Many churches now use online donation platforms, card readers and/or text giving. If your church doesn't yet use one of these giving methods, they risk missing out on much-needed donations.
Card readers in churches
There are many different makes and models of card reader available, from the affordable 'SumUp Air' to the more impressive 'Goodbox Pro, as seen in Guildford Cathedral.. Therefore, it is important to do some research before buying one.
You need to take into account several things:
- Does your church have Wi-Fi, or a good 3G signal or do you need a device capable of storing the transaction offline and uploading it when a signal is available?
- Do you want an 'attended device' or a self-service unit? Does it need to be secured to a piece of furniture, either by design or through a little DIY?
- The cost of the device can be a key factor - both purchase price AND transaction charges or monthly fees - you will need to be sure that the amount taken in donations justifies the outlay
- The ability to take card payments over the phone. Some of the providers allow this through a VIrtual Terminal e.g. you may be able to request a Virtual Terminal from the Support Team via your online account's dashboard, and then use this to enter the card details. Remember to take care not to keep a written record of the person's card details!
- The facility to use SMS or email to request a payment. Once activated, you can select 'SMS payments' or 'Email' as a payment method and then enter your donator's mobile phone number or email address. They then receive a link, which once opened, allows them to enter their card details and confirm the payment. This is the most secure method for both you and the payee.
- Don't forget that, as the device takes payments on behalf of the church, the final decision will need to be ratified by your PCC before purchase.
Further advice about choosing the right device, available discounts and possible transaction fees are available on the Parish Buying website
DONATE has no joining, monthly or ongoing fees and is run by the National Funding Scheme and charges a transaction fee of 4.5%. DONATE also offer Online Donations
Donr also has no joining, monthly or ongoing fees and enables donors to donate up to £20, while charging a 5% transaction fee. Donr also offers donations made by debit card.
Despite the transaction charges, Text Giving is still great for one-off fundraising, or for churches who have many visitors or is in a tourist area, as well as events with lots of young people. It is recommended that churches set up a Donations Platform and purchase a card reader before setting up Text Giving, as they are still the best forms of income generation for parishes.
Online giving can bring in revenue from people who cannot physically get to church or no longer live nearby. It can also be useful when collecting payments such as wedding fees, if you do not want to give out the church's bank account details.
When considering an online giving platform for your website:
- It needs to be easy. If a transaction takes longer than 30 seconds, 85% of people will not complete the transaction. Keep it simple!
- Is it clearly displayed on your website? Think about how a visitor to your website would find out how to give online. Consider putting a link on the front page of the church website.
- Is Gift Aid claimed automatically? Most, if not all, have this option
- Automatically thanking people: the donor should receive an email acknowledgment of their donation
- The cost. Is there a one-off set up fee, or a monthly charge? What percentage or other transaction charges are involved?
The Parish Resources website has more information and links to each provider.
Alternatively, contact Sarah Vullo (below)