Accounting Church Money Saving Ideas Growing Your Giving Base

Only 6 Sundays Left…

Only 6 Sundays Left…

Before the end of 2011. Pastor, now is the time to begin to remind member’s that their donations must be received by December 31st to be counted in this giving year. December 31st this year is a Saturday.

What are you doing to encourage year end giving?

Let me suggest five ideas:

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Church Web Presence Checklist

Just like the picture suggests, your church’s website needs to be a piece of your ministry.  The advantages available on the web to your church are so vast and inexpensive that churches not taking advantage of them are really missing out.  The list below is not comprehensive, but gives a good starting point for your church when thinking about starting or re-developing their web presence.

  1. Don’t overcomplicate your domain name.

    – If it’s your churches name, use it, even if it’s long.  Most first time visitors or people looking for your church are not going to know the “inside names” or nicknames you have for the church.  They are also not going to know your church’s mission or other statement you use.
    – Now there is nothing wrong with purchasing those other names and forwarding them to your main site, but the main URL needs to be your churches name spelled out.

  2. Use caution when hiring a relative, close friend, high school student or church member who says they can do it.

    Every church has dealt with it, contracting with a member or friend. While in theory it’s not a big deal, when it comes time to a problem, it becomes a big deal.  Don’t give your website development project to someone without experience.
    I’ll admit there was a day when we were there. Scrapping along for and building sub-par websites.  What that taught me was that your churches web presence is too important to entrust to someone with no credentials.
    But Sue needs a job. That’s fine, give her benevolence, make her do odd jobs around the church.  The church’s website is often the first impression people will get of your church.
    Bobby built a site using Website Tonight (or insert another free tool here), he says he’s a web designer. There are tools that make building a website fairly simple and give some people an over-inflated sense of ability.  Just because someone has used one of these tools doesn’t mean they will be able to meet your needs.  Speaking of tools…

  3. Use free tools sparingly.

    – We are all very well aware of the amount of free and inexpensive church web tools that are available.  Just remember, like everything, you get what you pay for.  Just because it’s free and does the job, doesn’t mean it’s the best solution for you.
    – Often, these “free” tools come with introductory offers, restricted abilities and other issues that will end up being more hassle than you would have had if you’d paid up front.  If you must use free tools, use them sparingly and do your homework.

  4. Consider the website an investment

    – The website of your church is many times the first impression someone will get of your church.  You take pride in your building, make sure the grass is cut before Sunday Morning, take out the trash, clean the windows, and make sure there is no paper in the pews.  Why do you neglect what most people will see before that?

    – I am shocked at what some churches will spend for buildings and still have a cheap template website.  I’m also shocked of churches that have budget struggles that are not taking advantage of the vast potential on the Internet for ministry communication and opportunities.

  5. Utilize your website as a ministry of your church|

    – I meet with numerous pastors that have told me that they are struggling to see value in their website.  When I ask how they utilize the site, its usually the same answer.  They put basic info on it and let it sit.
    – Take advantage of the communication opportunity.  Link your site to Social Media and utilize it for your church.

  6. Create a Web Desination

    – This is a relatively new trend in web development, however it makes great sense.  A website is boring, bland, static, and virtually useless unless handled perfectly.

    – Why not create a web destination where people can get engaged and connected with your church.  Make it a resource, a place to become part of your church community.

If you’re interested or looking at finding some new ideas for your church’s web needs, I’d invite you to check us out.  We are here to be sure you are taking advantage of the huge potential available on the web for your ministry.  And just so you know, there is no church too small to not need a website!

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

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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]