Friday, July 20, 2012

Does Gift Frequency Matter for Online Giving?

Greater frequency generates higher levels of giving:

I was just reviewing some data for the most recent quarter regarding the relationship of annual dollar volume to the frequency of giving.  Several months ago I wrote about this topic, noting that the largest annualized gifts were from bi-weekly givers.  This trend has continued.  Our most recent update to our data, which has been compiled since 2009, indicates that those who donate bi-weekly give $2012 on an annualized basis.  This is closely followed by weekly givers donate $1819.   The numbers drop significantly for monthly ($1278) and quarterly ($737).

So even though there are more donations to reconcile for the parish,  the numbers suggest that greater gift frequencies provide more income for the parish.  While the amount per individual gift is smaller for the greater frequencies ( average weekly gift is around $34 while the average monthly gift is $106), the annual gift to your parish is larger.

Is your parish experiencing this?

Both ACH (direct withdrawal) and Credit Card work:

We also continue to see a fairly even distribution of contributors who elect to use credit card or ACH methods of payment.  About 60% are using credit cards and 40% use ACH transactions.  Gifts from credit card donors are about 7% greater than for ACH.  See our indicator.  The effects of frequency are consistent regardless of the choice of donation.

Which method do you prefer to use?

Online Giving exceeds $100 million

We have exceeded $100 million in processing for Online Giving and parishioner use continues to increase.  You may want to join the growing group of parishes who have over 30% of parishioners using Online Giving.

 We are grateful that you have chosen to use Online Giving.  It's a great way to improve service to parishioners.  We remain committed to serving the church through all of our offerings and materials.  please contact us with your thoughts and ideas.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Get more parishioners signed up and using Online Giving

This account comes to us from Bruce Richman, the Customer Sales Retention Supervisor for OSV Offertory Solutions.

Recently I was visiting a parish when the question of how to get more people to use Online Giving came up. This particular parish had over 3,300 families with only 5% of the parishioners signed-up. In contrast, another parish in the area with about 1,000 families had 17% of parishioners using Online Giving.

When visiting with the smaller parish I was asked to find out what they were doing differently to be more successful. I knew as soon as I walked in the door -- the differences were apparent. The first thing I saw was an Online Giving poster mounted near the main entrance. Every person that came through those doors saw the poster the moment they entered the church. That action reinforced the parish’s support and need for Online Giving.

Also, when talking with some of the parish staff, I came to understand they had two additional efforts to help them entice more parishioners. First, they talked about Online Giving at the pulpit on several occasions. These weren't long lectures but short statements and testimonials about how easy Online Giving is to use and how it benefits the parish and the parishioner. Second, they used OSV’s Online Giving marketing package. This package helped the staff to announce and acquaint the parish to the convenience of the service. Included in the package were the posters, an announcement letter, an FAQ pamphlet, and the Online Giving mailing card for inserting into the offering envelope packet.

Promoting and communicating the Online Giving message at the pulpit, on boards, and through various mailings has helped to increase contributions for that parish and others, and can foster the growth of your parish’s Online Giving program, too. 

Share your story about how you get parishioners to use Online Giving!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

4 points about increasing parish contributions through electronic giving

One of the great expectations we have from our parish electronic giving is that we will see an increase in contributions for the parish. And it is true that parishes see an increase in contributions.  But this number varies dramatically. Here are 4 points to consider:

1.  Some individual gifts do increase dramatically.  A gift online is a conscious choice which requires some level of thought and commitment.  If your parish was not engaging in pledge renewals in the past, then using a tool like Online Giving can provide that motivation to give more.  This increase has been demonstrated to be as much as 30%.
2.  A few drops of rain don't raise the level of the water in the ocean.  While you should expect individuals to give more,  if you only have a small percentage of parishioners using your Online Giving,  then the overall impact to contributions may be imperceptable. Don't expect a huge increase for the parish without encouraging people to use the system and helping them to get set up properly.
3.  Memory is unreliable.  Most of us have good intentions about our contributions to our parish.  However,  when we do miss Mass we don't always make up that contribution the way we think we do.  Online Giving can help correct this through scheduled automatic deductions based on the preference of the parishioner.
4.  If its not easy, people won't use it.   If you are making parishioners search for your website URL, or where to find it on the website, or you don't have your Online Giving on your Facebook page...  then you are missing opportunities for parishioners and even other community members to give.  Be easy to find.  Put the URL on your envelopes.  Tweet about Online Giving and put the link on Facebook and keep it up at the top of the page.  You want to attract your regular Mass attendees and also those who aren't as disciplined about their attendance.  Remember students away at school, or people who travel a great deal.

With a little attention,  your parish should see financial benefits to Online Giving.  And you may hear about how much people like the convenience of the tool!  Let us know your experience...