Church Management Church Money Saving Ideas church technology Growing Your Giving Base

11 Reasons to not Offer Online Giving

11 Reasons to NOT Offer Online Giving

Originally posted by Rusty Lewis at on March 2, 2011

I am often asked to support my recommendations that ministries offer technological solutions to giving. Let’s look at the flipside of the question – what happens when we don’t make it easy for our constituents to contribute financial support?

As we begin the new year in 2011, here are 11 reasons to not offer online giving:

1. You want to frustrate those who no longer use checks or carry cash. Many today, especially those under age 30, do not carry or use checks. Nor do they carry much cash. Their financial lives revolve around the use of debit and credit cards. So when offering time comes, they are frustrated, even embarrassed that they are unprepared to participate.

2. You do not want to link stories of life change to generosity. After watching a video you’ve uploaded that tells the story of a new life in Christ that occurred as a result of your church’s ministry, why not provide a link to your online giving page? Help your donors connect the dots between their generosity and the impact it is having through your ministry.

3. You would prefer people give to other non-profits who DO offer online giving. Just a reminder – there are over 1.2 million charities in the United States alone. If one is led to give and doesn’t find an easy, convenient way to give to your mission, they will find another one that does and make their gift there.

4. You do not want to tempt your donors to use credit cards. That’s great! You don’t have to. Several online giving providers offer the option of accepting debit cards without taking credit cards.

5. You do not want to pay transaction fees – while there is a small percentage fee (less than 3%) for contributions made from debit and credit cards, those fees are more than covered by the new money you will receive from donors who begin to give to your ministry now that this option is made available to them. Many invite online donors to add 2-3% to their gift to cover the transaction fees.

Know too that electronic funds transfers (EFT) and similar options a donor can select have a small $.25 – $.50 fee, but no percentage fees that credit cards charge.

You will save money in at least a couple of ways, including administrative time saved not having to manually enter gift data or processing checks each week along with occasional insufficient funds charges.

6. You want people to view giving as if they are paying bills. People can use online bill pay through their bank so we don’t need to offer online giving. Yes, they can. I pay most of my bills that way each month. But do we really want our people to view giving to God as if they are paying a bill? That truly is not the heart position from which we want our people giving.

7. You do not want to receive impulse gifts – often a donor will be led to make a gift on the spur of the moment – perhaps due to a story they’ve read on your website, or a sermon they just heard online. Maybe they just finished their morning devotional and are moved to be generous. With a link on your site to make an online gift, they can do so quickly and easily. Without an online giving option, the urge passes and the gift is lost.

8. You do not want gifts from Unique visitors to your site – the webmaster at our church tells me that our website had 12,000 UNIQUE visitors to our site in the first six months of this year. That is an incredible number. Many are accessing our pastor’s sermons weekly. An online giving portal would provide a way for those visitors, people who may never cast a shadow on our physical campus to offer generous support for the ministries of our church.

9. You do not want to receive larger gift amounts – Dave Ramsey’s organization reports that users of debit/credit cards at McDonald’s spent 47% more than those using cash. Statistics exist that people typically spend between 18 – 30% more when using a debit/credit card over cash or check. Would not the same trend hold true when giving with a debit card? Consider the Salvation Army – when they began testing electronic payment machines at their kettles in 2008, average donations jumped from $2 to $15. Big surprise…they are rolling out those payment machines in more locations this year.

10. You are not interested in receiving year-end gifts – According to Network for Good, 22% of all online giving occurs during the last two days of December! This seems to indicate that tax implications may be a bigger motivation than some believe. In Australia, where the tax year ends on June 30, there is a similar bump in online giving the last few days of June. So if a donor desires to make that last-minute tax-implication gift online and doesn’t find an option on your webpage, she will find another place to make that gift.

11. You do not need offerings on weekends when you have to cancel services. We had snow last weekend – did you? The list of cancelled worship services scrolling on the TV screen was really long. With online giving, you can offer a reminder and a link to your people reminding them to remain faithful with their giving even when they physically are unable to get to your campus.

Rusty Lewis, CFRE

Senior Generosity Strategist, Generis

Twitter: rustylewis

Rusty Lewis joined the Generis team in 2001, following a fourteen-year career raising money for schools and non-profit youth groups. With experience in education and as vice-president of a $22 million corporation, Rusty’s breadth of experience fuels his calling to serve churches and faith-based non-profits.

See Original Post Here

Church Management Church Money Saving Ideas Communication General

Church Money Saving Ideas – eNewsletters

I am adding a category to our blog for Church Money Saving Ideas.  We have visited and worked with several churches and want to use this as a platform to provide resources and inspiration to find ways for your church to minister effectively, while being good stewards of the resources available.

Our first idea is to convert your newsletter into an email newsletter.  There are several tools out there that provide very simple solutions to putting out an online newsletter, and many of them are free depending on the size of your organization.  We have been using MailChimp for our e-newsletter solutions.  I found the application to be very easy to use and the reporting features provide great feedback on the success and readership of what you send.

Why should you use an e-newsletter?

The cost savings can be big. Let’s say you send out 100 newsletters.  Even at basic bulk rate let’s estimate the cost at $0.25 per copy.  We’re up to $25.00.  Now let’s refactor in the cost of paper, printing… oh yea, and the person putting the newsletter together.  All figured your getting close to $100.00 per newsletter that goes out.

You’re not adding to “the Clutter”. Let’s face it, we all get gobs of mail everyday.  Most of it ends up in the trash with few exceptions making it to the kitchen counter.  I would hope that most of us would glance through the church’s newsletter to see what’s going on.  However, for many of us, it adds to the pile of clutter on the kitchen counter until the wife finally gets fed up and tells you to clean it up….(oops, did I reveal too much there?)

You can see what people are actually interested in.  Most of the online tools to send e-newsletters provide great reporting functionality to show who opened the email, what links they clicked and more.  This info can be used to better tailor future issues to meet what the congregation is looking for.

Customized timing and design. We already talked about a cost savings, however, what about adding to your church communication?  With a list of e-news recepients, you now have a target audience of people that want to stay in the loop about your church.  Not only can you send a monthly newsletter, but now reminder emails and such can be sent out with virtually zero cost.  You can also use the tracking to get an idea if people are reading these.  Just remember, people gave you permission to market to them, don’t abuse it!

Hopefully I’ve convinced you, or at least got you thinking about using an e-newsletter to save money reaching your church.  We’ve been using this concept for a few years and found it to be a great way to stay in touch with our clients.  If you want an example of how we communicate, check out our site and use the signup form in the sidebar.

What steps are you going to take today to start saving money for your church?

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Josh Henry is the founder and Managing Partner of Axess Network LLC. Josh saw a need to assist churches with their operations and administration and put together a wealth of solutions to help. He is passionate about helping churches develop and grow… in any way you define that. Josh is married to Keri and they have a daughter Kambell.[/author_info] [/author]



Assimilation Church Management church technology Communication

Assimilation in Your Church

When someone visits or wants to join your church, what is your process for assimilation?

I was recently at a large church in Kansas City and saw a great process for assimilating people into their congregation.  They had it figured out.  They had it described on a poster, in simple, clear, concrete language that made it simple and easy to understand.  The process had well defined steps and goals to guide people from being a seeker to believer, to follower to disciple.  While it is a clearly defined linear process, it was also cyclical as once the person passed through the process, they were worked back to the beginning to help lead others.

As I looked through the process, (without anyone from the church having to explain it) I wondered how we could help implement similar programs into churches that didn’t have the staff or manpower to organize such an undertaking.  I am still in the very early stages of thought on this and would like some input.

What are you doing in your church to move people in a discipleship process?

We are going to build some form of online application that organizes this process for your church to use.  We just want to make sure its simple, easy to implement and most of all effective at building and growing your church.  Keep checking back for more information on the development process.

Church Management church technology Communication Web

Top 10 Reasons to Re-Design your Church’s Website

Top Ten Reasons to Redesign Your Church’s Website
by: Josh Henry

10. Your current site is utilizing outdated technology.

Unfortunately, trends on the web change faster than most of us can keep up with.  However, it is possible to build your site in a way that keeps it open to changing trends.  For a site to be relevant today it must take advantage of social media. Period.

9.  Your site was built using a template builder.

There was a time when churches could get away with a simple website that didn’t look professional, however, that time is now gone.  People looking to visit your church are looking for a website BEFORE they step foot in the door of the church.  What first impression are you delivering?

8.  Your site is not updated.

Websites are a very valuable source of information about your church.  Take advantage of the capability and make your website part of your ministries.  It is probably the most effective communication tool you have.

7.  Updating your site is too complicated.

Every web company advertises the ability to update and edit your site.  Unfortunately, most of the systems require a degree in computer science to figure out.  Be sure the company you choose offers a simple CMS system and has the support structure to back it up!

6.  It was designed by a volunteer.

Volunteers in your church are a great blessing.  However, they can also create problems when it comes to website.  Often, the church’s website becomes a second priority to them and getting updates and changes made is difficult.  Keep it simple, have volunteers help, but also have a back up plan.

5.  Your site is not an accurate representation of your church.

Perception is often reality.  Be sure you are providing an accurate representation of your church through your website.  Be real, don’t try to look bigger than you are, but also, don’t sell yourself short.

4.  Your site doesn’t have vital information for visitors.

Let’s face it; people don’t need another reason to not go to church.  Visitors especially are in a very vulnerable position when they visit a new church.  Alleviate any questions by having relevant visitor information available on your site.  Where do I go, what time do I show up, where is the worship center, what do you have for my kids are all questions that need to be answered on your website.

3.  Your site doesn’t show up in Search Engines.

Most people are going to look for churches in your area through Google or another search engine.  Make sure your church is at least on the list, if not first!

2.   Your URL makes no sense or is hard to remember.

We’ve all been there, trying to remember a website address so we can go back.  Make it simple for people to find your site.  You may have to be creative.

1.  You don’t have a website!

This should speak for itself.  If your church doesn’t have a website, you MUST get one.  No questions asked; you are missing a huge outreach tool without it.

Church Management Daily Thought Leadership

Your Church Blog: A Pastor’s Thoughts on Knowing What People Give

I recently read a blog article where Larry Osborne, pastor of North Coast Church explained how his thoughts have changed regarding pastors knowing about the giving patterns of his congregation.

I’ll admit, at first, I was adamant about pastors not knowing, however, after reading through Larry’s points, I can see some benefit in knowing.  My jury is still out on whether or not a pastor knowing the giving history of his congregation is good or not.  I think he has brought up a good point about responding to the inevitable questions and concerns that pastor’s receive.

In his article, he receives a letter from a church member explaining that they will continue to tithe, but not to the church because of a dispute in using non-union contractors.  Initially, we would consider sending a letter and request reconsideration, however, after seeing the giving history of the individual, this pastor was able to see the letter was nothing more than an idle threat.

I’m curious to know if anyone has thoughts on this issue.  I can see both sides where it can put the pastor in awkward positions if he does know, but I also see where it can be a good thing.  Your Thoughts?

Your Church Blog: A Pastor’s Thoughts on Knowing What People Give.

Church Management church technology Google Apps for Church Web

Google Apps for your Church – UPDATE

As a followup to a previous post about Google Apps for your Church, I recently found out that on May 10, 2011, Google will be limiting the amount of users for the Free Accounts from 50 to 10.  If you were wanting to implement the free version with more than 10 users, you’ll need to set your account up by May 10, 2011.

After that date, you will still be able to use the Apps, but will be limited in the number of users.  Check back as we continue to update ways to make Google Apps work to make your church more efficient.  We will provide resources and examples that will help you utilize the resource to its fullest potential.

Church Management Daily Thought Leadership Priorities

Have you found a helpful messenger?

Thom Rainer posted on his blog today insights about the “Quest for Helpful Messengers.”  He hit the nail dead on with his post.  As leaders, we do often devote our attention to people from two camps.  We have the first camp of people that feed our ego and continually praise our efforts.  These people in some instances are genuinely happy for our leadership, but can also have a hidden agenda and are using this method for their own self gratification and advancement.

The second camp is the opposite.  These people are constantly criticizing and critiquing your efforts.  The old adage, “the squeeky wheel gets the oil” fits here.  These people are also typically using this method for their own means.

As a leader we must seek out helpful messengers.  Those people that will work with us and share truth.  Those individuals that are selfless and will work for the good of the organization not fulfilling their own selfish agendas.  Seek out these people, and invest in them.

Accounting Church Management Payroll

A Tax Credit for Churches?

The health Care Reform law has some provisions for churches to take advantage of a tax credit for health care premiums paid to employees.  There are several contingencies required and it definately benefits smaller organizations but the video is worth watching.

The credit is payable in cash since churches generally do not pay taxes.

Check with your CPA to find out if you qualify.

Your Church Blog: A Tax Credit for Churches?.

Church Management church technology Communication Time Management

Google Apps For Your Church

By: Josh Henry, Managing Partner

In my years of working with churches to help with their IT and communication needs, I have come across some great resources.  For many years, the options available to help churches from an IT standpoint where very costly.  Not only where they expensive to purchase and deploy, but they also had a huge administrative and maintenance cost as a person to manage the resource was necessary.

Now, with many changes in the industry, there are some great technological resources available for a fraction of the costs that was previously required.

Google Apps offers a great suite of tools that a church of any size can implement and utilize.  A FREE version is offered for up to 50 users which I have found to be just about everything you would need to operate your organization.

The main feature of Google Apps is the all inclusive package, all organized by your organizations domain.  All of the tools can be setup and accessed through your organizations unique URL.  For example, your domain is  This is now the address for each app.  Here is some detail:

email –
docs –
calendar –
and so on …

Each app can be setup on a sub-domain to make it easy to find and access for those individuals you have setup.  Here is some more detail for each application and potential uses.

Church Management Facility General

New regulations mean church nurseries must replace cribs

New regulations mean church nurseries must replace cribs
By Erin Roach
Apr 6, 2011

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–In order to comply with new safety regulations taking effect in June, churches need to replace their nursery cribs, which could already pose a danger to children and leave churches open to liability lawsuits.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission unanimously approved sweeping new safety rules, which outlaw drop-side cribs and require stronger hardware and supports. The commission said it is unlikely that existing cribs will meet the new standards.

Jim Swedenburg of the Alabama State Board of Missions served more than 10 years as a state missionary for church administration and said churches that have weekday ministries or daycares especially need to heed the new safety standards.

“If a parent had a child that was injured and the daycare was in that sense negligent in not having changed that bed, that’s going to put them at greater risk for any kind of liability judgment,” Swedenburg told Baptist Press. “In other words, nobody’s going to come around and inspect the cribs and force the church to comply, but if they don’t they’re still going to be taking a risk.”

For years, parents favored drop-side cribs because they could lower the rails on one side to more easily lift their children from the cribs.

Since 2000, drop-side cribs have been blamed in the deaths of 32 infants and toddlers and suspected in another 14 fatalities. In the past five years, more than 9 million drop-side cribs have been recalled, and Congress has pushed for stronger crib safety rules.

At issue is malfunctioning hardware, including cheaper plastics or assembly problems that can lead to the drop-side rail partially detaching from the crib. A dangerous “V”-like gap between the mattress and side rail can trap a baby, causing it to suffocate or strangle.