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April 29, 2015

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

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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:

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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!

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March 18, 2015

By the Numbers – Who Uses eGiving?

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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.

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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.

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February 19, 2015

Catholics Nationwide Give Up Envelopes for Lent!

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Parish Families Simplify Stewardship, Replace Checks with eGiving

Fast… Pray… Give Up Envelopes. That’s the new Lenten tradition for parishioners across the country who are embracing eGiving for their generous offertory and Church support.

“As parishioners practice their Lenten sacrifices during Lent, this year we are inviting church families across the country to make a permanent switch away from offertory envelopes and towards eGiving,” says W. Brian Walsh, founder and president of Faith Direct, the leading eGiving provider for churches nationwide.

A new Lenten campaign led by Faith Direct encouraging parishioners to give up envelopes is having an impact across the country, with eGiving user numbers on the rise. Key points being emphasized by Faith Direct parishes through this campaign include:

  • eGiving helps provide churches with consistent support month after month so they can better budget for and sustain their ministries.
  • eGiving helps parishes save money and protect the environment by eliminating the cost of providing envelopes and other paper resources.
  • By giving up envelopes, parishioners are making a lasting contribution to a more cost-effective and efficient way of collecting donations.

This Lenten campaign is part of the complete communications plan Faith Direct provides to participating parishes, including direct mail, email, promotional messaging and social media strategies. This marketing expertise is a hallmark of the Faith Direct program, and helps lead parishes to the highest levels of participation among eGiving providers – adding more value to what is already the most cost-effective eGiving program on the market. In 2014, 35% of Faith Direct’s new parishes switched from another provider to save on costs and maximize Faith Direct’s pioneering strategy.

As families nationwide celebrate the Lenten season, Faith Direct’s success in helping parishioners give up envelopes can add a unique perspective to stories on overall trends in church giving, faith-based marketing, parish finances, conservation in church communities, and stewardship and engagement among religious families.

Faith Direct President W. Brian Walsh is available to discuss any of these topics as well as this new campaign to inspire church families to give up envelopes. To schedule an interview, please contact Faith Direct at (703) 519-5710 or via email here.

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February 5, 2015

How Weather Impacts Offertory

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When a winter storm hits, it can put a freeze on a church’s financial stability.

Just ask Father Donald Fest, S.S.J, Pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Alexandria, VA, whose parish has had its share of winter storms and lost weekends over the years.

But thanks to a strong communications and outreach plan that has inspired 50% of donating households in his parish to use eGiving, Fr. Fest has been able to overcome cold weather woes.

Before St. Joseph started its eGiving program through Faith Direct, a cold snap could have a devastating impact on collections.

FrFestQuote

“I would say that during these weekend storms, the collection just bottomed out,” Fr. Fest recalls. “Offertory decreased by 80 percent.”

And it was virtually impossible to make up for that loss, he explains, “because everyone was giving by check or cash, and they did not think or make the conscious, intentional effort to make up for their missed weeks of offertory.”

Launching an eGiving program was the first step in addressing this problem – and working with Faith Direct to actively market the program, so that members would understand the importance of consistent, committed giving, has led to stronger stewardship for the parish.

SnowChurch“eGiving helps people budget their giving, and follow through on that budget,” Fr. Fest notes. “If the member is a ‘one-check-per-week’ giver, their giving will be entirely dependent on their attendance, rather than their actual budgeted commitment. eGiving enables parishioners to follow through on their commitments.”

Remember: Having an eGiving program for your church is only half the battle – if it’s not backed with a powerful marketing message that inspires your members to be part of it, then your program won’t give you all the protection it can against weather disruptions.

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January 8, 2015

Churches Benefit from Last Minute eGifts

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Newly-released figures from Faith Direct show the importance of having an easy-to-use eGiving program that your church family can use for all of their gifts to the church. Donation numbers from December 2014 – based on the churches we serve throughout the United States – include:

EOYinfographic1-7-15

These numbers illustrate what a strong eGiving program offers to your members when they decide to give:

  • Flexibility: Church offices aren’t always open when people feel inspired to give – especially during holidays, when offices could have limited hours. eGiving allows members to give what they want, when they want, whenever they are inspired by a specific ministry or need.
  • Choices: Not every member wants to drop a check off at the church. Your eGiving program must give users multiple ways to make their gift: whether it’s online, over the phone, or from their smartphones or tablets – and whether they want to use a checking account or credit card.
  • Confidence: Donors making last-minute offerings (especially large gifts) want to be sure their gift is handled properly and attributed to the appropriate tax year. With eGiving, gifts are processed right away – so no checks are sitting in a church office until it is too late to be attributed to correct tax year.

Churches without a robust eGiving program that’s easily available to users for all of their gifts likely lost out on last-minute generosity at the end of the year or during other seasons such as Easter. Don’t continue to miss out in 2015 – make sure your eGiving program simplifies stewardship for your members, so they give their full support to your important ministries.

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