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Church Leaders Share Impact of COVID-19

Categories: General

We recently surveyed 1,400 customers asking how COVID-19 has impacted their church, and we are pleased to share the results with you.  

Engagement, financial implications, staffing and programming have been areas of concern for many churches, and we invite you to learn more about the trends we have uncovered. The full report, Coping with COVID-19: Insights from Church Leaders, and infographic with key highlights are available at https://online.ministrybrands.com/#whitepaper . 

We are very thankful for the churches that participated in this survey and are grateful for the opportunity to support our faith-based communities through expanded knowledge during the pandemic. 

Faith Direct looks forward to continuing navigating these unprecedented times with you. Please reach out to us at (866) 507-8757 or contact us online if we can assist you in any way.  

Categories:General

Faith Direct Resources to Help Parishes to Safely Reopen

Categories: General

Faith Direct has always been about more than just providing software for Catholic parishes, dioceses, and organizations.  At our core, Faith Direct staff are a community of faithful believers who want to help the Church share the Gospel with others and support the ministry of churches everywhere.  That’s why our mission is “Inspiring eGiving Today for Tomorrow’s Church”

Remaining focused on our shared mission has been crucial over the last few months at Faith Direct. We have empowered parishes and dioceses coast-to-coast and around the world with our complete Faith Direct eGiving solution and some knowledge sharing and support along the way too. It has been our hope these efforts would help them continue their ministry while many parishes and diocesan offices needed to remain temporarily closed due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Here’s a recap of just some of the resources available to parishes and dioceses as you begin the process of reopening:

Updated guidance from the CDC for churches was released on May 21, 2020.  You may access the link for that updated CDC guidance for churches here.

Reopening Church: Touchless Tech for a Safer Reopening webinar recording. The webinar was hosted by Faith Direct’s parent company, Ministry Brands, on May 21, 2020.  Contact Faith Direct if you have any questions about the software and resources available to help your parish and the webinar recording is available here.

Free Text-to-Give is now available for All Faith Direct customers to help your parishioners and donors another convenient safe way for them to make donations and provide their weekly tithing without having to turn in an envelope.

Best Practices for Parish eGiving webinar recording from April 7, 2020.  This webinar was co-hosted by Faith Direct and ParishSOFT and shows how to fully utilize their eGiving and church management (ChMS) software. The webinar recording is available here.

ParishCast is Faith Direct’s mass communication tool that will allow you to communicate with your parishioners through voice, text, and email due to emergencies or schedule changes. To learn more, contact your Customer Success manager.

Prepare Your Parish for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) webinar recording, webinar slides, and free eBook. The webinar was co-hosted by Faith Direct and our partner ParishSOFT on March 18, 2020.  Just submit thisonline form to request your free COVID-19 resources.

With servant hearts, Faith Direct remains focused on helping Catholic parishes, dioceses, and organizations find the best possible solutions to help them during this challenging time.  To see if Faith Direct is the right fit for your parish or diocese, we invite you to call 866- 507-8757 or contact us online.

Categories:General

5 New Year’s Resolutions Every Parish Should Have

Categories: Events, General

A new year provides your parish with a new opportunity to reach parishioners and donors.

With the new year comes new opportunities, new hopes, and new endeavors. That fresh-start feeling leads you to make goals for yourself for the coming year and provides an opportunity for growth. However, that feeling shouldn’t stop with your personal goals; it should also carry over into the vision you have for your parish. By using that new year optimism and implementing these 5 resolutions, your parish’s 2019 strategy will begin to come together more quickly and more clearly than ever. Plus, you may even have fun doing it!

1. Learn from the past while moving forward
You can’t change the future without learning from the past. Did you achieve all the goals that you made last year? If yes, how did you do it? If not, where did you fall short? Figuring out why you succeeded or why not is crucial to growing your ministry. After that, you can better develop plans that are designed to either repeat your successes or avoid the snags that kept you from succeeding last year.

2. Anticipate what is to come
Think about the coming year and what trials are likely to come with it. Does your parish need costly maintenance repairs, or do you need to add a few employees? Preparing well in advance for things you know that your parish will eventually need can help you properly forecast your budget and leave room for any surprises that may happen throughout the year.

3. Make your objectives more specific
Before sharing your plan, make sure to map out exactly what it is you want to accomplish. First, define goals that fit your parish and your mission. Secondly, figure out how you are going to measure success. Then, set a realistic timeline to measure your progress and ensure timely completion. For example, don’t just say that you want to increase monthly attendance. Make it clear by saying that you want to increase monthly attendance by 15% by the end of 2019. Good planning and definition will help ensure that you have the best foundation in place to achieve success.

4. Set more frequent milestones
Breaking down big goals into smaller ones helps to keep everyone from feeling overwhelmed. If the tasks are kept short and simple, you’ll be able to keep your team more engaged and focused on completing the parish’s overall goal. If you want to raise $12,000 for a mission project by the end of June 2019, break it down into 3-6 monetary milestones with a clear halfway point. This will help unite and energize members to see the goal through until the very end.

5. Celebrate every win
Though it’s easy to get tunnel vision when you’re focused on achieving a major goal, make sure to celebrate with your leadership team and parish any time you reach a milestone or complete a goal. It’s important for your members to know that their contributions are making a difference and helping the parish to achieve its goals. Sharing stories of your achievements is a great way to get everyone excited about your ministry and will help maintain the giving momentum throughout the new year.

If you’d like to learn more about how Faith Direct can help your parish meet its 2019 goals, please contact our sales team at 866-507-8757 or sales@faithdirect.net.

Categories:Events, General

Year-End Giving: Promote Across All Channels

Categories: General

Increase year-end giving at your parish.

Faith Direct has introduced our step-by-step year-end giving guide for parishes and has discussed the important role that planning your parish’s communication strategy can have on growing your eGiving program, and have made some suggestions for best practices you might want to consider implementing before launching a year-end giving program. Now that you have a solid plan for communication and best practices, it’s time to start promoting your eGiving program.

Your parish’s year-end fundraising campaign should allow donors to find information about your parish, how your parish works to spread the Gospel and help your community. Information should be easily accessible and donation forms should be able to seamlessly collect funds whether the form is accessed from a computer, on a smartphone or from a tablet.

Provide Giving Button on Websites

Make it easy for your parishioners and donors to find your giving website by placing a “Give” or “Make Donation” button prominently placed at the top of all pages. And be sure that your donations page is optimized to reinforce the impact of year-end giving by providing suggested donation amounts, recurring gift options and “in memory/honor of” options. You can also create a donate link on your parish’s Facebook page.

Provide One-Click Donations from Email

From your year-end emails, include a “Give” or “Make Donation” button prominently that takes the email recipients automatically to the donation form. Make sure that you are tracking every donation that comes from one of your email campaigns. And if you have a mobile phone number for email recipient, it can’t hurt to also send them a text message asking them to make a donation.

Post Reminders on Social Media Pages

One of the great things about a multi-channel brand presence is the ability to turn many of your social media followers into donors. You can do that by providing short social media posts with links to videos and by embedding photos that show the good work your parish does. A link to a story about someone that was positively impacted by parishioners’ generous donations or a testimonial from someone who was helped by the parish or found God after joining the parish goes a long way in displaying the impact of donations. Encourage people to donate, no matter how small the gift.

Send Multiple Messages Before Asking for a Donation

Even though you may provide a prominent link to a button where donations can be made, your parish should not start an email campaign by actually asking for a monetary gift until after you have sent a couple of messages, ideally at least 2 or 3.

The best way to start a year-end giving campaign is by providing compelling content centered around stories of what event took place that year that have helped the community, spotlighting the groups that have benefited from the good work the parish does throughout the year, and the various religious education events including VBS that have educated youth about God and his unending love for each one of us. While your parish’s goal is to raise money, it first must sway hearts before pocketbooks will open.

When launching a year-end giving campaign, your parish needs a complete eGiving solution that is made for parishes like yours. To learn more about Faith Direct, contact our sales team at 866-507-8757 or sales@faithdirect.net.

Categories:General

Year-End Giving: How to Implement Best Practices

Categories: General

Using best practice can assist your parish.

Faith Direct has introduced our step-by-step year-end giving guide for parishes and has discussed the important role that planning your parish’s communication strategy can have on growing your eGiving program. Now, we will dive into the best practices that are needed to ensure success.

Faith Direct helps your parish raise more money because you are providing your donors with a modern and convenient way to share their monetary treasures with your parish.

Year-End Campaign Primary Best Practices

  • Make it easy for donors to give anywhere, anytime from a variety of devices.
  • Make it easy for volunteers to sign up to help your parish.
  • Easily kick off your year-end giving campaign on Giving Tuesday, which is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (this year it’s on Tuesday, November 27, 2018).
  • Communicate on numerous communication channels (ie.your website, social media pages, in emails, via text message, and via phone calls) at once.

 

Provide Donors Several Ways to Give

In order to raise the largest possible amount of money for your parish, provide your donors with a chance to give in the way they are most comfortable. And remember, what might be the ideal way to give for one age group might be least convenient for another age group. By providing several different ways to give, you are providing your parish with the best possible chance of receiving a donation from all parishioners.

Allow donors to give on your online giving website, by text message, with an eGiving app, by check, or over the phone. And if possible at your church, parishioners might enjoy seeing an online campaign fundraising results tracker or thermometer that allows website visitors to track how much money has been raised in your year-end giving campaign so far.

Use #GivingTuesday to your Parish’s Advantage

Giving Tuesday takes place every year on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and is an ideal time to launch your parish’s year-end giving campaign. By planning your parish’s year-end giving campaign in advance, you can effectively communicate with different age groups with a message that is most likely going to solicit a donation. For those people who check your parish’s social media pages for updates, be sure to thank donors and perhaps even single out one person per day who has made a donation thanking them for their generous gift. And on your parish’s website, post a running total of the amount collected during your year-end campaign.

Another way to increase awareness of your parish’s campaign is to take a photograph. When you take a photo of yourself with your smartphone, it’s called taking a “selfie.” In the case of year-end giving, encourage donors to post an “unselfie” which could be a simple Word document created by your parish like this example from the GivingTuesday.org website that allows the individual to type in why they gave, print the document, and take a photo of themselves with the paper to increase awareness of your parish’s fundraising efforts.

Make Your Parish’s Final Appeal

As remarkable as it sounds, 10% of all giving from 2018 will occur in the last three days of the year. Between December 29-31 ask your supporters to make a last-minute donation before New Year’s Day to help your parish reach its giving goal. Send a text message to those donors for whom you have a valid mobile phone number, send an email to all past donors, or post to your social media pages asking for last minute donations. One great way to get noticed is to consider having a member from the parish staff create a short but personal video asking for donations and why it’s important to give what you are able. And be sure to include a short, easy to remember link where donations can be made.

Our next post will conclude our year-end giving guide for with some ways to better promote your program. To discuss your parish’s eGiving program and learn how Faith Direct can help you to better engage your parishioners, please contact our sales team at 866-507-8757 or sales@faithdirect.net.

Categories:General

Year-End Giving: The Importance of Planning Your Parish’s Communication Strategy

Categories: General

Year-end giving is important for parishes.

Now that we have introduced our step-by-step year-end giving guide for parishes, let’s talk about the Christmas season. During the Christmas, your parishioners and donors are bombarded with nonprofit organizations also seeking their financial support. It’s important that your parish recognizes who you are trying to reach and the best way to reach them.

Segment Your Target Audience

  • Millennials are 20-35 and are most likely to respond to a text message asking for a donation, watch a video detailing your message or respond to social media content.
  • Generation X are 36-50 and are the group most likely to want to help fundraise or volunteer for your parish, and respond equally well to text messages, phone calls, and to email. Plus, they are likely to check social media for updates. It’s important to engage this group before launching your parish’s year-end giving campaign if you want to raise the most money possible.
  • Baby Boomers are generally 51-65 and are the group most likely to set-up reoccurring gifts. This group responds well to phone calls and direct mail, they can respond well to email or even text-messaging in some cases. But phone calls and direct mail are generally best for this age group to encourage donations.
  • Greatest Generation members are 66 and up and are often not considered to be as willing to utilize Faith Direct as other generational groups, but they respond well to direct mail and phone calls and are also like to give by sending a check in the mail.

 

Set Your Goals
The best way to determine if your campaign is successful is to set a realistic but lofty goal that is specific and measurable that can be tied to either your financial giving numbers or your parish’s overall marketing goals. Some examples might include:

  • Increase donations among existing donors by 5% in December 2018 compared to giving numbers from December 2017.
  • Increase the number of new donors by 3% in December 2018 compared to December 2017.
  • Sign up X number of parishioners with Faith Direct before the end of December 2018.

 

Create Your Campaign
Every time your parish communicates to parishioners and donors, the look and feel of the campaign should be consistent. That means the parish logo and colors used in all marketing pieces should be similar enough that recipients recognize its part of your parish’s year-end giving campaign. Plus, the message and even the tone being communicated should also be similar from marketing piece to marketing piece. If possible, include photos and video that capture visually the mission of your parish and why your mission is important.

Donors love to read and hear how their donations are making a positive impact on the world. Create videos or testimonials that address the good work your parish is doing and individuals in the community or around the world that have been positively impacted by your parish. Compel the audience to take action by showing the good deeds they can help support with a donation using Faith Direct. And if you still aren’t convinced, consider this fact: the #1 reason that first-time donors do not give again is that they are unaware of the impact their donation has made. So, take the time to let your audience know how their donation is making a difference. It will be time well spent.

Determine How You Will Thank Donors
Spread the Christmas spirit to your donors when they provide you with a year-end donation. A good initial step is to personally thank your donors on your social media pages such as Facebook and Twitter. You could single out a random recipient, or if you prefer, the messages could be more general. Similar messages can also be posted on your parish’s website and in your parish’s bulletin thanking donors and providing a status update on how much has been raised so far. When posting to social media or to your website, also remind people who haven’t donated that it’s never too late to donate.

For those donors who use text giving to make a donation to your parish, send them a personal message thanking them for their general donation. For those donors to call in or mail in a donation, call them on the phone or leave them a voicemail thanking them for their donation and wishing them a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. A personal thank you will go a long way in showing your donors that you value and appreciate their generosity.

In our next year-end giving guide post, we will look at some best practices for your parish, so check back soon. To discuss your parish’s eGiving program with us, please contact our sales team at 866-507-8757 or sales@faithdirect.net.

Categories:General

Year-End Giving: The Step-by-Step Guide for Parishes

Categories: General

Is your parish ready for year-end giving?

Throughout the year, mobile giving has increased in importance for parishes. During the past year, donations made on mobile devices has increased by 205% and 25% of all donations are now made on mobile devices. The end of the year is the biggest opportunity for Catholic churches to raise money, during this season, Faith Direct can have an even greater impact for your parish.

During the month of December parishes typically receive 30% of their annual donations. For example, on December 31, 2017, the peak time for donations to be made was between 12:00 – 7:00 PM ET and parishes overall processed twice as many donations that month as they did in November 2017.

Clearly, it’s important for your donors that they have an opportunity to give back at the end of the year, but have you ever wondered what’s really motivating your donors to give?

Some people might donate to your parish simply because want to make a difference. Others might want to feel connected to something positive during the Christmas season or perhaps they are strictly looking to take advantage of tax deductions. Whatever the reason, your donors will want to give to your parish at the end of the year. Is your parish doing everything it can to reach them and encourage donations?

Important Year-End Giving Statistics Every Parish Should Know

30%
of all annual donations occur in December

10%
of all annual donations occur on the last 3 days of the year

To assist your parish in this important task, Faith Direct has created a year-end giving fundraising campaign guide that will help you maximize donations during the time of year that your donors are most likely to give. We look forward to sharing this with you in the weeks to come. To discuss your parish’s giving program, contact our sales team at 866-507-8757 or sales@faithdirect.net.

Categories:General

Three Benefits of Online Event Registrations: Is Your Parish Missing Out?

Categories: General, Videos

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:

Flexibility

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.”

Adaptability

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.”

Convenience

“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.

Categories:General, Videos

Faith Direct in the News: “A win-win for the parish and the parishioner…”

Categories: General, Press

Faith Direct is the focus of an in-depth article on church eGiving written by Josephine von Dohlen of Catholic News Service and featured by Catholic news outlets including Crux, CatholicPhilly.com and PittsburghCatholic.org.

As Faith Direct President Brian Walsh says in the article, eGiving is “such a win-win for the parish and the parishioner once they enroll in the program because it’s meeting parishioners where they are today.”

The article highlights parish-level success stories, including a pilot program in Oklahoma:

Peter de Keratry is the executive director of stewardship and development for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. In a trial program, his department offered parishes one year of funding for the use of an online giving program.
“My intention is to get our parishes to wake up to the reality of the 21st century,” de Keratry said in an interview with CNS.
Nineteen parishes in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City began using Faith Direct through the archdiocese’s funding program.
“We already have 14 parishes well past their first-year goals, and we’ve only been at it for five months,” de Keratry said. “So it is working.”

You can read the full article here. To learn how Faith Direct’s game-changing eGiving strategies can help grow your parish offertory and expand your ministries, contact us toll-free at 866-507-8757 or email at info@faithdirect.net.

Categories:General, Press

Faith Direct is in the News!

Categories: Press

In a front-page article on June 15 focused on charities’ increasing use of online giving, Emma Ayers of The Washington Times highlights Faith Direct’s leadership in this important field:

Brian Walsh, CEO and founder of Faith Direct, got creative with his organization since its inception about 10 years ago, and has ever since been collaborating with Catholic parishes across the nation to help their members easily give online…

Mr. Walsh’s game-changing business recently surpassed $1 billion in processed donations, and is typically named as the No. 1 company of its kind in the Catholic sector. “As of the month of May, we have a 90 percent approval rating by our users,” Mr. Walsh told The Washington Times. “Ultimately [automatic withdrawals] makes for a more stable church or nonprofit, just because of the consistency.”

Mr. Walsh says the means of giving for the church are completely different today than they were even 10 years ago. “We have over 143,000 users who are, largely, over 60 years old,” said Mr. Walsh. “You ask them about check writing, most of them are not doing it at all anymore.”

You can read the full article here. To learn how Faith Direct’s game-changing eGiving strategies can help grow your parish offertory and expand your ministries, contact us toll-free at 866-507-8757 or email at info@faithdirect.net.

Categories:Press
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