Online Giving: 5 Reasons Your Church Should Move Beyond Paypal

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 7:50:00 AM Categories: Online Giving
Rate this Content 0 Votes

The big idea of online giving is really simple: improve church stewardship.  Online giving is one component in building a generosity culture in your church.  Paypal is a great way to get started with online giving, but here are a few guidelines to help you determine when the time is right to switch to a tool designed to help you expand your online giving toolbox:

1.    When you want to revisit your stewardship development strategy. Online giving has been around awhile and Paypal was an easy way for a church to be able to say they offer online giving.  Our online giving partner, Ardent Giving Solutions, provides you videos, bulletin inserts and other tools to help engage people in online giving.  I like the idea of reusable cards that say "I gave online" that people can put in the plate when it is passed.  Many stewardship consultants encourage churches to set a goal of 30% of total giving being online.  I've seen churches with over 50%.

2.    When you want to improve the online giving experience. Churchteams allows donors to split their designations, review their contribution history, and save credit card or bank information.  It allows the church finance team to personalize giving pages.  Paypal just lets you save your bank or credit card information.

3.    When you want to bring event registration and online giving under one umbrella.  Our event registration seamlessly integrates with our online giving making it easy to set up an event with a payment requirement, paste the link on your website, manage registrants in one place, and track payments and any other registration related attributes.  

4.    When you want to streamline accounting for your online giving.  Paypal funds have to be manually transferred to your checking account with fees removed.  This can be a real challenge for your bookkeeper.  Churchteams / Ardent deposits the full amount of the donation, provides access to a deposit reconciliation report, and all fees for the month are charged in one transaction at the end of the month.    

5.    When you average $4,000 per month online giving or more. Churchteams traditional pricing of $39 per month with our interchange pricing (i.e. varies depending on the card, not a fixed amount, averages about 1.9%) is at a break-even point compared to Paypal when online donations reach $4k per month.  From this point on, our pricing is a better value than Paypal.  Plus, you have all the benefits of an integrated online giving system mentioned above. 

Here are a few more details related to costs.  We recently introduced an optional fixed pricing program that offers our customers a rate of 2.95% and 25 cents a contribution, a monthly service fee of $15 and an annual PCI compliance fee of $129.  The benefit here is that you take advantage of our stewardship strategy and event registration features at a lower cost for a smaller monthly volume.  Here is how this compares to PayPal:  

·     If you received $1000 in monthly online giving you would enjoy all the benefits of Churchteams online giving for an additional expense of only $17.75 more than PayPal. 

·     On $2000 the difference is $25.25.  

·     If you average $4000 each month or more in online giving Churchteams traditional pricing will actually be less expensive than PayPal or our fixed pricing. 

So, under $4,000 Paypal is cheaper, but not by much.  Compare the slightly higher monthly cost of Churchteams to that of the administrative cost and time spent on manually managing giving reports, deposits, ease of giving to unlimited funds, and all the other features mentioned above.If this sounds interesting to you, please contact our partner and great friend at Ardent, Bryce Collman.  You can reach him at 877-505-3260 or  Bryce will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Boyd Pelley. Is Co-founder and CEO of He served for 18 years as Discipleship Pastor, Church Administrator and Family Pastor for churches in New Mexico, Nebraska and Texas. He has a bent toward improving processes and a passion for making disciples. Married for 27 years, he and Pam have 2 grown children.