Seeking the Best Church Giving Software? Ask These Questions
Whether you’re looking to replace your current church giving software or you’re looking into online giving for your church for the first time, you’ll improve the experience if you go into it forearmed.
It’s important to know your needs and set goals in place prior to your search. Comparing platforms can be confusing, so keep your roadmap before you as you go.
The typical criteria churches seek in giving software include:
Church Giving Software Must be Convenient for Givers
The giving experience must be easy, secure and streamlined for givers or they won’t use it. A shocking 83% of charitable online gifts are abandoned before completion. So the best giving platform avoids these barriers that cause gift abandonment:
- Mandatory account creation
- Redirecting givers to a third party site to input their financial information. This erodes trust with your church and causes concerns about security
- Givers receiving impersonal thank you emails from a payment processor’s “do-not-reply” email, not from the church
- Long giving forms that require too much information
- Uninspiring (i.e. a drop-down of fund names in the giving form, but no explanations or imagery to draw them into the ministry.
Church Giving Software Should be Affordable
Costs associated with online giving can be typically found at these points:
- Transaction fee rates (Distinguish between non-negotiable credit card industry fees and the add-on rates of your giving software vendor and its payment processor.)
- Additional miscellaneous fees (Ask about all possible fees, including those passed on from the bank and others related to the vendor’s services.)
- Product add-ons
- Subscription level
- Monthly contract fee
Your new giving software should shield your staff from the complexity of payment processing by serving in the dual role of giving platform and payment processor, reducing fees and the number of vendors you work with. Seek a vendor that does not charge a monthly fee or require a contract.
Implementing Your New Platform Shouldn’t Be Scary
The best church online giving software helps you get the platform up and running and never leaves you on your own. Some simple products may be easily self-set-up very quickly. That ease often means trade-offs in the feature set and performance of the platform.
More robust platforms require the vendor to implement the software. Ask for a timeline and a detailed explanation of who you’ll be working with. Ideally, there will be one project manager who is your advocate through the entire process, no matter how many others are involved. Find out what you will have to provide and what your staff will have to do. Ask for testimonials about the implementation experience.
Church Giving Software Should Streamline accounting and back office processes
You’ll find a wide variety of differences here, but the best church giving software brings your back office to the future with:
- 100% automated processing of the offering, including cash and checks
- True API Integration with a church management software platform (vs. manually uploading data from another platform)
- Full Accounting and reconciliation (with 1:1 gift-matching, not batched gift amounts, and full audit controls to protect staff and funds)
- Managed Services (support, training, partnership)
- PCI Level 1 Compliance (for data security for givers)
Additionally, you may wish to choose a faith-based organization that has a record of success with churches like yours. We also recommend that you seek out independent consumer reviews on the platforms you are considering.
Some things to watch out for
- Mobile giving apps (Find out if a mobile app is right for your church first.)
- Giving limits (on individual gift size and on how many gifts can be processed in a specific time period)
- Turnaround time on funds being deposited into your bank (the best church giving software will return your funds in 1-2 days)
- Egregious contract requirements for your givers
- Ownership of data (ensure that your church—not the payment processor—owns your giving data)
Vision2: A New Approach to Church Online Giving
Vision2 operates differently than any other church online giving platform, solving the challenges of most traditional church giving software. We believe it’s the best church giving software!