eGiving program you can give users multiple ways to make their gift: whether it’s online, by paper reply, over the phone, or with a smartphone app – and whether they want to use a checking account or credit card.
  • Do you empower church members to give with confidence? Donors making last-minute offerings (especially large gifts) want to be sure their gift is handled properly, securely and attributed to the appropriate tax year.

Before the year-end rush hits, make sure you have an eGiving program that simplifies donations for your parishioners, so they are able to give their full support to your important ministries.

Has your eGiving program flatlined?

eGiving is a great way to increase your offertory and expand your church ministries – but only if your program is designed to grow stronger, year after year.

Here’s what an analysis of growth patterns in Faith Direct church clients tells us:

  • In your program’s second year, the number of eGivers should increase by 60%.
  • Year 3-6 program growth should be another 20%.
  • The result? A 5-year combined growth rate of 246%!


Has your eGiving flatlined?

If your church isn’t experiencing similar growth, remember these three strategies to enhance your program and keep it growing:

  1. INCREASE your communications: Through our full-service program, Faith Direct churches spread the news about eGiving via annual letters and email campaigns, plus regular bulletin announcements as well as online and social media posts. The more people know about the benefits of eGiving, the more likely they  are to sign up.
  2. EXPAND how people can give: You need to make sure your eGiving program allows your church families to give when they want and how they want. With Faith Direct, this means people can sign up online or with paper forms, and they can use our smartphone app to increase their giving or make one-time gifts to the church when they feel inspired.
  3. STRENGTHEN your stewardship message: Don’t forget to include your eGiving program in annual stewardship drives. Faith Direct churches emphasize that eGiving helps conserve resources, and also provides a steady monthly income to sustain church ministries. eGiving is great stewardship!

Pope Francis and the Environmental Impact of eGiving

Pope Francis IM Sept 2015“There is a nobility in the duty to care for creation through little daily actions…”
Pope Francis, Laudato Si – On Care for Our Common Home

As the Holy Father makes his first visit to the United States, he is sharing a powerful message of environmental stewardship – and eGiving is one of the best ways for your church to put Pope Francis’s message into action and protect our natural world. Did you know that pulp and paper production is the third largest producer of air, water, and land pollution? eGiving helps churches cut down on envelopes and checks… which leads to reductions in how much paper your parish uses and wastes.

An analysis of Faith Direct parishes and dioceses shows that overall, since 2004, our program has helped eliminate nearly 40 million envelopes.

Offering your parishioners an eGiving option – and by implementing a program that spreads the news about the importance of eGiving, and inspires as many people as possible to sign up – is one of those “little daily actions” heralded by Pope Francis that can make your parish greener, and have a tremendous impact in the world around us.

There’s More to eGiving than Offertory

John and Kristen, a young couple with two children, have decided to support a new capital campaign for the construction of a parish life center… Blessed with unexpected income, Ryan decides to increase his giving by taking part in the upcoming second collection for World Mission Sunday… Amy is particularly inspired by a powerful Sunday homily, and wants to make an immediate one-time gift to celebrate and sustain the church’s ministries…

Would these generous individuals be able to make their special gifts to the church using your eGiving program?
You need to make sure they can…

toggle-img-flexgivingFor your program to be truly powerful, it must enable church members to give not only their traditional weekly offertory, but also second appeals and one-time gifts.

This is the flexibility your members want from your eGiving program. They’re no longer using checks and envelopes for their offertory, and they appreciate the same efficiency and simplicity for all of their church giving.

At Faith Direct we’re seeing members make the most of the flexibility provided by eGiving:

  • Among all Faith Direct churches, close to 25% of donations are given to programs outside traditional offertory – whether it’s a seasonal campaign, specific mission collections or emergency appeals.
  • If you look at Faith Direct churches that have an ongoing capital campaign, the number is even larger – 35% of their members’ donations go to additional collections.

The best eGiving programs empower your members to give whatever amount they want, whenever they feel inspired – online, over the phone or with an eGiving app. Bringing this flexibility to your program will let church members like John and Kristen, Ryan, and Amy do their best to support all of the church ministries.

Don’t Let These 6 “Hidden” Costs of eGiving Sneak Up On You

It can’t be said enough: eGiving is more than just letting your members give electronically. For your program to help strengthen your offertory – and for it to be a secure way for people to give their offerings – it must be constantly maintained, updated and improved… and that could require a good deal of time and effort from your church staff.

A full-service, cost-effective eGiving provider like Faith Direct will address the details for you, so your church can focus on your missions and ministries. But if you have a basic system that you’re managing in-house, there are six “hidden” costs you will have to think about:

feature_img9Transaction Costs: Most eGiving programs charge a percentage of the gross receipts plus a user fee – so the more people sign up, the more it will cost. Consider that in three years, 80% of your donations will be processed electronically, and it might surprise you how much you will be paying a provider to process gifts!

feature_img8Enrollment: You will need easy-to-use online enrollment forms, and paper forms for those who prefer that option. A staff member will need to devote time to keying the information from paper forms into your system.

feature_img4Multiple Appeals: You’ll need to be able to customize your system for a variety of collections and one time gifts throughout the year – and this will require time and technical know-how.

feature_img1Declines: Whether it’s non-sufficient funds for a checking account or an expired credit card, some of your transactions won’t go through – so you will need to be able to coordinate with individual members to determine an alternate form of payment.

feature_img12Account Changes: Throughout the year, members will want to switch to a new card or checking account, or adjust the amount they give each month. Somebody from your church will need to be ready to help manage that.

feature_img7Technology: When members switch to the newest phone or tablet, or update their operating systems, you’ll want to make sure your eGiving system is keeping up – and it’s especially important to promptly install any security updates issued for the software you use.

eGiving is a great way to strengthen your offertory, but it’s a complex system that needs constant attention. If your eGiving provider doesn’t handle details like customer service or security, make sure you are devoting the time and resources needed to keep your system up to speed.

“Church members are asking for this every day.”

Think of all the events your church hosts throughout the year – from dinners and fundraisers to mission trips and service programs, classes and workshops to special youth activities.
If you want to make it as easy as possible for members of your church to sign up for these events and get involved, you need to make sure your eGiving program provides a dedicated event registration tool that you can use for your church.

This is the next frontier in eGiving – especially since online event registration is now part of your members’ daily lives.

86believenWhether they’re signing their kids up for soccer camp, volunteering for the PTA or planning for a work-related conference, people in your church are using online registration to manage their schedules and get involved in the community.

This growing trend is here to stay, and according to one of our targeted survey respondents:

“Church members are asking for this every day.”

What you should ask eGiving providers about event registration:

1. Does my eGiving program have a dedicated event registration platform for the church?
2. Can it make the sign-up process easier by “autofilling” personal and payment information for registered eGiving users?
3. Can the online registration tool be customized for specific events?
4. Can church members easily use the registration system on their computers, phones and tablets?

The answer to all these questions should be “yes” – if you want a program that is convenient and efficient, and meets the needs of your church.

Here is a video explaining how Faith Direct is incorporating online event registration into our eGiving program – if you have any questions or want more information, feel free to email or call us toll-free at (866) 507-8757.

Exciting new eGiving features! Take a look…

As a pioneer in Church eGiving, Faith Direct has always recognized that successful electronic giving is more than just processing gifts. Faith Direct continues to enhance our program offering with new features that make it easier for your parishioners to enroll and manage their giving.

To see these exciting new features in action, watch the video below.

Want to learn more? Our flat fee model, which includes our innovative eGiving communication plan, will save you money and increase participation.

Contact us today for a free consultation at 866-507-8757 or email us here.

This Church Is Using Social Media to Promote eGiving – You Can Too!

It’s not enough for a church to just have an eGiving program – people need to know about it.

St. Mary of the Falls Catholic Parish in Olmsted Falls, Ohio is using social media to get the word out. While their initial Facebook page was set up to promote the youth ministry, the parish began adding special posts highlighting their eGiving program. The results are impressive:

45% of the parish’s enrollments in the last six months have been from Facebook;
Facebook enrollments account for almost 10% of their overall eGiving donors.

Inspire spoke with Deacon Rich Mueller, who serves as the Business Manger at St. Mary of the Falls. Here are some social media strategies your church can use to raise awareness of your eGiving program and encourage your church family to sign up:

1. Build your social media presence: If your church hasn’t created a Facebook page, signing up is the first step. It’s easy, and once you’re on board, people can “like” your page and see the updates you post. Once your page is in place, make sure to let people know that social media is a great place to get the latest news and updates.

2. Don’t be afraid that social media will require a huge time commitment: “Promoting eGiving and other events takes very little time once your page is set up,” Deacon Rich shares. “No one staff member has to do it all!”

3. For eGiving, use posts that are relevant and relatable to church members: St. Mary of the Falls posts each month, using content provided by Faith Direct. The messages can be based on the liturgical part of the year, while also relating to people’s everyday lives. Here’s a great example from March:


4. Keep your page interesting: In addition to posts about stewardship and eGiving, you can share special events, family activities, unique ministries, volunteer opportunities… all the ways that people can be more involved in the life of the church. Different staff members can easily add content that is relative to their particular ministry.

You can see more of St. Mary of the Falls’ Facebook page here – and feel free to visit Faith Direct on Facebook and Twitter to see how we use social media to promote eGiving!

By the Numbers – Who Uses eGiving?

Which age group do you think is most likely to use an innovation like eGiving?

Younger people are fully immersed in a digital world and are definitely open to using eGiving for their donations – but numbers suggest that older members are just as excited about simplifying their stewardship.


So what insights can we take away from this data?

Many younger members might not feel ready to commit to offertory giving.
Young members may not yet have achieved a steady, stable income – but as they develop their understanding of giving stewardship, they will want to have an eGiving option.

Never assume members are “set in their ways” and committed to writing checks.
We’re all living in a digital world now, with multiple monthly payments made online or automated – and even your most senior members will appreciate the convenience and consistent stewardship that eGiving provides. (Keep in mind, Social Security and Medicare payments are made through direct deposit!)

It is important to market your eGiving program to your entire church.
You want to reach people through email and social media, of course, with quick online signup options – but notifications in your church bulletin and letters to your members are also great ways to promote eGiving as the best way to support the church.