We are a very active middle to moderate income community of 6,000 registered families, our population is racially diverse and generational. Our population is 25% Hispanic and that # is growing. The parish is 54 years old and we have a large parish supported school serving elementary – 8th grade 700 students. We receive approximately 1300-1400 weekly donations through the offertory at Mass or online. Average age of parish members is 45 years old based on parish database records. We have 71 active parish ministries/organizations and we follow Stewardship as a model/guide for giving. Biblical tithing (10% - 4% parish 1% Diocesan Appeal, and 5% to other charities, outreach) is the common goal we are working toward achieving. We use 1 envelope or donation (request) weekly to meet all of the needs of the parish community. We have no second collections other than those mandated by the Bishop’s or from Rome.
2. What did you do to promote Online Giving and to maximize parishioner enrollment?
We used our bulletin, the website, letters from the pastor & direct mail through the envelope packets (included letters in the envelope packet and specific “How to” instructions). We also recruited volunteers to promote online giving in the parish center after masses to personally assist members to “sign up”. We also regularly promote online giving at every ministry fair and major giving opportunity, annual parish renewal, etc. [See at the bottom for a bulletin message]
3. What have been the results of the Online Giving campaign?
We began with 327 givers participating in online giving before aggressively promoting which led us to switching the program to the OSV solution. With personalized marketing tools and targeted communication we have grown the program within a year to over 600 givers and our goal was to double the number of on line givers when we made the change. Our online giving donations are on average 20% higher than the regular envelope donations.
4. What feedback from your parish community have you received about your online giving program?
Our parishioners have been extremely positive about the on line giving option. The convenience, giving options (ways to schedule their donations – daily, weekly, one time, etc.) are and added bonus for them. Many feel the option to use CC is a plus because they receive and use rewards for other benefits.
There have not been any negatives from our parishioners.
5. How much time/work does it take to manage the online giving program now?
Very little time on a weekly basis. How much time/work did it take to launch the program? It took over 6 months to switch to new giving program and implement the initial marketing/communications strategy. The program was very easy to switch over online. The time frame was for materials prep, proofing, production and scheduling of “how to” presentations, announcements, etc. For reluctant parishes with scarce staffing, would you say the time/work investment was worth it? Definitely, it is more than paying for the time investment and will continue to do so well into the future of our parish. Most parishes can do this w/ one to two staff members working on it to implement and then 1 staffer (business office) devoting max 6 -10 hours /month tops.
6. Have you reached your potential in terms of online giving?
I would like to be very clear that we do not feel we have reached our on line giving potential. We continually seek to improve methods of communication, promotion and awareness regarding online & other giving opportunities for our donors. We have just begun to scratch the surface.
7. Any general advice or best practices that you would recommend to parishes that might launch an online giving program in 2014?
My advice to other parishes considering offering online giving would be to dive in! Donors want convenience, security and simplicity. Create an experience to meet their needs. Their donation should be an interaction with your parish – make it personal, unique to your parish and create materials to promote a “relationship” with your donors.
Tina H. Sullivan
Director of Stewardship & Advancement
Nativity Catholic Church and School
705 E. Brandon Blvd.
Brandon, FL 33511-5443
“We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give." Winston Churchill
Bulletin Promotional Message for Online Giving:
Attn: Nativity Parish Members
We are pleased to offer a safe and secure Online Giving option for your recurring weekly, one time and seasonal donations (All Souls, Christmas, and Easter) to Nativity Catholic Church. This online option is fast, simple, secure and convenient and allows you to take advantage of using a bank account or credit card to make your donation. This means no more check writing or trying to remember your envelope before heading out the door to Mass.
You can access and update your account any day and at anytime!
For more information, frequently asked questions and to sign up for an Online Giving account go to:
www.nativitycatholicchurch.org and go to Online Giving link
Contact the Parish Finance Office at 813-681-4608 or the Stewardship Office at 813-657-9787 for additional information.
Thank you for considering the Online Giving option and making our parish a priority in your monthly and annual giving budget!