Many of our Churches and other organizations, including the National Baptist Convention USA, INC., are embracing Givelify or other means of digital giving. The hope is to allow every generation / individual to be comfortable with how they give. For those who are at ease using cash, checks, or money orders, we are not trying to force a change. Keep doing what you are doing! Stay in your comfort zone.
We also want those who use digital devices with ease and already transact business via their cell phones and computers to stay in their comfort zone. They are the audience we have Givelify for, but we need to understand fully how to implement this tool. If we go to a grocery store and buy $10.00 worth of anything and pay with cash or check, the grocer gets the full $10.00. If we pay with a debit card, credit card, or any of the other methods of moving money electronically, the grocer pays a fee and thus gets less than the full $10.00. We still get $10.00 worth of whatever even though the grocer actually received less than $10.00.
Why do we bring this up? I had a conversation the other day with someone from another institution that uses Givelify. They said they heard concerns because people were only being credited for the amount actually received by the institution. To me, this is wrong. Whatever the fee, it should be a part of our cost of doing business. Our members should always receive credit for the full amount they contribute. Yes, its more complicated to show (and credit to the donor) the full amount coming in then deduct the fees but it’s the right thing to do. Our prayer is that any cost will be easily absorbed by the fact that we’re receiving more donations more frequently because those people who are not at home with checks and cash now have a means to give comfortably.
And oh, by the way, if you’re allowing payment for things you have to pay for (The hotel is charging $40.00 per person for the Christmas party), it’s o.k. to ask for whatever percentage the fee is as a convenience charge (so you get the full $40.00 to pass on to the hotel). With donations, even if they donate $7.00 to make sure you get $5.00, they should always get credit for the full $7.00.
We also need to be able to explain this to our members so they fully understand. Many of them are in a position where their donations impact their taxes. We need to insure they get the full benefit of their gifts to us even if we pass fees along when dealing with goods and services. (That $40.00 for admission to the Christmas party is probably not tax deductible anyway since they’re receiving something of value for their money).
I’m not a lawyer or tax professional so take this with a grain of salt. If you have doubts or questions, talk it over with someone who is.