3 Financial Considerations When Bringing Your Church Tithing Online
For some churches, bringing church tithing online hasn’t lived up to its promise. The very product that pledges to increase your congregation’s generosity can end up taking a bigger and bigger bite out of your giver’s tithes and offerings as they grow.
If that feels familiar, or if you’re just beginning to think about bringing church tithing online — and you’re interested in keeping as much of your tithes and offerings as possible — it pays to understand the core differences that impact the cost and ROI of different church online tithing solutions.
PAYMENT PROCESSING FEES
Payment processing can be confusing but to simplify the basics, charges can be categorized in these buckets:
1. Interchange and Assessment Fees. In 2020, the average credit card processing fees range from about 1.3% to 3.4%, depending on card types. This includes an interchange fee from the bank that issued the card (i.e. Chase) and an assessment fee from the payment card network (i.e. Visa). These fees are non-negotiable.
2. Payment processing fees, which vary among vendors and may be negotiable.
3. Per transaction or other fees assessed by your online giving vendor.
4. Your bank’s charges related to gifts, such as stop payment or NSF fees. These may come through your online giving vendor.
Tip #1: Look for an online tithing software that allows givers to pay processing fees when they make their donation. They frequently will!
Tip #2: Look for an online tithing vendor that serves as its own payment processor and who uses this dual role to eliminate one layer of add-on transaction fees. (This is an important distinction).
Tip #3: When choosing an online tithing vendor, ask for a breakdown of all potential fees and compare with their competitors.
Tip #4: Carefully review the payment processor’s User (Giver) Terms and Agreements to ensure that you are protecting your givers from hidden policies.
MONTHLY CONTRACT FEES
Unlike fees that are assessed as a percentage, which means you’ll always bring in more than you pay out for processing, monthly contract fees could potentially outweigh your gifts, especially in the event of unforeseen events such as a pandemic or a church split. We’ve heard of monthly contract fees as high as $10,000 a month! Just imagine what good you could do in your community with that kind of savings.
Tip #1: Look for robust online tithing with no contract or monthly fees for its comprehensive digital giving platform.
Tip #2: With no monthly contract fees PLUS giver-pays-fees option (see above) PLUS giving increases (see below) your online tithing platform could become virtually free.
Every church is unique. Though many practices and community dynamics factor into giving results, Vision2 data reveals that there are a number of features and practices in online tithing features that are proven to impact gifts. Choose an online tithing platform that enables these best practices:
Tip #1: Keep givers on the church’s website to complete their gift instead of transferring them to a third-party site. 83% of charitable gifts are abandoned before completion, with this practice cited as a top reason.
Tip #2: Use a simple checkout form. (Lengthy and cumbersome forms are another top reason for gift abandonment.)
Tip #3: Don’t require givers to verify a mobile number, email address or create an account. Mandatory account creation or multiple steps to verify information can encourage givers to abandon their gift.
Tip #4: Demonstrate the impact of gifts with imagery and ministry descriptions in your giving form. This is a known priority for millennials.
Tip #5: Make sure your thank you email is personal and comes from the church, not a third-party email address. This reinforces a sense of security, gratitude and being known, which play a role in the number of gifts and average gift size.
Tip #6: Progress bars on select designation amounts enable givers to see the remaining amount left in a campaign or mission trip. They provide a psychological nudge proven to increase gift amounts to help achieve an attainable goal.
Tip #7: Choose an online tithing platform that lets you set pledge permissions to automatically ask a giver who completes a pledge if they would like to direct their existing pledge amount to another fund. This increases generosity.
Free Giving Experience Audit
Our team will review your church’s online giving experience against 60 of the most common obstacles that get in the way of a giver’s generosity. We will then send you a detailed set of recommendations that will help you to reach your true giving potential.
Click here to Schedule your free Giving Experience Check-up now.