Tuesday, October 25, 2011

EFT is not the answer

Does your parish have EFT set up for direct debit with banks? Are many parishioners using it? Probably not. In one of my previous posts I wrote that I heard parishioners did not like EFT because they find it difficult to set up and even more difficult to make timely changes.

That was reinforced in a big way this week in discussion with a few dozen parishes. EFT originally seemed like a good way to go because it was a direct withdrawal from bank or checking accounts. However as banks have started charging for this service it all gets a double whammy because it is inflexible and now it has additional associated costs. Put this together with the requirement to provide bank account information to the parish office to set up the withdrawal and EFT becomes a “non-starter”.

Web based Online Giving offers parishioners the security of entering their own account information privately. The account information is immediately encrypted and secured. Parishioners can select and change their contribution amounts, frequencies, and the dates of contributions at any time. This kind of service provides the convenience and flexibility we have come to expect from electronic systems.

One business manager I spoke with this week had previously implemented EFT and changed to Online Giving, employing both direct withdrawal and credit card options for contributions. Today he regularly promotes Online Giving as an option for parishioners. In the materials he goes a step further to say that parish staff is NOT involved in the parishioner contributions. With this approach the parish has seen great acceptance of the new tool and over 20% of contributions are coming from this system.

Consider whether or not EFT is providing your parish a service that makes giving easy. You might be able to use a service that makes it more convenient plus provides a boost to parish income!

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