The Two Questions That Will Determine Your SummerMark Brooks
Two questions could determine whether you struggle this summer financially or not. First, what percentage of your giving comes in some digital form? Most churches are now at or beyond 50%.
Here is a second question that most churches never ask, how much of your digital dollars comes online through ACH transactions? ACH, what? Automated Clearing House or ACH payments refer to the direct transfer of funds between two bank accounts. Your member’s bank account and your church account, to be specific. What is your percentages?
Here are seven advantages of why you want to set up recurring giving through ACH…
- It’s the modern-day equivalent of writing the 1st check to God. Back when I started as a pastor, I would tell people that if they wanted to be a tither, then write the first check to God and live on what is left. If they waited until Sunday to write the check, they ran the risk of spending all they wanted to dedicate to God. By setting up automated giving, the decision to give is already made before people spend all of God’s money! It’s perhaps the best way to ensure that members become consistent givers.
- It evens out your giving, especially in summer. Summer giving is often erratic and difficult to project. With recurring giving, you have a better feel for what will come in.
- It helps you capture gifts that would otherwise go to Mickey! When people go on vacation, they take their offering money with them and forget to pay it back after they get home. Recurring giving solves this problem. Sure, credit and debit cards do the same thing but consider,
- ACH transactions have the lowest percentage fee rate. Typically you will see rates of under 1% to 1% charged on recurring giving. Credit cards run 2% to 3%. While the difference might be only 1% to 2% depending upon the type of card used and other factors, over time, that small percentage can add up to hundreds and thousands of dollars saved that can go to missions and ministry. $12,458 a year. Recently I was on a call for my sponsor, OnlineGiving.org, where they had run a comparison of a church’s past recurring giving fees. If the church saw those using their credit cards move to an ACH transaction, that was the amount they would save in one year. By the way, the church in question was not some super mega church. While your savings might be less, in the economic times we live in today, we need to save all we can.
- Studies show that nonprofit organizations that focus on ACH donations have higher retention rates than those that do not offer this service. It has been my experience that donors who set up recurring giving always give more as certain messages touch their hearts. And retaining existing donors is always easier than trying to gain a new donor. One reason why existing recurring ACH works is that,
- Unlike credit cards, ACH payment methods do not have an expiration date, allowing recurring donations to continue without interruption. As a result of the above, organizations that encourage recurring donations through ACH payments raise more money than those that don’t.
- An added value for your office is the time saved tracking down donors whose cards or accounts have expired or been canceled. It also means fewer trips to the bank to make deposits, which saves time.
Recurring giving done by ACH is a win for the church and a win for your donors. They can set up giving to be automatic and never worry about forgetting to give again. Your church wins by keeping those donors longer and paying less on processing fees. Don’t miss the Bonus Section, where I show you specific ideas on how to use May to increase recurring giving.
One of my challenges to clients has been to set a yearly increase goal of how gifts come digitally and by recurring giving. As we move into the storms of economic uncertainty, recurring giving is one tool to help us navigate successfully through those times. I still love what one pastor told me once. He said, “Recurring giving has taken the angst out of summer for me!”
Let’s ensure that you have an angst-free summer by increasing your recurring giving percentage!
Mark Brooks The Stewardship Coach
Find out more at http://onlinegiving.org