Due to COVID-19, Canadian churches are longer meeting in person. In light of this, many congregations have opted to live-stream Sunday morning services or other similar options. While we hope that churches can return to meeting together soon, it may be many weeks before that happens.
Because churches are not meeting, some Christians who want to support their local church may be practically cut off from doing so. For that reason, churches may want to open online giving options. Here are three ways to do that.
First, use e-transfers
Most banks allow email money transfers. The congregant would need to login to their online bank account and send a money transfer to the church’s email address. If the church has not set up automatic deposits through their bank, then they will need to accept the money transfer.
The major benefit of email money transfers is that there is no transaction fee. The negative is that someone cannot use a credit card, and it may be harder to set up than other online giving options.
Second, use giving applications
Paypal, Canada helps, and Benevity are online giving platforms that allow donations through credit card payments. Each service will take a percentage of the donation.
Paypal takes 1.6% plus $0.30 for each donation. Churches will need to write donation receipts themselves through Paypal unless you also unroll your church in the PayPal Giving Fund for Canada. However, the giving fund does not allow recurring payments whereas standard donations to Paypal do. Since most churches rely on regular donations, the first option here likely makes better sense.
CanadaHelps takes 3.5% of monthly donations (4% for one-time donations) but allows for recurring gifts as well as providing tax receipts for donors. So while they do take a higher percentage than Paypal does (remember that Paypal also takes $0.30 per donation), they also offer convenient services for churches. If you do not have a dedicated financial person at your church, this may be a good option.
Benevity takes a variable percentage from donations with a merchant fee of 2.5% or less. They also write tax receipts so that you do not have to do so.
Third, use text-to-give services
A third option is to use text-to-give services, which allow someone to use their phone to donate to their local church.
Tithy.ly offers text-giving for churches. This means that congregants can simply text to donate to your church. You will be given a specific number, and you can share this with your church. While it is free to sign up for a church giving package, Tithy.ly takes 2.9% plus $0.30 from each non-Amex credit card donation.
There are a number of other organizations that will support text-to-give options. For example, txt2give provides monthly options that may help churches with recurring giving. Another option is Giving Center.
While I do not want to endorse any single giving platform, I did want to share with you some options that your church can pursue going forward. I do not know the exact situation of your local church, and it may be unhelpful to transition to online giving or pastorally unwise (if, for example, many have lost their jobs).
So please receive this short article in the spirit that I have written it: to provide churches with options or ideas for how to transition to online giving.