For many years now, parishes have been using eGiving services for collecting their regular donations. More recently, parishes have sought to apply the convenience of eGiving to other programs and payments, including registrations for Religious Education, small group meetings, retreats and other events.
Faith Direct spoke to three parishes that are using our event registration platform for their Religious Education signups to discover what they like most. Here’s what they had to say:
For families participating in Religious Education, online registration makes life easier. “It is really convenient for our families,” says Kate Rice of Most Precious Blood in Denver, CO. “We have hundreds of families signed up for different programs, and they appreciate being able to register multiple children all in one place.”
Many parishes that start out using online registration for Religious Education quickly realize that is has many other uses. “We’re using it as much as we can,” says Marianne Larson from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Plano, TX. “One of our ministries has an annual bazaar, and they are using it to handle booth registrations.”
“We see online registration as a way to help make programs more accessible to our parishioners,” says Kevin Muller from St. Maria Goretti in Westfield, IN – noting that before, registration involved a special trip to the church office to pick up or drop off forms, or an extra effort to mail in registration materials. “The availability of online registration has been very well-received.”
Does your eGiving program have events registration as a standard feature? If not, it’s putting your parish at a disadvantage. Below is a video explaining how Faith Direct is incorporating online event registration into our eGiving program.
The company you choose for an eGiving program should be more than just a transaction processor – they should be your partner and consultant while maintaining a personal connection to your parish.
Q&A: Client Relations Manager Jim Woods works to build one-on-one relationships with parishes that entrust Faith Direct with eGiving usage growth and security of their offertory. We sat down with him to discuss how parishes benefit from this connection:
Why does Faith Direct commit to having a direct relationship with the parishes you serve?
Our primary goal is to help parishes succeed with eGiving, and the better we know each parish the more we can help them strengthen their offertory. As a turn key solution, it is our responsibility to keep our clients informed on results.
What’s your favorite way to connect with individual parishes?
Whether on the phone or in person, nothing beats a one-on-one conversation. We check in periodically with each parish, to talk to them about any specific questions or needs they might have.
What are some topics you generally cover when you speak with an individual parish?
Results are very important – how the parish is doing in terms of parishioner usage or “enrollment”, and how eGiving can be promoted within the parish community to increase enrollment. It’s also a chance for us to get feedback and suggestions for ways we can better serve parishes – we always want to hear what parishioners like about Faith Direct, concerns or questions they may have, and any changes we could consider that might make our program stronger.
Do you have other strategies for keeping parishes informed?
We send out a monthly e-newsletter that shares eGiving news plus updates on new features of our program, and we coordinate with parishes on special annual parishioner outreach mail and email campaigns, tied to when they introduced Faith Direct to the parish family. We also offer monthly webinars focused on specific areas of the Faith Direct program, so parishes can learn more about how the program works and everything we offer. And our customer service team is available to parishes via phone, email and online chat.
Overall, the more an eGiving program offers parishes, the stronger the relationship will be. Features like our online event registration platform help build our connection with parishes – it’s part of our overall goal to make things easier and more efficient for the parishes we serve, so they can focus on their ministries.
How is your relationship with your eGiving provider? They should serve as a consultant about eGiving results and best practices, support your office staff, keep you informed, and make your program’s success a top priority. If they don’t, your eGiving program may not be a strong as it could be.
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!