Is your church ready for a weekend snowstorm?
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.
5 eGiving Questions for 2016
Consider this: Two members of your church make their offertory gifts via eGiving. One gives $25, while the other gives $60. With a transaction-based eGiving provider, you would actually be required to pay more for the larger gift – even though the eGiving company isn’t really doing more work for that gift.
As your church welcomes 2016, you should resolve to not overpay 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 a period 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 church is an effective instrument of God’s work. Why should any eGiving firm get to share in this recognition by being paid more?
- Do you think that members of your church would be happy with the fact that, the more generous they are, the more money your 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 to month?
- Is the fee your church pays to your eGiving provider predetermined month to month – 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 churches?
As you review your eGiving program in 2016, make sure that your church 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 church family gives more.
a Minute for Giving Tuesday…
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!
Are You Ready for Year-End Giving?
Starting with #GivingTuesday and rolling through New Year’s Eve, December is a critical month for your church’s ministries. It is estimated that charities, on average, receive 40% of their annual contributions in the final weeks of the year – and especially for church members, Christmas is the season of giving.
Faith Direct can share that:
- Over half of year-end donations were made in the last week of the year.
- 20% of these year-end gifts made on December 31.
- The average year-end donation amount was $286.
Is your church ready to accept this generosity?
There are three questions you should ask yourself as church members prepare to make their year-end gifts:
- Does my church offer flexibility in giving? Church offices aren’t always open when people feel inspired to give – especially during holidays, when offices could have limited hours. Make sure you have a Giving program that allows parishioners to give what they want, when they want, whenever they are inspired by a specific ministry or need.
- Does our church let people choose the best way to give? Not every parishioner wants to drop a check off at the church. With a strong eGiving program you can give users multiple ways to make their gift: whether it’s online, by paper reply, over the phone, or with a smartphone app – and whether they want to use a checking account or credit card.
- Do you empower church members to give with confidence? Donors making last-minute offerings (especially large gifts) want to be sure their gift is handled properly, securely and attributed to the appropriate tax year.
Before the year-end rush hits, make sure you have an eGiving program that simplifies donations for your parishioners, so they are able to give their full support to your important ministries.
International Catholic Stewardship Conference
Faith Direct is happy to be an exhibitor at the International Catholic Stewardship Conference in Chicago, IL.
In addition, Faith Direct’s President, Brian Walsh, will be leading Session 13 on Friday, October 23rd at 11:00am:
Social Media and Apps: Essential Tools to Enhance Your eGiving and Events Ministries
It’s not enough for a parish to just have an eGiving program – parishioners need to know about it. Beyond traditional promotional methods like direct mail and email, learn how “new” essential tools like Facebook and Apps can play a critical role in building your eGiving participation. Hear from an experienced eGiving expert on practical social media strategies your church can use to raise awareness of your eGiving program. Parish examples that have encouraged church families to sign up for their stewardship support and events registration will be shared.
To learn more about the International Catholic Stewardship Conference and the wonderful work being done by The International Catholic Stewardship Council, visit their website here – catholicstewardship.
Has your eGiving program flatlined?
eGiving is a great way to increase your offertory and expand your church ministries – but only if your program is designed to grow stronger, year after year.
Here’s what an analysis of growth patterns in Faith Direct church clients tells us:
- In your program’s second year, the number of eGivers should increase by 60%.
- Year 3-6 program growth should be another 20%.
- The result? A 5-year combined growth rate of 246%!
Has your eGiving flatlined?
If your church isn’t experiencing similar growth, remember these three strategies to enhance your program and keep it growing:
- INCREASE your communications: Through our full-service program, Faith Direct churches spread the news about eGiving via annual letters and email campaigns, plus regular bulletin announcements as well as online and social media posts. The more people know about the benefits of eGiving, the more likely they are to sign up.
- EXPAND how people can give: You need to make sure your eGiving program allows your church families to give when they want and how they want. With Faith Direct, this means people can sign up online or with paper forms, and they can use our smartphone app to increase their giving or make one-time gifts to the church when they feel inspired.
- STRENGTHEN your stewardship message: Don’t forget to include your eGiving program in annual stewardship drives. Faith Direct churches emphasize that eGiving helps conserve resources, and also provides a steady monthly income to sustain church ministries. eGiving is great stewardship!
Pope Francis and the Environmental Impact of eGiving
“There is a nobility in the duty to care for creation through little daily actions…”
Pope Francis, Laudato Si – On Care for Our Common Home
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.
Diocesan Fiscal Management Conference
Faith Direct is happy to be an exhibitor at the Diocesan Fiscal Management Annual Conference in Atlanta, GA.
To learn more about the Diocesan Fiscal Management Conference, visit their website here – dfmconf.org/.
There’s More to eGiving than Offertory
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…
For your program to be truly powerful, it must enable church members to give not only their traditional weekly offertory, but also second appeals and one-time gifts.
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.
eGiving Apps – Why They Matter, and What They Should Do
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.