Church leaders are becoming more and more aware of the importance of mobile technology. Everywhere you look, mobile is at the center of our culture, and naturally, has become central to church technology discussion. Mobile giving, mobile engagement, mobile communication, everything is going mobile.
Of course, all this talk is for good reason as smartphone adoption has permeated around the world. Essentially every single adult walking into your church comes fully equipped with an app using, emoji sharing, social media connecting, personal shopping, computer in hand.
The evidence is clear, but that doesn’t mean every question has been answered. That’s why I’ve to put together a few answers to common questions asked by church leaders with the help of my friends over at Tithe.ly, an expert on mobile giving. Once you’re done with these be sure to check out their full mobile giving guide!
1) We’re a smaller congregation. Will mobile giving be useful for us and worth the effort?
If you’re a small church it’s very likely that every person on staff wears multiple hats. Preaching in service, organizing events, mobilizing volunteers, ministering to people, teaching the Bible, and so so much more. Mobile giving can make your life easier and save your staff time as it reduces the amount of time your staff or volunteers spend counting, recording, reconciling, and depositing funds. Look for a vendor who offers the capability to record cash and checks in the same administration tool as credit/debit cards. By getting digital and cash/check giving, all recorded into one place you make it simple to update your accounting system as well as produce end of year tax statements.
2) Aren’t we losing money in processing fees that we would otherwise retain if we stayed with cash and check gifts?
A good mobile giving solution isn’t free, but it will also increase giving revenue as well as save administrative costs. If people give more consistently due to mobile giving being more convenient and accessible, your church will do better financially. Giving is almost guaranteed to grow by allowing people to give whether they’re physically in church or away as well as making it simple for people to set up auto recurring giving. Also, some mobile fundraising apps provide the option for givers to cover the fees when they give. A handy little feature that offsets the fees you pay. As you look at the cost structure and fees you’ll pay, look for a mobile giving provider that only charges processing fees and doesn’t add unnecessary setup or monthly fees.
3) By offering mobile giving, am I encouraging my members to go into credit card debt?
Absolutely not! Giving people options is in no way encouraging people to go into debt and controlling how people can give by only allowing them to write a check or give cash is also not helping people stay out of debt. Changed hearts and minds that have been transformed by Jesus lead to people understanding that what we have is not our own and that we are to be good stewards of the resources given to us by God.
4) What about the “older,” members of our congregation? I don’t want to alienate anyone.
Mobile giving is supposed to be additive, not a replacement for other forms of giving. As you roll out your new giving solution, it’s important to educate and remind people that they can give in the way that is most practical and comfortable for them. If they love putting a check or cash in the plate when it comes around, that’s great! You’re still going to pass the plate.
5) Will I have access to giving data?
You should be provided with an online administrative area that you can log into whenever you’d like. The admin tool should give you full reporting on each and every donation. The information provided should include the donor’s name, email, address, phone number, gift amount, gift date, and associated fees per transaction. Essentially, you should have full access, in real-time, to all your member giving data.
6) If people give through our mobile app, how will I receive the donations and how often will deposits be made?
A provider should deposit funds raised through a mobile app directly into your bank account on a schedule that meets your church’s financial needs. Be sure to check with the various mobile giving solutions you’re exploring to ensure you can get daily (every business day) or weekly (on the day of your choosing) deposits. Next, you should consider the funding period. The funding period is the time it takes from a gift being made to that gift making it into your bank account. A two business day funding period is ideal. That means funds raised on a Sunday will hit your bank account on Tuesday.
7) How long does it take to get up and running?
It should be immediate, but the real answer is that this can vary wildly depending on the vendor you’re evaluating. Some digital giving solutions allow you to be “live” immediately upon completing the online signup process with no need to worry about additional merchant processing accounts or contracts. Others require you to complete complicated paperwork to obtain another merchant processing account, and some even have you doing PCI documentation. Ideally, you’d find a solution that makes signup and go-live simple.
I hope these seven common questions and answers about mobile giving helps you move forward. I hope the answers and information help give you food for thought as you look for a mobile giving provider to partner with. If you’re looking for more information on how to evaluate and select the right solution, read this definitive guide to mobile giving for churches. I am certain you will find all the info you need to make an informed decision.