eGiving is quickly eclipsing check writing for Church Support. As church members frequently have questions about eGiving and their gifts, your program must have the staff or resources to provide immediate answers. A responsive, knowledgeable customer service team lets members know that their eGiving gifts to the church are in good hands, and that you care about their individual questions and concerns.
We spoke with Jack Emerson, Faith Direct’s Customer Service Manager, about the ins-and-outs of great eGiving customer service:
What do you think is the biggest customer service mistake that eGiving programs make?
I would say limiting the ways that people can contact you. It’s very important to give your members options. In addition to a phone number, your customer service program should also include channels such as a dedicated email address and a live online chat option.
Do different demographics within a church community seem to be more comfortable with certain customer service options?
In our experience, we’ve found that older individuals prefer to call in with their questions while younger individuals seem to prefer emailing their questions or using the online chat function. Regardless of age, members have indicated that they appreciate the option of being able to speak with someone on the phone.
What are the most important attributes of a good customer service representative?
I think it’s threefold: First, representatives should be prompt – whether it’s quickly answering the phone or responding right away to email or chat questions. Second, they must be knowledgeable about how the eGiving program works and what options exist, so they can answer questions with confidence. Third, they must be thoughtful and courteous, so members will always feel comfortable reaching out with any questions they may have.
Which issues do members contact customer service about the most?
It runs the gamut from changing their giving amounts or adding a special gift, to updating their bank or credit card information, and everything in between. People have questions about security, too – they want to know that their eGiving provider is handling their personal information in a secure way. There’s no question or concern too big or small for a great customer service program.
The stronger you can make your customer care network, the better your eGiving program will be for your church. Make a point this month of going over the service options your program provides, and making sure that your members’ questions can be answered quickly and knowledgeably.
Meet Father Donald Fest, S.S.J., Pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Alexandria, VA, which started using Faith Direct just two years ago and now has 65% of donating households using eGiving.
Fr. Fest recalls: “I would say that during these weekend storms, the collection just bottomed out, Offertory decreased by 80%, 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… This can be very disruptive to our Offertory levels. Faith Direct eliminates that problem and disruption.”
Since 2003, Faith Direct has helped hundreds of churches nation-wide implement an eGiving program that increases offertory… provides a steady, predictable cash flow… and generates more resources for vital outreach and assistance programs. With over $175 Million collected in 2015 for churches nationwide Faith Direct is the leader in complete eGiving solutions.
Fr. Fest adds: “Faith Direct helps people budget their giving, and follow through on that budget. If the church member is a ‘one-check-per-week’ giver, their giving will be entirely dependent on their attendance, rather than their actual budgeted commitment. Faith Direct enables members to follow through on their commitments.”
Faith Direct offers the only comprehensive full service program to transition your envelope system into an eGiving program that provides consistency regardless of the weather.
Do you need another for a reason to contact us for a meeting? How about three:
- 40% of Faith Direct’s new church clients in 2015 used a competitive eGiving program.
- Faith Direct’s flat fee model provides tremendous cost savings to our churches.
- Faith Direct’s communication strategy not only leads to higher eGiving participation but serves as an annual Stewardship or offertory increase plan!
To learn how Faith Direct can help your church click here to arrange a meeting with one of our representatives.
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!
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.
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…
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.