Receiving donations online has never been more crucial
In the step-by-step article, we look practically at different payment platforms/companies, creating an online giving page on your website, and adding a giving button to A Church Near You.
Being able to receive donations online has never been more crucial. Thankfully, it’s simple to set up an online giving account, and once you’ve set up your account you will be able to link it to your church website, A Church Near You profile and social media page making it easy for people to give.
Step 1 – Register with a payment platform/company
Visitors will need to enter their credit or debit card details for you to receive their donations, and so choosing a company who will take those details and process the payment on your behalf is the first step. Common terminology you may hear and read is that you need a ‘payment gateway’ and a ‘merchant bank account’. You need both, and historically these would have been two different companies, often one an internetbased company and one a financial institution. However, these days most providers offer both elements in one package and to simplify matters the language may not refer to either, instead calling themselves a ‘payments platform’.
There are many providers to choose from including:
- If you use iKnowChurch, ChurchDesk or ChurchSuite to manage your church’s administration, these platforms offer online giving so I would recommend setting up online giving through them so you have integration between your online giving records and your regular members’ information.
- SumUp who are recommended by Parish Buying – they charge 1.95% per donation and no annual charge when you sign up through Parish Buying. When you sign up with Parish Buying you will receive ‘Premium membership’ for a Give a Little account which processes your Gift Aid payments. This membership is free up until 31 December 2020 but from 1 January 2021 you’ll be charged an additional fee of £10 per month or £108 paid annually.
- Stripe – they charge 1.2% + 20p per donation (if you use the account primarily for donations and not sales) and no annual charge. Their advertised rate is 1.4% + 20p, but once you’ve registered you can tell them you’ll be using them primarily for donations and they’ll reduce the rate.
- Gocardless – they charge 1% + 20p per donation, capped at £4. For transactions of £2,000 or more, they charge an additional 0.1% fee on the portion of the transaction above the £2,000 threshold. Gocardless currently are unable to process Gift Aid payments.
- MyGiving.Online from Data Developments – they charge 1.9% + 20p and an annual charge of £15 per month (with a free 30 day trial). Similar to ChurchSuite, MyGiving.Online is a complete online donations management system designed specifically for churches.
The set-up process for each of these is relatively pain free. You will normally need to:
- complete the online application giving your contact details to create the account;
- provide proof of ID from one or more of your PCC members; some ask you to provide proof that the bank account you want the donations to be paid into belongs to the church (normally a copy of the bank statement is sufficient)
- some may require a link to your website or a copy of your annual accounts.
Once they have completed all of their due diligence checks your application will be approved and you will be able to start taking donations.
Step 2 – Create an online giving page on your website (optional but worthwhile)
How to create a new web page on your existing website will be different depending on the website system you use, but it should be as simple as clicking ‘add a new page’ or similar and giving it the name ‘Give now’ or ‘Donate here’ for example.
Write some text explaining why you are looking for online donations. Below is some suggested text from the Church of England digital team:
During this difficult time when our church buildings are closed, we are still a church; meeting virtually for prayer services and fellowship, loving our neighbours by offering practical support to the vulnerable, and caring for our communities. The work of our church is reliant on people’s generosity, a generosity that is a hallmark of a lived-out faith and a testament to it.
We give to our church in a variety of ways, but with the closure of all our buildings we cannot receive all the gifts that we usually would, so we really need your help now. If you are able to give more at this time, please visit our online donations page by clicking here.
You might also like to record a short video of 30 seconds which will engage visitors in hearing why their donation will make a difference. You can also include the pre-made graphical video created by the national giving team at www.parishresources.org.uk/encouraging-giving-online.
Make sure you prominently feature the link to your online donations platform.
Step 3 – Add a giving button to your A Church Near You pages
When logged in to your ACNY church page, click on the pencil by your church name on the left-hand side, then scroll down to the bottom of the ‘Edit your Homepage’ screen and you will come to the Charity and Donations section. Tick the ‘take online donations box’ (this will switch on the donation button on your ACNY page) and then complete the boxes in the form. Once done, click ‘save’.
More details and a step-by-step guide are here.
Step 4 – Tell your church members and the local community they can give online
Tell your regular church members and your local communities that they can give online to support you. If you don’t spread the word many won’t think to look, and I’ve heard many encouraging stories of those who’ve printed something in a village magazine or posted to social media and received donations as a direct result.
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