Living Stone Worship Center is a thriving church community of approximately 350 in a small community of about 45,000 people situated on the border of Texas and Mexico. They believe that church should be simple. And by “simple,” they mean “relevant, practical, and uncomplicated.” This conviction is reflected in their vision, to “Save the Lost and Disciple the Saved.”
Recently, Living Stone made some changes to accept tithes and donations through their website and via text-to-give. We sat down with Associate Pastor Brian Sisneros to talk to him about their giving strategy (which includes using MoGiv, one of our site sponsor’s giving solutions):
What is your church’s giving philosophy and what were you using for online giving previously to MoGiv?
We believe in the transformational power of generosity, what it does for the individual doing the giving and for the purpose that giving supports. Generosity is one of the core values of our ministry. We believe in being generous with our time, talents, resources and finances.
We are somewhat new to the online giving arena. We have only been offering online giving through our website for about a year and a half. The general populous of our community is not very tech driven, so we had to combat some culture paradigms and dispel the myth that online giving was not safe. We started with one payment gateway but after attending a conference our Lead Pastor challenged us to find a payment platform that offered text message giving. That is how we found MoGiv.
What are some of the features (both front end and back end) that you like about MoGiv?
There are several features that we like about MoGiv. First and foremost is the ability for short code text message giving and secondly the seamless integration over our different platforms, i.e. website, church app and text giving.
We also like the fact that batch totals are paid daily. With our previous payment gateway provider they were paid out monthly.
Lastly, I would say excellent customer service. The way MoGiv processed their reports was not compatible with our accounting protocols and Kent was willing to get on the phone with our Administrator to come up with a solution that would work for us.
Describe the integration for taking online giving through your church website. How has this increased your donation intake?
Another part of our giving philosophy is what I call the “integrity of transparency.” When our supporters click on that link they are seamlessly directed to the dash board where they can monitor the progress of each campaign. They can see what is coming and what is not coming in. As of right now digital giving only accounts for about 30% of our monthly income we have seen it steadily increase over the last six months.
How does text-to-give play into your overall giving strategy?
Short code giving was the driving factor in selecting MoGiv as our payment gateway. We foresaw that texting was the future of banking and giving in general and we wanted to get ahead of the curve. We believe that the majority of our giving will eventually be through text messaging.
How has online and text giving assisted your church in bringing in more donations?
When we rolled out MoGiv we started capturing around $2,500 to $3,000 of new giving right away. We were seeing givers that had never given before.
How does your church market online giving and overall giving including text-to-give (bulletin, online, pulpit, etc.)?
Due to some of the cultural challenges we felt our best approach would be the pulpit. We took time in our Sunday worship experience and presented slide presentation which showed step-by-step how they could give through the various platforms. We also created business cards with instructions on how to download our church app and give through the app. Finally, we have the information on our website.
What would you recommend to other churches looking to find a giving platform that works for their church?
The ministry or organization should first develop a giving or funding strategy, outlining goals and objectives. To many churches take a “funding by default” approach instead of “funding by design.” Then find a giving platform that fits their strategy. They should definitely not try a one-size-fits-all approach. What works for one organization may not work for theirs.
Secondly, if they are not tech savvy they need to find a vendor that will take the time to walk them through the enrollment process and roll out or they may not have a successful implementation.
Thanks to Brian Sisneros at Living Stone Worship Center for all his generous advice!