“Top Online Giving Software” articles can provide an excellent starting point for giving software seekers. But how comprehensive and reliable are these reviews?
One red flag buyers should beware of in a "top church giving solution" list is the inclusion of platforms that weren't built for the church.
For example, we discovered several recent reviews published by reputable organizations (like ReachRight, Donorbox,Church Tech Today, and Outreach Magazine)... in which PayPal was named as a top solutions for churches.
What’s wrong with including PayPal in a CHURCH GIVING Solutions REVIEW?
First, giving platforms that weren't built for the church lack many vital features needed for church management. So how could PayPal be in the top 5, 10 or even 20 best options for churches?
PayPal can accept gifts, but it doesn't really serve the church.
In fact, it takes only a cursory glance at PayPal's policies to know that churches should steer clear.
We reviewed PayPal for churchesafter discovering several serious potential risks. The most egregious concern was that PayPal maintains the right to withhold payment for, among other reasons, "controversial content” on an organization’s website. As church beliefs tend to be counter-cultural, what could go wrong there?
But PayPal isn't the real problem here.
THE TROUBLE With NON USER-GENERATED SOFTWARE REVIEWS
We believe that the authors of these reviews care about the church. They recognize the challenges of software comparisons for church leaders and are seeking to offer valuable help.
While it’s unclear exactly how the solutions included in these lists make the cut, ReachRight’s article states that “Sometimes we receive compensation for linking to our partners. Rest assured, our opinions are always our own.” (Source)
Compensation doesn't necessarily discount the validity of a review - and we’re sure no dishonesty is intended. But what is the basis for this high opinion of PayPal for churches? It's inclusion casts a shadow on the trustworthiness of the review.
Maybe it's best to think of these reviews as "Some giving platforms to consider" rather than "TOP."
Put Yourself in the Driver’s Seat
Bottomline: The most reliable reviews are from actual users.
As with all purchases, it’s important to do your due diligence. Especially when exploring any technology that exposes your givers to a third-party.