Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Quick Give

Practically every church has one or more events during the year for fund raising or other social purposes. They sell tickets at the event site and most of the attendees pay by check or cash.  Many administrators had been asking us to provide them with an easy solution to process these payments on site or in advance through Online Giving. So we responded a few months ago by introducing “Quick Give.” Quick Give is designed to let anyone make a payment for an event set up in advance by the church in their Online Giving application as a fund. All the person has to do (without creating an account in Online Giving) is to enter their personal information, credit card or bank account data and click submit.

Although the process is quite simple and relatively quick, it requires a computer with internet access to be set up at the site for processing payments. The individual could also process their own payment online prior to the event if the parish has set it up as a fund and made them aware of  it. Obviously processing payments prior to an event will depend on the type of event being held. An auction –vs- a raffle would be a good example.

A resourceful and creative administrator came up with a really “cool” way to collect payments for an auction and process them through Online Giving. He created a simple paper form for people to fill out and provide all the required information. He then took all the completed forms back to the office and had a volunteer process them in the church’s Online Giving application using the Quick Give feature. When all was said and done it only took him less than an hour to process 57 payments.

This is what he had to say about the process: “We found the Quick Give feature to be very user friendly and fast as we uploaded all the charges from our weekend event. Another great feature was that all who signed up for express checkout received their auction receipt of total purchases on Monday when the credit information was uploaded in the Online Giving. Almost 60% of our total auction gross was from credit and debit cards. It was everything I hoped for and much more.”

Some of you might have reservations about the security and safety of collecting sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, on paper forms. Although this is not a “high tech” solution (we have other options in the planning stage), it does work very well, and as this administrator noted, it was fast, practical and very cost effective. After they processed all the payments in Online Giving, they shredded the paper forms so as not to store credit card data from any attendee. Best of all, Online Giving provided detailed report on all the transactions processed through Quick Give.

Some churches have been using a mechanical credit card printer (also dubbed the “knucklebuster” by some) to get an imprint of the credit card and processing the payment using the information from the imprint. It is not only a slower way to process payments but it also does not have any room for personal information of the cardholder. The form created by the church mentioned above serves the purpose very well.

Allowing people attending such events to pay by credit card helps draw more attendees to the event as many individuals, especially the younger generation, do not carry much cash these days. Combining the best features of Online Giving with the traditional form of processing payments results in a very cost effective and speedy solution. Other credit card readers may add to your cost of processing payments in the form of monthly fees or set up fees. The old fashioned form, combined with processing through Quick Give, is the most practical and cost effective way to manage church events.

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