Wednesday, September 15, 2010

We have waited a long time...

... to look into debit card giving solutions at Catalyst Church. We have had online giving set-up where people can send a bank payment to the church and even have a Paypal account where people give occasionally.

These things are good, but they require people to think about giving once they leave the church parking lot.

Given the age of our congregation it occurred to me a over a year ago that many of our folks do not carry a checkbook out of the house and rarely have much cash on them as they use their debit card like cash. For this crowd, giving at church is as antiquated as playing 8-tracks in their vehicles.

I was talking with a friend last week about some of the "church" giving kiosk solutions and discussing the costs associated with these systems. There is usually an upfront investment of $3000 on the low end and more than $5000 on the high end depending on the unit you choose. These systems are slick as they have a touch screen monitor and some pretty cool back-end reports. On top of the initial investment there is at least a $50 monthly fee on top of the processing fees that are paid with any system you choose.

My buddy told me that there were far less expensive options available through Sam's Club and so yesterday I did a bit more research. I found that for as little as $269 initial investment and $0 monthly fees, we can begin using this technology in our church. The machinery is not nearly as fancy or pleasing to the eye, but I don't think it will matter a bit. It is simple, quick, and easy and I hope it opens the door to our younger generation to receive the blessing we receive when we become faithful in partnering with God in the area of finances.

I know that some people may have issues with the church having a machine set-up to receive donations, but we have thought about it for a long-time, sought wise council, and feel it can be done tastefully and inconspicuously. The processing fee for debit cards is minimal, just .30 cents per donation so it is not like we are losing lots of money each time the technology is utilized.

I don't have time to do the research but I wonder if folks had issue with the church accepting checks when they first came out instead of cash. We try to be relevant in every way at Catalyst, why not be relevant in our giving options as well?

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