I saw a local commercial a few days back by a business called “Window World.” I usually tune these types of commercials out, but this one grabbed my attention.

Sure, the salesperson started by telling me their windows were “the best bang for my buck”. He even told me to not just take his word for it. But this wasn’t what drew me in. Here’s what got my attention: He told me (the consumer) to get three different quotes, making sure one of them was from Window World, to see the price difference myself.

Why was this so successful? It challenged me to not just take some ad at face value, but to put Window World and their competitors to the test. It pushed me to see that when I stack the options side by side, a clear choice would be revealed.

If your church is currently using digital giving, how much homework did you actually do to ensure your provider is the right fit? Maybe you did extensive research and compared the best options out there. But, for many, they end up taking a pitch at face value and trusting that it’s right for them. It might not be a bad way to go, but they often end up overpaying for a product that underdelivers.

I want to offer up three questions that every church should ask a digital giving provider before enrolling for services. (Yes. Even ask us.)

1. Does my congregation size affect my cost?

I will never forget when SecureGive was one of two digital giving options being considered by one of the largest churches in America. The other provider had submitted their quote to this church’s consulting firm and we were asked to “compete” with the pricing. Rarely do we actually see a price quote from another provider, but these circumstances were unique.

The other provider had submitted a quote for $10,000 a month for the software subscription in addition to processing fees at 2% on debit transactions and 3% on all credit card transactions. We were honestly dumb-founded. We knew that cost was rising, in the general sense, but never imagined that churches were being coerced into this extreme of a cost structure. The price, being on a large sliding scale, directly connected to congregation size. The larger the congregation, the larger the price per month.

Our monthly rate came in at a small fraction of that outrageous $10,000 price tag, with processing ranging from 1.8%-2.3%. But, we knew that the church would have some major questions about the chasm difference between our two offers.

The product capability was virtually identical. The church was able to recognize that the other digital giving provider saw them as a cash cow. To the other provider, they were merely an opportunity to significantly overcharge, and it was all based on their church size and potential processing volume.

THIS IS NOT OKAY. And it is not rooted in a love for the church.

2. How is your digital giving company stewarded?

As The Church (Big C), we have a collective responsibility to ensure that we steward our church with wisdom, biblical conscience, and obedience. You should expect the same from your partners. Especially those who are involved with your church’s financial resources. Should that be the only thing that matters? Absolutely not. The quality of your digital giving product, its capacity to support your organization, and security of the transactions matter just as much.

Don’t read this as boastful. Read this as accountable. SecureGive is completely debt-free, we are privately owned and operated by life-long church pastors, and we unapologetically look for employees that serve their local church. We don’t structure things this way because it’s our attempt to be “holier than thou”. We structure things this way because we wholeheartedly believe that we are to operate this company the same way that you are operating your church.

Learn about a company’s approach to keeping their house in order. Does it align with your church’s value system?

3. Guarantees are common. Ask for the specifics.

We have been serving churches with digital giving technology now for almost two decades. We have legitimately heard it all. We cannot tell you how many times we have had a church leader call and tell us about another option that is “guaranteeing” 5-10% growth or their entire investment is returned. We even have a growth guarantee. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this.

But, here is what you need to be asking: what is required of me to stay within the lines of the guarantee?

I don’t say this to be combative or insensitive. I say this because it is true. Churches should be financially growing, year over year, in that percent range any ways. Technology is not solely responsible for that occurring. I am sorry. It is just not.

If your church is asked to follow an onslaught of “terms” for staying in bounds of a provider’s guarantee, hear me now, it’s not worth it. That long list of terms is really just a way for them to never have to honor the guarantee in the first place. (On a side note, if you’re still wrapped into a multi-year contract even if your results fall short of the guarantee, there’s another red flag.)

If a company truly believes in its impact, their guarantee will align with that.

My final point.

Just like the Window World commercial I told you about earlier, you should shop at least three options before committing to one provider. Ask these hard questions. All of them warrant straight-forward answers. Don’t settle for a sales pitch that dances around the real issues.

All we ask is that SecureGive be one of the three.