Online giving options
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations are shutting their doors and suspending gatherings at the guidance or direction of public health authorities. While services may have stopped for now, financial needs of organizations have not, including continued funding of programs, facilities and staff.
Giving through bill pay
Organizations not currently set up with an online platform could consider communicating to members, attenders and the public at large about continued giving and donations through their own bank’s online bill pay program.
Most banks and financial institutions offer an online bill pay mechanism to their customers, typically without a fee. While the process will vary from bank to bank, generally this involves the customer:
- Logging on to their online account at their bank or financial institution.
- Selecting the “bill pay” (or comparable name) option in the online account.
- Adding the organization as a payee by typing in its name and address.
- Selecting the amount and frequency of a payment (donation) and the account from which they wish to donate, then entering it.
For additional details, individuals should contact their bank or financial institution directly about its online bill pay program. In addition, there are third party services such as Venmo that enable person-to-organization transfer of funds, although the fees and practices of third party services typically vary.
Electronic giving considerations
As a matter of financial stewardship and to allow individuals an opportunity to provide continued support, many organizations offer online or electronic giving platforms.
An electronic giving platform provides individuals with a convenient and consistent way to give remotely. Several third-party giving platforms are available. Choosing the right one depends on the needs of your organization. Considerations in selecting an electronic giving platform include:
- Select a reputable company with an established history. Consider Better Business Bureau ratings and contact current house customers as references.
- Understand the fees to be charged on a recurring and/or per transaction basis. Check to see if the platform can set up a “cover the fee” option which allows individuals the option to pay the cost of any transactional fees along with their gift to maximize the value of their donation.
- Consider ease of set-up and management of the electronic giving platform for your organization. The availability of consistent and reliable customer service is an important consideration for most organizations.
- Understand the ease of use for those who give. Whether integrated through the organization’s website or offered as a mobile app, the giving program should be user friendly, accept multiple donation options (e.g., debit/credt card, ACH bank account transfers) and allow for recurring gifts.
- Check the data security safeguards of electronic giving providers. As sensitive personal financial information such as credit card or bank account numbers is shared in electronic giving, understanding the provider’s data protection technologies including encryption or tokenization is crucial.
Did you know?
In partnership with Beazley – an industry leader in data privacy and cyber liability coverage – Church Mutual offers affordable, extensive cyber liability coverage to provide you with protection and peace of mind when it comes to personal and private organizational information.