Key Questions to Ask About Electronic Giving
Before purchasing software or equipment for electronic giving, explore these key questions with your church leaders:
1. How can we make it easy for our people to give?
Find out the various ways that current church participants pay their bills and donate electronically. Discover how most people in the group you want to attract do their cashless purchasing and giving. This research will lead you to see the cashless avenues for giving that your church wants to make available. The answer to this question will vary across churches, depending on the demographics of the congregation.
NOTE: Using credit cards for giving is a sensitive area for some individuals. Be sure to understand the feelings of your congregation on this specific topic.
2. What is the best hardware for us?
Some churches may want to have iPad kiosks, apps for smart phones, or kiosks, or a combination of these. Determine in what order you want to pursue these approaches.
3. How can we work with the least number of companies for various ultimate purposes?
Eventually you may want to be able to receive event registrations and electronic contributionsthrough the same channels. Or you may decide to set up a designated personal computer for registrations, and keep the giving vehicle restricted to that use alone. Be sure to think broadly enough so you don't have to move data and service providers multiple times.
4. What is the interface between whatever we are buying and whatever we currently have?
If the electronic data requires increased personal labor on the part of your church staff to process and summarize transactions, it defeats the purpose of streamlining administrative procedures. Look for ways to interface the electronic giving process with your current contributions software. Enhance internal controls related to reconciliations between systems and bank statements to ensure that the automation is working properly.
5. How much do the various modules and pieces of equipment cost?
A giving kiosk with the ability to swipe a credit card can cost $5,000 or more. Would licensing an app for smart phones or purchasing an iPad kiosk for $800 make more sense? Choose what you can afford in the church budget, then develop a wish list for a Miracle Sunday or to ask individuals for second-mile gifts. Put the different pieces on a timeline according to your members' priorities.
After you’ve answered these questions about electronic giving, you should have enough information to document how you would like to transform your process. Create a spreadsheet that lists (down the left side) the different ways people give currently. Down the right side, list various electronic ways you would like people to be able to give. This could include changes in software and/or hardware. Include the age group or constituency whom you are committed to reaching as a church. Then list out and determine priorities for the steps you could take to move from the left to the right side of the page.