By Chaeli Ackerman
Church Management Software (ChMS) companies provide a lot of really great resources for churches, from managing volunteers and child check-ins to contribution reporting and tracking small groups. We rally behind any technology that furthers the Kingdom and makes life easier for administrators.
Most ChMS also provide their churches with an online and text giving option. When it comes to giving, church leaders and administrators often opt for whatever’s included in their ChMS because it’s usually bundled in the cost and doesn’t require an additional account.
That makes sense! The only problem is that some ChMS giving options don’t usually serve churches the best they could.
Before you default to the giving option provided by your ChMS, make sure you ask these three questions.
1. Is it simple or is it clunky?
If there’s one thing your digital giving platform should be, it’s simple. When you break down barriers to giving, more people give. Your givers should always be just one click or one text away from giving.
As you’re researching digital giving platforms, count the number of steps it takes for a giver to complete his gift. If it’s more than three, you run the risk of gift completion rates significantly dropping—that means fewer people will actually follow through on their gift!
2. What’s the primary function of this company?
Church management software is awesome. It allows churches to do so many things that would otherwise be really time intensive.
It’s easy to assume that because your ChMS is an amazing tool for scheduling volunteers or maintaining a database of attendance, it’ll be great for giving, too.
The only problem is that it takes a lot of time, attention, and resources to build a truly useful giving platform, one that actually encourages people to give.
Often, ChMS offer digital giving as an add-on, but because it’s not in their wheelhouse, their giving platforms tend to be clunky for givers. When it comes to something as important as your church’s giving, make sure you’re not settling for the default.
3. Will this giving platform provide me resources, ideas, and examples of how to engage my givers on an ongoing basis?
One of the most important factors to consider when you’re choosing a digital giving provider is whether you’ll have the resources you need to share this new way to give with your church.
You could have the easiest, most intuitive giving option, but if you don’t know how to help your congregation use it, their gifts will go ungiven.
Before you decide whether the giving options provided by your Church Management Software are your best bet, make sure to ask these questions:
- Does this company understand how important first and lasting impressions are? Can I customize the text and online giving pages so they look and feel like our church’s brand?
- Do they provide customized rollout materials to aid pastors and church teams to communicate how to give consistently and clearly?
- If questions arise, is there a customer support team available to answer them?
- Is their text giving integrated with online giving so givers have only one digital giving account?
- With my ChMS, can I easily look at my deposit reports to reconcile bank accounts?
- Are all gifts pushed through to our bank account at the same time? (This is a big make it or break it for admins!)
Reasons You Should Switch Your Digital Giving Platform
Let’s be honest. It’s 2019, and your church more than likely has some form of digital giving solution in place.
It seems like every church software company is now offering digital giving in one way or another. With so many options out there, are you sure your current provider is the right one?
Here are five reasons why you should consider switching your digital giving provider:
Just because your solution offers a $0/month subscription fee doesn’t mean it’s the least expensive. Processing fees are what really add up over time.
Double-check your current processing fee rate. If it’s over 3 percent per gift, you’re paying too much. If your ChMS provides giving, is it included at an additional cost?
(Another option to look into is tiered processing rates, meaning the more gifts given, the lower your processing rate. This can be an awesome way to encourage higher giving participation and save a ton of money.)
Is your platform built to encourage and inspire new givers to participate in giving? Is it simple to use?
Do you hear frequent comments from your givers about how much they love the system? Or, are there more often complaints over how difficult it is to use?
Has giving increased since introducing the platform to your congregation, or has it stayed the same?
These are some key indicators that will help you determine whether your current solution is serving you well.
Digital giving should always be user-friendly and inspire new people to start giving to your church, not just shift existing giving from cash and check to digital.
You may save money on lower processing fees, but losing time and effort trying to accurately account for all that giving is part of the top-line impact you need to consider.
Are your financial admins getting the reporting they need from your platform? Is the dashboard simple enough to navigate? Does it integrate with your Church Management Software?
We recommend having a sit down with your team to discuss the simplicity of your current provider.
Features, features, features
More features don’t always make a better product, but there are definitely some key features you should be able to check off in your digital giving provider:
- Unified Text and Online Giving (at no additional cost)
- Recurring giving and bank giving (ACH)
- Unlimited designations
- Giver account access
- Automatic ChMS Integration
A platform that’s dedicated to serving your church long after signup
Does your current platform truly exist to serve the church? Is the support team always available to answer your questions and concerns? Do you have a success coach ready to help you get the very most out of your platform and inspire giving participation?
Chaeli Ackerman is in church development for Kindrid, which provides tools that grow your church and ignite giving, www.kindrid.com.