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.
If you want your eGiving program to make a real difference for your church, then having a well-designed, user-friendly smartphone app is a must. Apps and mobile friendly websites are how people manage their lives today – the numbers make that clear:
- 64% of American adults own a smartphone; 42% have a tablet computer; and 32% own an e-reader – which means more and more people have access to apps and mobile sites.
- 63% of adult cell owners use their phones to go online. (Here at Faith Direct, we’ve seen mobile access to our website increase by 400% since 2011!)
- 76%: app usage growth in 2014.
What must a strong eGiving app do?
When Faith Direct first introduced our mobile app in 2012, the market was still adapting to this new technology. Now that demand for our app has increased, we’ve redesigned it to best serve our users.
Here are four things we’ve learned about what a strong eGiving mobile app must do:
- Easy access to account management – Members must be able to increase their monthly gifts, support new campaigns and update their address and payment info.
- Simple one-time gifts – Enable your church members to quickly give whenever they feel inspired, wherever they are.
- Access to customer service – App users occasionally need one-on-one support – with a phone number, a contact form and an email link.
- Information about your program – First-time eGivers need to know that eGiving is a secure, efficient way to support your church
To explore the Faith Direct eGiving App, download to your device using one of the links below.
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:
Transaction 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!
Enrollment: 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.
Multiple 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.
Declines: 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.
Account 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.
Technology: 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.
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.
Whether 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.
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!