Giving Platforms for Churches


Joanna: Facebook Friday. We want to try something new where we're going on Facebook to see what the Communications and Media church world is talking about this week. And we want to be part of the conversation and we want to respond to it. So today we're looking at a conversation around giving platforms we're seeing a ton of chatter on Facebook platforms Facebook groups for churches around how we give money and the fees associated with it.

James: A very cool thing I saw on a bunch of the Facebook groups this week Jo was this website called created by a guy named Casey. And essentially what it is is he created and programmed this website to be able to compare all the giving platforms for churches and what you can do as you can input your own church's numbers. And it's going to spit out the full cost of what your church would be paying in fees and not just your church but also the people giving because that's important because there's a lot of companies that try to hide what their fees are by making people who are giving pay the fees for you. So what does website does really well it shows you what you should probably be leaning towards and what companies probably are best for your church's needs.

Joanna: Yeah it's an interesting conversation because I think all of us or most of us at this point have familiarity with giving online to all kinds of things or buying things online. But maybe for churches we set something up we set it up and forget it. Where you five years ago ten years ago eight years ago we set up a giving platform and that's just the one we've always used. But this guy Casey he's got no skin in the game personally neither do we where we don't own or run or gain anything from these platforms ourselves but we just think it's cool to be out that somebody has built something where we can see an honest look at how much it's going to cost and there's these tipping points to where sometimes if you're a larger church certain giving platforms probably make more sense because of their cost structure. But if you're giving online as much less every month there's other platforms that probably would make more financial sense.

James: Yeah there's different percentages based on the amount you're giving where percentages will drop if you have a certain amount of a dollar amount that goes beyond a tier. So it is really important to know this kind of stuff so I went through it and just put in some test numbers to kind of see how the rankings would come out. And so I put out what I would think of some of the numbers related to some larger churches and what I got was a swing of either $3000 a month to up to $7500 a month. So that is a huge number differential per month that it was spitting out. And so it'll be really important for churches to know what what the platform they're using where it falls on that scale because it could essentially you could just be basically giving money away to a company. If you're really talking about a couple thousand dollars swing that adds up over a year and that can really matter for a smaller church to basically just be sending money out the door. And it's important to know if there is any inverse reactions to it. So that's some of these companies are charging the person giving a percentage.

Joanna: So rather than the church carrying it it's the giver if they give a thousand bucks it's going to charge them a service fee of 20 bucks.

James: So if you Joanna gave a thousand bucks it charges you Joanna not the church you know nineteen dollars in a service fee. So as the church you're looking at it from the point of view well okay. We didn't lose anything off the giving we didn't lose that percentage point. However you as the giver if you're max is a thousand dollars that you're going to give you're now going to adjust your giving and you're never gonna give next time 950 to account for the fee that you're going to get charged for. Now it is affecting the church so it is important to know what you've signed up for and how the money has actually been taking being taken out and from who. Because this is going to influence the choices that you're going to make going forward.

Joanna: Yeah and no matter what whether it's old school giving by you know cash or cheque or online giving there are fees and costs associated with giving. Even if it's someone giving with a 100 dollar bill or you know there are costs associated with counting that money, measuring that money, there's an accountant or somebody who works in the office who has to take that to the bank it's time it's time that they're spending. And then if it's not digital they're having to transfer all that data into a digital form and they have to give you a tax receipt at the end of the year. Even if it's saying well forget it there's fees associated with digital giving so we're just going to stick to old fashioned ways. It doesn't actually eliminate that there are costs to manage our donor base and so we just want to let people know if they haven't seen this conversation on Facebook that there's a conversation happening and we want to help you find the thing that's right for you because no matter what there's going to be some costs. But what's the right amount of cost ratio that you can carry as a church.

James: And so we're going to give you that link on our website. If you go to the website right now and check it out you'll find a link and they'll send you there and we encourage you to kind of figure out what works for you what your church's numbers are and see if the platform you're using lines up with what the current rates and prices are.