Episode 2 | Why Communications Staff Need to Care About Online Giving

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Join us, hosts Katie Allred and Josh Taylor, as we discuss why communications staff need to care about online giving software. The communications staff generally doesn’t have a say in what financial software the church uses, but they should. In this podcast, we’re discussing the benefits of using giving software, text to give, and more. BONUS: Why you should get over the processing fee.

Our friends at Kindrid are being crazy generous. If you Tweet @_Kindrid and tell them why you need a church app, they’ll make sure you get one of those too. Did you hear that? Online giving AND a church app—FREE. Just tweet @_Kindrid and tell them why you need a church app.

For more information, be sure to click here! http://bit.ly/2GIA1JH


Katie Allred:                 Welcome to the Church Communications Podcast. The podcast that celebrates church communicators that are around the world. Our podcast offers practical advice for your church communication strategy needs and this podcast is brought to you by Katie Allred and Josh Taylor of churchcommunications.com

Josh Taylor:                  Hey, welcome to the Church Communications podcast. I’m Josh Taylor and I’m here with Katie Allred.

Katie Allred:                 What’s up.

Josh Taylor:                  How are you today Katie?

Katie Allred:                 I’m hanging in there, how are you doing?

Josh Taylor:                  I’m good, I’m great. We are talking about online giving and why churches should care about the software that they use. Especially communications staff, and really church staff in general because a lot of churches don’t have a communications staff. So, their staff should really care about the software they’re using.

Katie Allred:                 But if you’re a pastor, aren’t you communications staff?

Josh Taylor:                  Sure.

Katie Allred:                 You’re the only communicator. The pastor is the number one church communicator.

Josh Taylor:                  There he is.

Katie Allred:                 But then, also other people. So, let’s just go right into it you know?

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah, so there’s a lot of benefits for different online giving software and that’s a lot of software that are out there and some of them offer a lot of different features. Some of them have features that other’s don’t have and vice versa.

Katie Allred:                 So what should you pick?

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah, you should really figure out what your church needs? What are the needs of your staff?

Katie Allred:                 Right, what do you want? Just like Ryan Gosling in the Notebook, what do you want?

Josh Taylor:                  You’re going to pay either way, so don’t look for the one that’s free because.

Katie Allred:                 That’s not going to happen.

Josh Taylor:                  I don’t think it exists, but there is worthwhile investments and then there are some things that are probably a waste of your time and money. We’re going to talk to you about why you should care about what software you’re using and figure out which one is the best one for you.

Katie Allred:                 Okay. What do you think the benefits are of using online software?

Josh Taylor:                  We live in a here and now culture. So we want to do things instantly. Most people don’t carry their checkbooks around.

Katie Allred:                 Right, or cash.

Josh Taylor:                  Most people don’t carry cash around. So they’ve got their credit cards. Depending on how you feel about credit card kiosks in the lobby, some people are weird about it, I might be one of those people, but I don’t judge anybody that does, but I do think.

Katie Allred:                 I don’t know, I’m a fan of the kiosk in the lobby. I used it.

Josh Taylor:                  There you go, that’s cool. I’ve actually never seen one at a church that I visited before.

Katie Allred:                 Oh really?

Josh Taylor:                  No, but we do have ways that we can allow people to give online instantly in our churches through text to give, and through online portals.

Katie Allred:                 Or just an online portal, yeah.

Josh Taylor:                  Through your website. That’s a great benefit. People want to do it there and now. They’re not carrying their checkbooks or cash around and oftentimes they may feel moved by a message or just the spirit is leading them to give in that moment and it’s a great opportunity for them to be able to do that and respond immediately to that. Maybe there’s a challenge in your church that your pastor or your staff give to the congregation and I think you could see a better return if you can allow people to respond to that challenge immediately.

Katie Allred:                 Yeah. It’s pretty cool. Kindred is obviously sponsoring this podcast. Obviously they’re a giving solution, but they gave us some really neat stats I just wanted to share with you all. So, they said, this is from Kindred, a typical church’s annual budget is equal to their average weekly attendance multiplied by 1400. So on average, Kindred finds that churches only pay between 1.5% and 2.8% on all fees on their digital giving. I think the biggest question that churches have is, or the biggest thing that stops them from using an online giving provider is the payment processing fee. I think we just have to get over it. Don’t you?

Josh Taylor:                  That’s the biggest pushback that I get. Even when we were implementing it into the church, I had some pushback from some of our leadership because you would even look at our budget after a few years of using it and they would see how much we were spending in online giving fees and it was a good chunk of change. It was thousands of dollars that we were spending on it, but the reality and the question that we had to ask is, how much would we not have budget wise if we did not allow people to do that? People are taking advantage of that, they have it automatically drafted out of their account. It’s just a lot more convenient for folks. I see the online giving fees as an investment for your budget, because you’re going to see a return on it.

Katie Allred:                 Almost all churches find that their giving increases once they start using an online giving provider.

Josh Taylor:                  We live in a world of convenience. That makes it so much more convenient and the reality is again, people are not carrying their cash and checkbooks around.

Katie Allred:                 Right, so they’re not giving in the bucket or the donation plate as much. And we’re not putting a slicer on the donation plate as we pass by.

Josh Taylor:                  That will happen soon.

Katie Allred:                 No, I’m sure that people have already invented that.

Josh Taylor:                  We’re going to start passing iPads around with the square thing on it.

Katie Allred:                 It doesn’t make sense. I already have Apple Pay on my phone, why can’t I just give automatically from that, right?

Josh Taylor:                  We need a reason to buy iPads.

Katie Allred:                 Right. We need 200 iPads for every row in the church.

Josh Taylor:                  That’s right.

Katie Allred:                 No, that’s not a good reason to donate to your church. Okay, so back to the stats here.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah, these are really interesting.

Katie Allred:                 Okay, so 45% of all giving happens digitally. All giving, 45%, nearly half of it, happens online.

Josh Taylor:                  Imagine this. You’ve got a $1 million, which is probably the average size church in this country. A $1 million budget, $450000 are given digitally to your budget.

Katie Allred:                 Yeah, which is wild.

Josh Taylor:                  That means people are using your online giving for $450000 of your budget.

Katie Allred:                 It’s almost like, for the longest time most websites were viewed on a desktop and now they’re viewed mobile, right. So most users are viewing your website mobile. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your website is mobile friendly. It’s the same thing now with giving. Instead of I’m reaching for cash in my wallet, I’m instead of reaching for my phone to pay you.

Josh Taylor:                  Yep.

Katie Allred:                 Want a giving solution that inspires generosity without blowing through your budget? Kindred is offering a totally free, zero dollar per month, online giving account for our Church Communications listeners. That’s right, you get online giving for free.

Josh Taylor:                  This is a special offer, so act fast. Go to kindred.com/churchcommunications to join. That’s K-I-N-D-R-E-D.com/chuchcommunications and you can join there.

Katie Allred:                 Okay, Kindred believes generosity is one of the most powerful witnesses to the gospel. It transforms communities. We believe that too. That’s why they created this deal. They make it affordable for you to equip 100% of your church to participate in your vision.

Josh Taylor:                  Remember this offer won’t last long, so go to kindred.com/chuchcommunications and save thousands with an exclusive deal.

Katie Allred:                 We can’t wait.

Katie Allred:                 So, the next one is 22% of digital giving is bank giving. So ACH payment.

Josh Taylor:                  This is important too because one, usually the processing fees are cheaper for ACH giving.

Katie Allred:                 Sometimes free.

Josh Taylor:                  And people like to have it drafted out of their bank account automatically every month so they don’t have to think about it. They don’t have to remember to do it, which is really great for you because that’s oftentimes giving that you can really count on to be there every month.

Katie Allred:                 It says 55% of digital giving comes in online. So 55% of digital giving comes in via your web portal.

Josh Taylor:                  That’s interesting.

Katie Allred:                 Through your website. Okay. So, if people aren’t going to the giving page on your website, I think that tells you that something is going on with the church as whole almost.

Josh Taylor:                  A lot of times, their not doing it because they can’t find the giving button on your website.

Katie Allred:                 Where is it? Is it in your top menu?

Josh Taylor:                  A significant part of your top menu, make it very obvious to find. Giving, donate, donate now, whatever it might be. Honestly, when we finally did that people came to me and actually said to me, thank you for making that button so much easier to find because we were always trying to figure out where the Give Now button was.

Katie Allred:                 Yeah, those are the two call to actions, I think for a church website. I think one is time and directions. I’m new here, I need times and directions. Or two, I am not new here, I am a congregant and I want to give.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah.

Katie Allred:                 I almost feel like those two things are the most important thing about a church website.

Josh Taylor:                  Most of your congregants are going to your website because they want to give, maybe to watch a sermon or something like that, but most of the time they’re going to give and then your new people are coming because they need to figure out what to do when they visit you Sunday.

Katie Allred:                 Or even give and sign up for an event, most of these also, you know payment processors online also they do event registration. So, that’s also a big part of these. It says 45% of digital giving comes in via text. When you’re making up your mind about whether or not, what giving platform I should go with, you might really want to consider, does this giving platform have text to give? Where you get a phone number of some sort. You text a keyword and you can set up campaigns for giving, for specific things.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah, you can designate gifts easily that way through keywords. This is a really great thing to do if you’re going to have an immediate call to action. Maybe you’re raising money for, you’re doing a capital campaign or something like that. You guys can give right now. I want to challenge you guys to pull out your phones right now and text this keyword to this number and give what you can.

Katie Allred:                 Yeah.

Josh Taylor:                  It’s a great call to action.

Katie Allred:                 Okay, so on average a person gives $280 a month. So the average church member gives $280 a month. It says $126 is the average gift by text. So if you’re not using the text giving, you’re missing out on that. And then $237 is the average gift online. So twice of a text gift. Just because I don’t even trust text to give, honestly, myself. I always wonder where it’s coming from. It is going to take me to web portal at the end of it, or is it going to come from my Verizon Wireless bill? It doesn’t do that. Most of the time, what I’ve found when I worked at the church I was working at previously, it redirected you to a web portal.

Josh Taylor:                  That’s right, yeah.

Katie Allred:                 I think most of them end up doing that. But it’s still, to me it’s kind of confusing. I get where people are more hesitant to give as much just because they’re confused. If I say $100, are you charging $100 to Verizon Wireless? Or are you redirecting and then by the time it’s redirecting me to a web portal, I’m like I guess I could have given more, but I’m confused.

Josh Taylor:                  Like your tithe ends up on your Verizon bill.

Katie Allred:                 Right, so maybe you should explain that when you do have texted giving. Maybe just explain it a little bit.

Josh Taylor:                  Yeah, it’s going to send you back a link to use.

Katie Allred:                 It’s going to send you a link, it’s going to be super easy. Those kinds of things. I think that would be super helpful. The last fact is 57% of online giving happens on a phone.

Josh Taylor:                  That makes sense because most people are looking at our websites on their phones and so you need to make sure whatever software that you’re using, that their portal is mobile friendly and it’s very easy to see. A lot of us are using maybe a plug in from Paypal or something like that and they have mobile friendly software even for that. But, we’ll often embed the wrong code and it doesn’t respond to mobile. So make sure whatever software you’re using, make sure it’s mobile friendly because a lot of giving is happening on the phone. In fact, it looks like a good bit of giving is happening from people’s phones.

Katie Allred:                 Yeah.

Josh Taylor:                  One of the other reasons why I always found our software important for giving is, for me, I was executive pastor and I was often helping with counting the money every week and so, on Monday mornings we would sit down and we would count what was given in the JOY box. Obviously we didn’t have to do whatever was given online.

Katie Allred:                 The JOY box.

Josh Taylor:                  That’s what we called it. We had boxes set up, we didn’t pass the offering plate. I was able to manually input cash gifts and check gifts into that same portal. So I had all of the giving in one place, all of our online giving. I didn’t have to worry about it, it was already there and then I could put in those manual gifts every week into there, and be able to really just pull up reports immediately of what our giving looks like.

Katie Allred:                 Something too, that I love about online giving software is the ability to generate those receipts automatically. I think that’s going to be extremely important. Just because how important it is just to communicate to your people we saw that and we see you and we appreciate you.

Josh Taylor:                  Absolutely. We’re going to be talking more about that this season, because that is a great way to keep people engaged with investing in your community. Cool. You should look into what online giving software you’re using and you should care. Do your research. Figure out what is the biggest needs for your church and your staff. Maybe you’re going to be the person that’s going to be dealing with all of it, so figure out what it is that’s important to you. Do your research.

Katie Allred:                 Leave us a comment below with who you’re using. Who is your provider and what do you like best about them? We’d love to find out. Leave us a comment. Tag them, maybe even tag your person, your support person at that company. We’d love to give them some support and would love to hear from you and you can go to our Church Communications Facebook group. You can find our Facebook page. You can go to churchcommunications.com just to learn more and we’re so glad you were here with us today. Leave us a five star review on iTunes if you enjoyed it. Thanks for joining us.

Josh Taylor:                  Bye.

Katie Allred:                 Our friends at Kindred are being crazy generous. If you tweet @_kindred, again that is at underscore K-I-N-D-R-E-D, underscore kindred and tell them why you need a church app, they’ll make sure you get one of those too, for free. Did you hear that? Online giving and a church app for free. Just tweet @_kindred and tell them why you need a church app. Go and do it now, what are you waiting for?

Josh Taylor:                  Hey, thanks for listening to the Church Communications podcast with Katie Allred and myself, Josh Taylor. If you like our show and want to know more about us, check out our website, churchcommunications.com. You can also join us on our Facebook group, just search for Church Communications on Facebook and we’d love for you to leave a five star review on iTunes.


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