Wired PR Works by Barbara Rozgonyi

Real-izing Your Virtual Identity

Digital Donations: Can I Put My ATM Receipt in the Offering Plate?

Posted by barbararozgonyi on October 3, 2006

First saw this story about SecureGive’s  ATMs in churches on Boing Boing – the Chicago Tribune picked it up over the weekend.

Imagine being able to walk into your house of worship (or non-profit headquarters), swipe your debit card, punch in your PIN, enter the amount you want to give and get a receipt.

There. Done. No check to write (0r clear.)

No receiving stewards to count and record every receipt.

No waiting for funds. And you may even be able to direct dollars to specific missions.

As a member of our church’s stewarship team, I like this idea. It’s convenient for everyone, it’s quick and it’s a solution that everyone knows how to use.

But then the ushers wouldn’t have anything to collect and the whole offeratory section would drop from our service. Not good.

As a stewardship team member/marketer, I can see all kinds of possibilities for electronic collection centers in churches – in addition to collecting ATM receipts in the offering plate.

Here are a few . . .

– brand the ATM kiosk as a user-friendly church financial information center

– show current pledge balance

– offer a giving menu

– promote programs on receipts

– position the deposit as a gift

– show stats – highest and lowest amount given in a day

– use the monitor as a slide show

– personalize the welcome message

– send out a press release letting everyone know the kiosk is in place

– offer to accept donations for other charities

– install a drive-through or walk-up for off-hours in a weather-protected area

– report on giving through different channels and track what’s working

– partner with other businesses to offer discounts with the receipts

– offer an online payment option at the church’s website

– show progress towards reaching a goal

– center the ATM in a communications bank to draw interest

Options for churches who don’t have the funds to buy an ATM:

– set up a secure online shopping cart to collect funds

– offer an electronic payment option such as PayPal

– look into packaged programs such as Click and Pledge or Acceptiva

– show givers how to set up a recurring online payment from their bank account that goes directly to the church so that funds stream in at a steady pace

What do you think? Share your comments.

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One Response to “Digital Donations: Can I Put My ATM Receipt in the Offering Plate?”

  1. Ed Kohler said

    Sounds like a great idea. I believe some churches are already doing something similar with their websites where they offer tools for automatic withdrawal of donations weekly or monthly. But the ATM in the church would probably reach more of the prospective donors.

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