by Lisa Sallach, St. Mary Parish
Lisa Sallach and Fr. Ken Gross connect to their Online Giving site
We here at St. Mary’s started offering Online Giving to our parishioners a little over a year ago. We are a small parish of about 220 families or so in southwest rural Iowa, and we had been toying with the idea of offering Online Giving, but we weren’t sure there was really a demand for it. A few people had mentioned it here and there, but the vast majority of people were happy just placing their tithes in the collection basket every week, and we weren’t sure that we had enough “technologically savvy” parishioners who did things like online banking and such.
Over the last few years, given the tough economic times, we had noticed a declining trend in tithes. So we decided to give the Online Giving some more thought. We weighed the pros and cons and decided that it was worth a try and we would give it a year. At first a few families signed up, but the more we talked about the benefits and how it would help the parishioners track their giving online in a very convenient manner, more and more parishioners signed up.
Having the marketing packet really helped, especially the Online Giving cards that parishioners can place in the collection basket. I think this is a good option for those of us who aren’t really comfortable not putting anything in the basket.
Within about two or three months, we noticed that just by offering Online Giving, it was the equivalent of receiving an extra week’s worth of tithes every month! This helped us predict our monthly giving and helped provide a little more cushion in our account for those unexpected expenses (which seem to occur frequently)!
The website has been very user-friendly and we have received no complaints. Also, the more we talk about Online Giving, the more people frequent our parish website (always a plus!). The majority of our parishioners still write checks, but little by little more people are signing up and regularly tithing online, and we are confident that over time a major portion of our parish will “go green” and get online and tithe.
Many of our parishioners travel, also, and miss some Sundays, so by setting up their account online, we don’t have to worry about having “light” weekends anymore. In these tough times, that has been a major source of relief for us. And by offering Online Giving, we are keeping up with the electronic times and evolving, which is good for any parish these days.
We devised a system for reconciling our donations we receive online and it’s been smooth sailing ever since. We look forward to more parishioners signing up and utilizing this great tool, and our parish receiving even more stability and predictability with our finances.
We never thought that it would have this big of an impact on our parish or our finances, but we have been delightfully surprised. We plan on continually marketing this option and hopefully making it grow even more!
Submitted by ParishSOFT User:
Lisa Sallach, Office Assistant
St. Mary’s Church
1510 Highland Ave
Red Oak, IA 51566