Giving, Alternatively Electronic solutions help churches offer choicesby Carolyn Heinze Added December 08, 2010As published in Worship Facilities, Nov/Dec 2010Money is always a delicate subject, but one that must be breached: without it, it’s difficult for churches to attain their ministry goals. While a large portion of a church’s funds come from the donations of its members, how people give has changed, requiring facilities to make the right accommodations.”People do not carry cash or checkbooks-they use a debit card,” says Marty Baker, founder of kiosk and online giving provider SecureGive in Evans, Ga. “They buy groceries with a debit card, they buy gasoline with a debit card and they buy clothes with a debit card.” Baker, who is also lead pastor at Stevens Creek Church in Augusta, Ga., notes that when people attend a church, there is often a barrier to giving: they may wish to make a donation, but they can’t because they forgot their checkbooks and they don’t have any cash. “A donation kiosk removes those barriers that allow church members to do something that they already want to do.” He argues that the ability to readily make donations not only enables pastors to conduct the ministry they were called to do, but it also helps make members feel more engaged with the church.coming very innovative in providing giving solutions that meet the needs of their members today,” says Bryce Collman, CEO and founder of Ardent Giving Solutions, a payment-processing firm based in Southlake, Texas. “This is a reflection of how people are accustomed to doing commerce. There is online giving, we have had some interest in iPhone applications, and then there are kiosks. These are all avenues that churches are exploring.”The evolution of e-givingStevens Creek Church installed its first kiosk in March 2005. Baker recounts that during the first year, the church took in $100,000 from that kiosk alone. In 2006, that number grew to $212,000; the following year, it increased once again to $317,000. In 2008, Stevens Creek earned $425,000 … and for the period 2009-2010, Baker predicts that figure will grow to over half a million dollars. “Electronic giving will become a major part of the church’s focus,” he says. “Whether you want to move in that direction or not, the culture will force you to consider some sort of electronic giving.”SecureGive’s client administration page enables church administrators to control kiosks from their desks and update information in real time. For example, in the event of an emergency-for example, a natural disaster-if the church wants to respond in a tangible way the next day, the church administrator can log on to the site and enter a given missions need, and right when they type it in, it changes the website and all the kiosks in that church.In addition, the system’s reporting functions give various breakdowns of donation reports: one may view how much the kiosk took in on any given Sunday, how much it earned for the month, for the year, or over all. Conversely, church members have access to their own dedicated administration pages so they, too, can view their individual giving histories. SecureGive also offers graphics services that, on an aesthetic level, let churches incorporate kiosks into their visual branding.
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