The thriving Catholic community of St. Agnes Parish has been a steadfast presence among the colorful lighthouses of Key Biscayne, FL since 1952. When St. Agnes was first formed, the parish initially served only three dozen families. Over the years, it has expanded to serve over 1500 families and establish itself as a place where people from all over the world can gather for worship as brothers and sisters of Christ.
It has also become a place where those in search of a Catholic education turn to educate the children in their families. With parishioners from around the globe and a substantial list of ministries and students, it is essential that the parish has a continuous flow of donations to support St. Agnes and expand ministry into their community.
Making the Transition
St. Agnes Parish had been using ParishSOFT Ledger & Payables, which is part of ParishSOFT Accounting, since 2014 after it was mandated by the Archdiocese of Miami. As the parish learned of the integration between ParishSOFT Accounting and ParishSOFT Family Suite, and how ParishSOFT Giving automatically posts contributions to ParishSOFT Offering and Pledges, the parish became interested in learning more about ParishSOFT Giving, our second-generation online giving software.
Then in 2017, the parish began experiencing issues with their online giving vendor and was even more interested in learning how ParishSOFT Giving would work with their existing software to save time among parish staff. Soon the parish made the decision to purchase ParishSOFT Giving to complement and integrate with ParishSOFT Family Suite.
How ParishSOFT Giving Serves the Parish
It took time for staff to learn the new system and while the transition for St. Agnes was not completely seamless, improvements in operations were immediately felt. According to Marcela Eraña, Stewardship Coordinator at St. Agnes Parish, “We quickly began using the forms in ParishSOFT Giving for registration and payment for everything at the parish, including school registration, ordering of school supplies, and religious retreats.”
Registration that previously had been done across multiple systems were now managed in one place. This provides easier access to the event, informs participants attending either school, only parishioners – or those that are both students and parishioners – and then report on that data in ParishSOFT Accounting or ParishSOFT Family Suite.
The flexibility of ParishSOFT Giving allows St. Agnes to collect from an increased number of recurring donors, and to use multiple funds to ease administrative work in the office.
Where They Are Now
The tireless efforts of Eraña and the rest of the staff at St. Agnes has resulted in substantial gains in getting parish families comfortable with the concept of tithing online and moving to ParishSOFT Giving. St. Agnes moved to ParishSOFT in the summer of 2017. By the end of 2017, the parish had only a few offertory givers in ParishSOFT Giving.
The parish began to use a combination of communication strategies to encourage their parishioners to become more comfortable with the concept of online giving, to trust the technology, and be encouraged to move from envelope giving to tithing online. With their new online giving software and the hard work of their parish staff, the total number of givers to the offertory fund using ParishSOFT Giving had increased to 277 by the end of 2018.
St. Agnes continues to promote online giving in several ways that have proven to be effective for the thriving parish. The parish has a link prominent at the top of the church’s website, making it easy for donors to find. St. Agnes promotes online giving in their bulletin and features a regularly updated pie chart that shows what percentage of the parish’s overall giving is done by envelope, online, and done anonymously.
By the end of 2017, St. Agnes had $21,115 donated to their offertory funds in ParishSOFT Giving. The amount donated to the parish’s offertory funds increased to $190,250 by the end of 2018. That is an 801.02% increase in offertory gifts in ParishSOFT Giving in just their first full year of using the software.
St. Agnes Parish has a team committed to faithfully serving their parish, local community and the Archdiocese of Miami. By God’s grace, they continue to live their mission to make still more room for all to encounter the love of Christ through the witness of the Catholic community. ParishSOFT is honored to be able to serve the people of St. Agnes as their technology partner! And we thank the parish for their example of hard work and dedication and pray for every blessing on their continued ministry in Key Biscayne!