You have likely seen and read articles about how online giving helps increase. It provides methods that more and more people are accustomed to—or getting accustomed to using. Since the pandemic began, churches offering online services and limited in-person attendance have been seeking solutions to keep the church doors open.
Providing donors more options helps this happen. But once an online donations provider is chosen, how simple is it for money counters and church administrators to handle online giving income?
Hopefully, your church management system has some direct integration either via a downloadable import file or possibly even via direct import from the provider into your church management or financial software.
Accepting electronic giving will require some extra effort, and there will be a learning curve for staff members initially, but an increasing number of churches are realizing the benefit of adding an additional method for donors to give.
One online giving provider suggests that eGiving increased donations for churches by an average of 26 percent. But beyond just Sunday Worship giving, electronic giving allows members to pay for courses, church daycare, and church events. What church wouldn’t use an increase in giving?
Online giving makes it easier for the church to collect money from those who might not otherwise give, such as shut-ins and teens. Offering an easy means of giving to people via smartphones adds a new level of convenience not previously known. eGiving is a great way to help the church stay afloat during these difficult times.
Let’s suppose that your church has decided to move forward with accepting online giving to members and church supporters. Here are 10 common operational questions with answers about eGiving that help summarize the integration of eGiving into daily internal activities.
- Will I need help from an IT person to get started?
Electronic giving is incredibly easy to learn, even for non-tech savvy users. The entire set-up process should be simple, and support should be just a phone call away.
- How does the adoption of eGiving affect daily operations?
Electronic giving eliminates hours of manual posting. You will quickly come to enjoy how an eGiving option streamlines the tedious and error-prone weekly task of processing contributions. Another benefit is the reduction in the amount of cash and checks and sensitive information that is handled and stored in the church office.
- What kind of training and support will I need?
Well-designed eGiving programs are user-friendly and require minimal coaching and instruction. However, like any new piece of software, it’s important to have responsive support services to answer questions. Choose a donation processor that offers complimentary one-on-one telephone training and ongoing support. Support should be available for the life of the relationship, not just the first few weeks.
- How will I transfer member data into the eGiving solution?
If this is your first time implementing eGiving, then there is no transfer of existing data. The majority of members will choose to set up donations via the online giving page. Some members may prefer to complete a paper authorization form. Using the payment information on the form, you’ll simply enter it into the admin portal.
- Our church just signed up for eGiving. How do I promote it to members?
The answer is to use every means possible! Here are the communication strategies that set you up for success: ask your pastor or rector to make an announcement at services and to talk to groups within your organization, insert eGiving messages in the weekly bulletin, send announcements via email and direct mail. Put eGiving cards in pews.
- How does eGiving operate for members?
Members can manage their own donation activity with little or no staff assistance; sensitive banking information is not handled or stored in the church office; and staff members only have access to the information required to perform their jobs.
- Is it a good idea to survey members to see if they are interested in electronic giving?
The most accurate way to measure interest in electronic giving is to simply roll it out. Since there is minimal upfront investment and no long-term contract, there is virtually no risk.
- Are reporting capabilities simple and straightforward?
Daily reporting should be smooth and easy with the right eGiving solutions. Flexibility is essential. For example, you should be able to generate reports based on data range, payment type and by member. Don’t hesitate to request sample reports.
- Are there any software or hardware requirements?
Most eGiving solutions require no additional software or hardware purchases. Many electronic giving solutions are easily managed from any Internet-connected computer and integrate with most church management software.
- What is the admin portal like?
An admin portal should make it a breeze to manage all of your payment needs. It is like a flexible hub where payments are entered, reports are generated and resources are downloaded.
Setting It All Into Motion
So, yes, there will definitely be new steps and a discovery process in how to make online donations work best for your church and, at the same time, efficiently for your church administration. Hopefully, the combination of your eGiving provider and your church management software allow a seamless integration with import and reporting functions. But the benefit of online donations has been consistently worth the time investment for churches in terms of maintaining, or even increasing, donor income.
Adapted from the Vanco article Top 10 Operational Questions About eGiving
About Church Windows Management Software: Church Windows is powerful and flexible yet user-friendly church management software from a well-established leader in the industry. Choose the complete integrated package of Membership, Scheduler, Donations, Accounting and Payroll modules, or begin with one portion and add additional modules later. In addition to the experienced toll-free and online support, they offer free online training classes. Find out why more than 13,000 churches see things clearly through Church Windows Software, www.churchwindows.com.
About Vanco: Whether you’re just getting started with online giving, expanding your virtual ministry, or need access to a full church management solution, Vanco can help you chart the path that fits your unique needs. Join the 25,000+ churches that trust Vanco to build community, increase members’ generosity, and achieve their missions. They offer an engaging giving experience, online worship with built-in eGiving, and dozens of integrations with church management solutions, www.vancopayments.com.