Monday, August 20, 2018

Hey Fletch … Our church is considering starting online giving. What are the kinds of things that we should be looking for?

DRF—From a user’s perspective, the number one thing for me in an online giving platform is ease of use. If I’m a new online donor, I want a system that works easily for me. Along with that is security. I want to know that the donation processing is secure and that my donation data is secure. Brad Leeper, President of Generis, and I were talking about online giving recently. Let me ask him to share his thoughts.

Brad—Your question highlights four important values an XP should consider and execute for their church. 

First—Digital giving is an option that many people prefer. As wise leaders, we should make giving as easy as possible. Dealing with the issue of giving and the heart is demanding enough, so eliminating barriers to giving is something we have to incorporate into our generosity culture. A target we suggest for our clients and frequently see is at least 60% of giving coming from channels other than the actual worship experience. Financial leaders tend to balk at the fees built into digital giving. An XP will need to concede these fees as a market reality. There is good news: the market seems to be forcing fees to lower levels. 

Second—There is consolidation going on in the space. Be alert as to who stands behind a platform, such as if the owner is providing service and if the tool is constantly undergoing improvements. Even with consolidation in the space, new tools are frequently emerging into the market. 

Third—Integration with your church data base and accounting are important to understand, making sure is workable in your current configuration. Do consider that the primary goal here is to increase giving by making the process easier and more seamless to how people financially do life. If a better giving app increases your giving, then needing a few additional steps internally is well worth those steps. I’d rather have $5,000 a month in giving with an extra few steps than $800 a month in giving with the value being what is easiest internally. 

Fourth—An app is not a magic solution to instantly increase giving. Each  platform will provide you with a process to announce and to integrate the tool into your setting. Successful installations, however, take far more time and emphasis to normalize and increase giving through the tool. The additional work is well worth it because an app will elevate giving over time with much of that giving chosen on a recurring basis by the giver.