Churches are becoming more aware of the importance of mobile tech. Everywhere you look, “mobile” has become a core part of the broader church technology discussion. Mobile engagement via church apps, mobile giving, mobile communication, and mobile scheduling points in the direction that everything is going mobile.
Of course, all this talk is for good reason as smartphone adoption has skyrocketed around the world. Essentially every single adult walking into your church comes fully equipped with an app using, emoji sharing, social media connecting, personal shopping–a mini-supercomputer in hand. It's plausible that folks might even walk right past you on the way into church while looking down at their screens!
The evidence is clear, but that doesn’t mean every question has been answered. So we put together a few answers to common questions asked by churchgoers. Below are seven common questions we encounter as we work with churches to help them embrace mobile giving. After reading this article, if you have more questions, be sure to check out our full mobile giving guide.
Question #1 – Is my information secure?
After all the credit card and personal information breaches (Home Depot, Target, etc), it’s easy to understand why church members want to know more about their personal information and its security. You likely have the same concerns when sharing your banking or credit card information. Check with your mobile giving provider to ensure they’re solution is PCI Compliant where credit card information is handled (meaning they adhere to the standards and regulations outlined for the payment card industry) and that they use 256 bit SSL when transmitting data over the Internet. Also, be sure administrators on your account (those with access to the giving and member data) don’t have the ability to see full card or bank account information for any individual donor.
Question #2 – What if I type in the wrong amount?
You’ve seen it before. People will give $100 when they meant to give $10, or $500 when they meant to give $50. A good mobile giving app will have an administrative interface for church staff that allows those administrators to issue refunds with the click of a button. When you have the right tool, it becomes very easy to let members know they can reach out to the church office to request a refund.
Question #3 – Will I receive confirmation that my gift went through?
It seems obvious these days, but some will ask about receiving an email receipt confirmation of their gift after donating through a mobile giving app. Be sure your mobile giving app sends email receipts immediately after a donation is made. Additionally, be sure that receipt email contains all the proper information to ensure it meets tax receipting criteria set forth by the IRS.
Question #4 – Will gifts made via a mobile app show up on my end-of-year gift statement?
The simple answer to this question should be yes. A good mobile giving solution should provide you with all three of the below options so you can issue end of year tax receipts in the way that best fits with your normal practices:
- Auto-generate end-of-year giving statements for each donor so you can easily customize and distribute via email and snail mail.
- Integrate with your church management software in order to push over gift data in real time, making it easy for you to ensure the full giving history is intact for each donor when you issue end of year statements.
- Make it simple to export all giving data by an individual for a given time frame (eg. Jan – Dec 2017).
Question #5 – What will appear on my bank account or credit card statement?
Donors often look at their credit card or bank account statements to check for anything that looks off. People diligently manage their finances to be sure there are no fraudulent charges on their account. With that in mind, it’s important that you can customize the “statement or billing descriptor” your donors see on their credit or bank statements. The billing descriptor is the way a company's or church's name appears on a credit card statement. It is used by the customer or donor to identify who a payment or donation was made to on a particular transaction.
Question #6 – Can I setup and cancel my recurring giving?
Recurring giving done well in a mobile fundraising app is of huge benefit to churches, and many will use this feature if it’s simple for people to activate and configurable to their preferred schedule. Be sure your church giving app allows people to set up recurring gifts by entering the amount and setting a duration (weekly, monthly, etc.).
Question #7 – Can I see my giving history?
Donors prefer having access to their donor history in order to see their faithfulness throughout the year and catch up on giving when needed. Before mobile giving, churches often mailed end-of-year giving letters to their members, and many still do this, but with a good mobile giving app donors should be able to access and view their giving history whenever they’d like with a couple of clicks. Be sure your giving tool has this options so when you’re asked you can confidently answer, yes.
We sincerely hope the common questions (and answers) from church members help to equip you and your staff and that information provided helps anyone looking for a mobile giving provider to partner with. If you’re looking for more information on how to evaluate and select the right solution, read the definitive guide to mobile giving for churches. I am certain you’ll find all the info you need to make an informed decision.