4 Questions to Ask Your Giving Provider

There’s been quite a bit of talk about effective giving rates around here recently, and for good reason. Over the last few months, we’ve encountered many churches that are simply overpaying their online giving providers, and most of them don’t even know it. On Tuesday, we hosted a webinar about this very topic, and Pastor Russell Korets joined us to share about his church’s recent experience in shopping for a new online giving provider. During the conversation, he mentioned an important question that he asked all the providers his church was looking at. You can check out that portion of the webinar here:


If you’re unfamiliar with what an effective rate is or how to calculate it, we’ve covered that exact topic here. Simply put, some online giving providers overcharge churches by either failing to offer volume-based discounts, or by adding hidden fees in addition to their processing rates. This causes a high effective rate, which means that the church ends up keeping less money from each donation. Finding your effective rate is extremely important because it allows you to see a common-ground comparison between all of the giving providers you are looking at. It also allows you to see if you are currently overpaying.

 

So how do you get a low effective rate? Great question! And speaking of questions, here are four that you can ask each giving provider you talk to.

 

If John donates $100 with his card, how much money will our church be left with after ALL fees are taken out?

This is a simple question to ask, and it will help you get to the bottom line in terms of finding your effective rate. Pastor Russell mentioned that he continued to ask this question until he got a clear response from the companies he was looking at, and his persistence with this question ended up saving his church quite a bit of money.

Will we be charged any fees in addition to your processing rates?

Like we mentioned above, some companies actually charge more fees in addition to their processing rates. These could be labeled as security fees, batch fees, merchant account fees, or even monthly fees. There is no reason your church should have to pay for any of those things on top of your processing rates.

Do you offer volume based discounts?

A good provider will reward your church with lower rates as you grow with them. If your church processes just $50,000 per month, there is no reason why you shouldn’t start seeing your processing rates drop to the low 2% range (even below 2% if you are processing well over $100,000 each month). Having volume-based discounts in place will ensure that your giving solution is a good fit long-term.

Assuming an equal mix of debit, credit, and ACH donations, if we process $10,000 a month how much will end up in our bank account each month after all fees are taken out/paid?

This will help you get even more clarity about what your effective rate will be, as some companies charge different rates for debit, credit, and ACH transactions.


Want even more resources to help save your church money? We’ve got you covered! Click here to check out our full webinar. We’ve also got an awesome eBook that dives even deeper into the topic of effective rates. You can download it for free by clicking this link. And if you want to make things even easier, Subsplash offers a free analysis of your current giving statement. No fluff, no sales pitch, just a free consultation to help your church save as much money as possible. Give us a call at 206-965-8090 or drop us a line at hello@subsplash.com, we’d love to help!

Hidden Fees Exposed: Find Out What You're Really Paying for Online Giving

Is your church overpaying for online giving? You very well could be....and unfortunately, you might not even know it. Despite having decent processing rates, many churches are still paying extremely high effective rates for online giving, and that's where the problem lies. This could be due to a number things including hidden fees, lack of volume-based discounts, and more. 

Join the Free Webinar Next Week to Learn More

On Tuesday, April 25th at 11am PST, we are going to pull back the veil on hidden fees and bad effective rates, and we'd love for you to join us! This webinar is completely free, and will arm you with all of the resources you need to help your church get the best rates on the market. Here are a few things to know in advance:

 

What will I learn?

You will walk away from this webinar with a greater knowledge of where the money you pay your online giving provider is going, how to calculate your effective rate and find out exactly how much money your church is paying for online giving, and what questions you can ask online giving providers to get extreme clarity about the rates they charge. We will be bringing in our very own giving expert, Christina, to define some terms and teach you how to calculate your effective rate. We also have Russell Korets, founding pastor of City on a Hill Church in the Seattle area, joining us. He will be discussing his recent experience of shopping for a new giving solution and sharing how his church avoided paying a high effective rate. 

What resources will I get?

Everyone who signs up for the webinar will get a free eBook with additional information about finding your effective rate as well as a copy of the video. We are also offering a free analysis of your church's giving statement to confirm that you are getting the best rates possible....no fluff, no sales pitch, just a quick, easy consultation to help your church save money. 

Speaking of a sales pitch, is there going to be one in this webinar?

Have you ever signed up for a webinar with the hope of learning something about a topic that's important to you, only to get slapped in the face with a 30 minute sales pitch? Super annoying, right? Good news: we're not into that. There will not be a sales pitch in this webinar, or any advertising for that matter. We're much more concerned about providing your church with resources that will help you find the best online giving provider at the best price. 

 

If you are shopping for a new online giving provider, thinking about shopping for a provider in the future, or just want to make sure that your church is getting the best rate possible, then this webinar is for you! We hope you will join us and hope that this resource is a blessing to your ministry. Sign up here: http://bit.ly/2okAmXJ

Keep Your Easter Visitors Coming Back

Can you believe that Easter Sunday is this week?! If you’re a pastor or church leader, you’ve probably spent the last weeks or even months preparing your Easter services. And for good reason too...most churches see a huge spike in attendance on Easter Sunday, as many “Chreasters” don their Sunday best and make their annual appearance at church. This weekend presents us with a great opportunity to share the good news of Jesus’ salvation with millions of people. Unfortunately, many of these people probably won’t show up at church again until next year. Wouldn’t it be awesome if this wasn’t the case? Of course it would! We’ve outlined a few steps you can take to make it easy for folks to come back next week. To be sure, there are many ways that you can make your visitors feel welcome and help get them connected to your church, but today we’re going to take a look at how you can use your app for this purpose. Here are three simple things you can do to help connect your visitors to the life of your ministry:

 

Announce your app from the stage

Pew Research reports that 77% of American adults now have a smartphone and 51% own a tablet. If you want to have a higher probability of getting your gospel content in front of visitors after Sunday, tell them about your app! A quick 30 second plug from your pastor during announcements can do wonders for post-Sunday engagement. Tell your congregation that the app is free and is the best way to stay connected to your church 24/7. Additionally, you can create a new push notification group called “I’m New” (or whatever you would like to call it), and encourage new folks to opt into that group so they can receive more information about your church. We’ll touch on this again in a minute.

 

Go digital with your connect card

Going to church on Easter may be overwhelming for some who are first-time visitors. You probably have a strategy in place to connect with new folks, but let’s face it….your staff and greeting team can’t meet every new person who comes through your doors, especially if you have a larger ministry. The unfortunate reality is that even with a robust plan in place, some people who enjoyed your service or would like more information about your church may slip through the cracks. This is where your app can help fill that void. By adding your connect card, a welcome message, and any other relevant signup forms or information, you can make it easy for everyone to get connected, even after church is over. Your printed bulletin and connect card may end up in the trash, but your digital connect card will be in everyone’s pocket at all times. There will probably be people who forget to stop by your connect desk, throw your Sunday bulletin away, or feel compelled to get in touch after stewing on the message for a few days. Since you’ve announced the app from the stage, they now have it on their phone, and since you have your connect card and welcome materials in the app, they can easily get in touch with your church.

 

Send a targeted push notification

Remember how you announced your app from the stage and encouraged visitors to join the new push notification group during the service? Now it’s time to follow up! On Sunday evening or Monday morning, send out a push notification to the “I’m New” group thanking them for attending and offering any follow up information that you think would be helpful. This could include your connect card, a welcome video, information about how to get in touch with a pastor, or even just an encouraging passage of scripture. Unlike most emails, push notifications get extremely high open rates, and this will add a nice personal touch to your follow up process. On top of that, push notifications have a much lower barrier to entry when it comes to connecting with people. Not everyone is going to be immediately comfortable with providing their personal information (email, home address, phone, etc) to you - especially if they are a first-timer, and no personal information is required to receive a push notification. If you’d like some visuals that show users how to subscribe to push notification groups, we’ve got a video for you here.

 

Pray!

And last but most definitely not least, pray! God can use anyone and anything to draw people to himself, whether that be a sermon, a song, an interaction with someone on your team, or a simple piece of technology. Ask him to use every element of your service to reach people where they are at and bring them into a relationship with him. He is faithful, and he will surely do it! We hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend celebrating Jesus’ resurrection, and we can’t wait to hear the amazing stories from your Sunday services. Happy Easter!

3 Reasons Your Church Should Stop Printing Things

Yep, you read that correctly. Your church should stop printing things. Does the idea of cutting printed materials make you a bit nervous? We get it. There is sure to be some (completely understandable) pushback to this idea, but what if we told you that you could save time, save money, and increase engagement by going digital with your bulletins, sermon notes, forms, and other resources? Well, that’s exactly what we’re telling you! Let’s take a look at three ways a lack of printed material can actually help your church:

 

Save Time

Does your church have a Sunday bulletin? How about signup forms? Small group resources? Chances are you have all of those things, and chances are somebody on staff is responsible for creating, printing, distributing, and logging responses from those resources. That is no small task! These are all important things to your ministry, but your time is invaluable as well. What if there was a way you could continue to make use of these resources, but save hours of time in the process? Well, there is! Adding your printed materials to your app is a great way to streamline your internal processes. Instead of printing and distributing those resources, simply add them to your app and direct people there instead. You can announce this from the stage on Sunday and send push notifications as well. Additionally, if you go digital with your signup forms (we can help you do this with Subsplash Connect), all of your responses automatically filter into the same place! Say goodbye to data entry and use that time for other projects.

 

Save Money

Printing isn’t cheap. Paper, ink, and cost per click add up pretty quickly. We recently talked to a church of around 2000 people that was spending about $1000 each month just to print their Sunday sermon notes. Imagine what your ministry could do with thousands of extra dollars every year! There are no extra fees for adding your printed materials to your app. Wouldn’t it be nice if distributing your sermon notes only cost $100 each month instead of $1000?

 

Increase Engagement

Yep, that’s right….cutting printed materials can actually increase engagement! Think about it for a second: you hand someone a printed bulletin on Sunday. They read it, take notes in it, and a few people take it home (let’s be real, lots of people are probably throwing it in the trash on their way out the door….just ask your cleaning team). Are those people who take bulletins home saving up a stash of 52 weeks of sermon notes in their house every year? Highly unlikely. So in reality, you are spending thousands of dollars on materials that will get thrown away, whether it be within two hours or two weeks. Are your bulletins and other printed materials a waste, though? Of course not! In fact, they are super important! And you can utilize your app to make sure they get proper (and continued) attention. We live in a mobile generation where everyone has their phone on them 24/7. All of their most important information - bank accounts, email inboxes, travel itinerary, and more - is always in their pocket. Don’t you wish your Gospel content had that same proximity? By hosting your Sunday bulletins, sermon notes, small group curriculum, event forms, and more in your app, you allow your congregation to access that content at any point in time. If someone is having a rough day and is trying to remember that important bullet point from Sunday’s sermon, their notes are just a few clicks away. If they get a push notification reminding them to sign up for an event, they can fill out the form immediately and add it to their calendar. If they need to preview tonight’s discussion questions for their small group, it’s right in their pocket. All of the material they may otherwise throw away is now in one place that is easily accessible and with them at all times.


 

Our friends at Calvary Chapel Worship Center recently stopped printing Sunday bulletins and saw these exact results. Check out our interview with Pastor Rich if you haven’t already! And if you have questions about cutting printed materials, let our team know! We realize that every ministry has different needs and challenges, and we would love to help you in any way we can. Drop us a line at hello@subsplash.com.   

Hidden Fees Exposed: Find Out What You're Really Paying for Online Giving

Just in: Subsplash is announcing a new webinar to learn more on this popular topic. If you enjoy this post, check out the webinar coming up April 25, 2017. Register here.

Does your church or ministry have online and mobile giving? Yes? Awesome! Did you know that it’s likely you are being overcharged? Not awesome. Hopefully this is not the case for you, but the unfortunate reality is that many churches are paying extremely high percentages on every giving transaction and they don’t even know it. Want to make sure your church isn’t one of them? We’ve got you! Most churches have decent processing rates, but high effective rates - and that’s where the problem lies. Let’s take a look at how to find out what your effective rate is and what you can do about it.

 

Wait….what’s an “effective rate”? And how do I find mine?

Any giving provider you talk to should (hopefully) be transparent about their processing rates, but they may not go into much detail about their effective rates. These two things are NOT the same. In many cases, the effective rate may be higher than the processing rate. So what exactly does “effective rate” mean? Glad you asked! Your effective rate is going to be the total percentage of money that the giving provider (and any third-party service involved with the transaction) is taking from every donation. This includes processing fees, per transaction fees, monthly fees, interchange fees, PCI compliance fees, merchant account fees, and more. If you want to know what your effective rate is, you can easily find out by taking a look at your monthly giving statements. Add up all of the fees your giving provider charged on that statement (this includes everything we mentioned above) and divide that number by the gross donation amount on that statement. Boom. There’s your effective rate.

 

How do my rates stack up?

Donation processing rates

Let’s say you just did the math and it turns out your church’s effective rate is around 4%. That’s not good. You can get better. Despite offering decent processing rates, many companies charge extra hidden fees for some of those things we mentioned above, such as interchange, PCI compliance, merchant accounts, and more, which causes the total effective rate to be much higher than the processing rate. Even worse, most churches in this scenario may not realize that they are paying these extra fees. Does that sound like a huge bummer? Well, it is. That’s why finding your effective rate is so important - it allows you to see a common ground comparison between all giving providers. Simply put, if your church’s effective rate is 4% or higher, you are overpaying. If it is 3% or higher, you could be doing better. And if it’s in the 2s, you are in great shape!

 

What you can do

Hopefully your church is in the 2% range, but if not, don’t lose hope! There are a few things you can do to ensure your ministry gets to keep as much of your donations as possible. First, if you are shopping around for giving providers, make sure to get clarity about each company’s effective rate (remember, it’s not the same as the processing rate). You can simply ask, “If John donates $100 to our ministry with his debit card, how much of that $100 will end up in our bank account after all fees are taken out?” If you find that your church is currently paying too much, call your giving provider and inquire about getting a lower rate. You can use our cheat sheet above for reference. And finally, if you’d like to skip dealing with high effective rates altogether, we’d love to help your ministry keep more of your donations. We’re not really into this whole “hidden fees” thing. To get more resources about lowering your effective rate, drop us a line at hello@subsplash.com!