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Steps for Safer Online Giving Experience

Steps for Safer Online Giving Experience

Donating money to your intended cause has never been easier. There was a time when you could donate money only when someone representing the cause came knocking on your door, or you had to walk down to a local centre.

The internet has given nonprofit fundraising a renewed hope. E-giving is easy, convenient, and by a general consensus, safer too. That is not to say that risks aren’t involved. As is common with all good things, there are a few people who are determined to spoil this experience for everyone. Let this not scare you though.

GiveCentral understands the risks involved and we are determined to make sure this doesn’t deter your goodwill. So, read on! And with the tips we’re giving you, you’ll never have to think twice before deciding to give online.

  1. Know you cause.

This is true regardless of risks involved. But the risks make it all the more important for you to know the cause for which you’re contributing to. Research the cause and the means through which you’re trying to donate to the cause. Learn the particulars and the important dates regarding the cause. With this information, you can be an informed donor.

  1. Know where your money will reach.

It is important to learn details about your recipient. This is not limited to the name and location of the organization you’re donating to, but also includes knowing more about their account details. Make sure you’re donating to a bank account registered to an organization as opposed to a bank account registered to a person. As a general rule of thumb, a bank account registered to a person is something you’re supposed to stay away from.

  1. Practice safe e-giving.

Make sure you don’t enter your card details any other place than required. Don’t send over card details to a third party handler if he or she tells you that they’ll take care of it.

Make sure that when you enter the payment portal, the portal is secured with a “https” encryption. Just observe the URL of the payment page and see if there’s a “https” at the beginning. And if there is, you’re mostly good to go and if there isn’t, you should contact the organization and ask them why their payment portal isn’t secured.

  1. Obtain adequate contact information.

Make sure you know the contact details of the concerned persons at the organization you’re donating to. Write down the name, address, email ID, and other contact details in a safe place before donating money. Establish contact and make sure you know them well enough before you’re comfortable enough to donate.

  1. Be wary of spam emails.

Spam solicitations are very commonplace. And more often than not, spam emails asking for money are scamsters and fraudsters. That is not to say that all of them are. After all, email solicitation are still one of the most ways to ask for money. So when you receive a spam email asking for money, make sure you do the proper research before even responding to the email.

  1. Store receipts.

Once you’ve donated money to your intended cause, your job is mostly done. But there’s one last thing you must keep in mind. Make sure you store a copy of the payment receipt of your contribution, either in digital form or a printout. Make sure you store these receipts in a safe place. You never know when you might need them.

With these tips in mind, GiveCentral hopes you’ll have a pleasant e-giving experience.

How To Evaluate Your Online Giving Solutions

Every year we get a little close to going digital. Just think of it – media is digital, cameras are digital and so is the retail. According to the most recent survey by the Giving Institute more and more donors give online. So, it is important for churches to adapt to these changes too and give their members the option of .

Online payment process

As you think giving an online options for your donors try these three electronic payment types, see what your church members think:

  1. Through their credit card
  2. Electronic Fund Transfer for recurring donation
  3. Automated Clearing House

Evaluating an e-giving solution

As there are numerous programs that offer the service of online-giving, a church should be cautious as to what solution they choose for their congregation.

Here are a few points to remember as you choose the right program:

  1. The frequency of giving: Is the program able to give multiple options for fund transfers? Are there any schedules for recurring donations? The donor should be capable of linking their bank accounts for donation capability with weekly, biweekly or monthly automatic fund deduction capability. Donating frequently should be made easy.
  2. Easy to pledge options: Will the donor be able to pledge an amount for donation and then the payment for the pledge is scheduled over a certain period of time? Can the donor make a down payment on the pledge? Will he/she be able to make a down payment from one account and then charge the rest to another account?
  3. Confidentiality preference: Will a donor be able to remain anonymous?
  4. The process of transaction: What is the duration of the process of fund transfer? How much time does it take for the money to go from donor’s account to bank’s account? How much time does the application processing take these data? And what and how much fee is charged for the process?
  5. Security: Does the program comply with the guidelines of a safe transaction?
  6. PCI compliance
  7. 128-bit secure browser connection for safe data handling
  8. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) for information encryption.
  9. End to end data management. Donor’s card details and account information should be discreet. There should be no third party involved in handling the fund transfer.
  10. Price: When buying any product or service the top concern is the cost. Many service providers give unrealistic promises of the increase in the number of online participants in given number of year. But such predictions hardly meet their promise and are very misleading. Much of their charging fees is unexpected and can greatly hamper the collection capability of a church. Fees that are related to the size of the church or factors like how many already are giving and how many will readily switch to online giving, all these matters greatly when you are choosing a software solution. Hidden fees can bury the church in expenses that will make the service exorbitant.
  11. Advertising: Will the vendor also provide the service of promotion? Often the staff at church is not ready to encourage people to donate beyond the walls of the church. So asking the church members to become interested in the new online giving method will require some assistance. You will need a service provider who will help in launching and promoting the program. Many a time the participation in online giving can see a sudden spike but then slows and falls down gradually. The program should be capable analyse giving habits and advise long-term strategies for donation collection.

Online giving should be promoted in every way possible even to members who aren’t that frequent to church. Promoting online giving can be a hard task if the attendance lays low throughout the year. Integration with any social platform can greatly boost exposure of the new giving habit to other members. Attracting potential donors has to be a constant effort. It is imperative to look into expenses of these promotions before you decide on a service provider.

  1. Information: Will the reports of online contribution be available, and in what form? Will the integration of information be automated to enable transfer of data to donation management software? An efficient bookkeeper tracks the donor by funds donated to measure the effective way of using a program. But if the data handling is too complicated a person can falter and margin of error becomes bigger. Also, it shouldn’t be too overwhelming so as to teach a new staff member. The service provider should offer teaching tools and train to help the church staff in organizing data in the most efficient way.
  2. Updates: The vendor should provide frequent updates to keep pace with the changing habits of the donors and to sync with the collection strategies of the churches. The program should be up-to-date and have the most contemporary functionalities. If the application for mobile phones is available then it should provide flexible payment methods and easy donation process. As more people are using smartphones these days, online finance option is now steadily being used by people. Every detail ranging from likeability and functionality of the application to the security provided should be updated as frequently as possible to adhere to changes in need and demand. This will help in maximizing participation in online giving.

Just like you would go to a store to get your groceries, so should you go online to reach your donors for charitable giving.  By going where your donors are you are increasing the likelihood of engaging them not just for that collection, but for recurring long-term charitable relationship. Online giving should be a top priority on your long list of things to do. But remember, we are here to help make your fundraising effort easier. Talk to us by leaving a comment below!

Benefits of Giving To Charity and some positive effects of donating.

Benefits of Giving To Charity

In our busy lives, we hardly can find time to help others, even though we so much want to. The empathy of others plight is the great connection that we feel as humanity in whole. But given the fact that we are living such a fast-paced life that this connection we want to feel, takes a back-step. We can’t all volunteer for a charity or organize humanitarian efforts and a regular day, but what we can do instead is support a charity and give in whatever way we can so that they are enabled to do such tasks and dedicate time to making things better in the world.

Of all the things you can do besides volunteering work is to donate to a charity. Although this also can be restrained at some times as money can be too tight at home. But even with a situation like this, there is hardly any reason to turn your back on charitable giving. Because we often give away our money unconsciously, like asking a waiter to keep change after your meal because you don’t need loose change jingling in your pocket.

But when it comes to consciously donating the money we often think of a reason not to. Often excuses like, ‘oh my donation hardly matters for such a huge cause’ or something like ‘the charities are all scams and the money won’t go to the deserving’.

When giving to charities even small donations matter a lot. People are equally aware of the poverty and misery around the world, and some people genuinely feel sorry about it. But most think it is hardly in their power to bring any changes. When the truth is that they hold most of the power.

And I use ‘they’ because we often miss the bigger picture where a whole community comes together to help someone. A collective effort always means success. Looking at the efforts as individually someone’s alone might be discouraging for a person. But when we look at what is possible at the hand of a group of people or a mass of supporters, the task becomes less daunting.

Charitable giving is the only way to solve poverty. Intervening in a poor society in an effective way can help break the cycle of generating one poor generation after another by that society.  Helping a community by providing it with effective healthcare will also reduce any future downfall of society and economy. Medical aids can help in the growth of that community’s financial support. And when this happens, that community will become self-dependant. When giving in an effective charity your donation in accumulation directly correlates to the progress of the receiver not just for today but for generations to come.

But money is the last thing that unites us, what does is the empathy to help each other. Not only is it beneficial for the society as whole but also to each one of us at a personal level. Some positive effects of donating are as follows:-

Feeling of Bliss

In a controlled experiment done by the National Institutes of Health, where the test subject was asked to donate a portion of their salary in whatever way, whatever amount seemed fit and whenever they wanted to donate. With these open parameters, the participants donated at their will. But it was found that with every donation there was an increased activity in the pleasure center of the brain. It is surprising to realize, even by the participants who might have seen giving away their hard earned money away, as a negative thing. But when they realized that their donation was bringing smiles on the receiver’s face, when they realized their little loss is actually a big gain for someone else, their attitude towards the act of donation became positive.

Benefit for Others

You might live in a country or a place where hardships are relevantly smaller than the ones in lesser developed countries. While we can wait for the right charity to come along seeking our help for their cause, people who are in need of your support right at this moment. There won’t be a right time to donate (donate whenever it is possible) and there is no right amount to donate (donate whatever little you can). Your money will help someone and help them to help someone else in return. What we fail to realize is that our one act is just a part of the chain reaction that will create a better community and hence a better world.

Tax Exemptions

Speaking of personal benefits, your donation helps in reducing your taxes. When you file for the tax return every year just mentioning your IRS approved transactions of donation, done throughout the year will help in reducing the amount of your taxable income. This is really helpful as ultimately it will end up in you paying a lot less money in taxes than originally.

Giving is convenient

Donating to a charity is the easiest way to nurture your philanthropy activity.  Yes, you can go ahead and vouch for volunteering for any charitable organization, but with the fast paced world today it is hard to engage yourself in such activities. It can often deter people from helping out. What they don’t realize that donating is equally liberating feeling.

Building Purpose in Life

Often we think about what we are meant to do in our life. Most spend time earning and saving money to survive and live a life of content. But what we don’t pay attention to is our own desire to make a prominent effect in the world and find a purpose.

There are others who have the same feelings and when a charity brings these people to work for a cause, their shared belief in the cause and their humanitarian ideologies will inspire others also. Being able to make an impact with your efforts in the real world will give the desired meaning and purpose to life. The simple act of giving can anchor your life and give a new navigation to it.

Inspiring the Next Generation

Kids often learn from their parents. If you are thrifty your kid will be empathizing towards the need of others. This, in turn, will create a chain reaction of generations to come that won’t care to help anyone else and the world will end up in selfish hands. So do donate whenever it is possible and then let your kid know. Talking to your kid about how your little effort will help someone, will only inspire the next generation and the ones to come after, to care.

Creating a Circle of Motivated People

Sharing the success story of the charity which you support will increase your respect in the eyes of your friends and family. When you become an active part of social charity you not only become an inspiration for your peers but also create a circle of motivated and inspired people who will be encouraged to donate and give to charities.

Helping in any Measure Possible

You don’t need to be a millionaire and make substantial donations to be able to see changes that you want to influence. Remember even an ocean is made of only small drops of water. Your donation might be small but in a bigger perspective, it is an integral puzzle piece that makes the whole charity a success. Even a dollar that you donate can mean a day’s meal for a child in Africa. So the truth is you don’t need much to become someone’s hero.

Improving Your Own Respect for Money

Another good effect of donating on a regular basis is that you yourself get more careful about your finances. When you understand the little amount you donate is capable of initiating big changes and change someone’s life, you realize the value of money. And with time you steadily make a constant effort to be reasonable with your expenses.

So now you know how giving can elevate not just a society in general but also you. One of the best things you would ever do with your money is to give some of it to charity. The emotional value of donating is unparalleled. When you donate money, that money is no longer just a piece of paper. The one who receives it, for them it is a bag of rice or a blanket for cold weather. When you can see our money with that perspective, your meaning of giving will change for forever.

Even if the donating is blissful in a biblical sense, what really makes us happy is the understanding that when donating people on both ends, the one who donates and the one who receives the donation, both are equally benefited.

And this knowledge is the basis of the foundation of a prosperous world. By giving away we solidify our common welfare. A smaller donation has an equal effect as the bigger one. And when everyone realizes the success stories of the donation, our stories become an inspiration to one who hears, which ultimately creates a collective consciousness.

Individual Giving On the Rise | Charitable Giving Statistics 2017

Americans gave $390.05 billion setting a record in giving to various non-profits all across America, states Giving USA’s Annual Report on Philanthropy.
All donor types, except the bequest category, increased since last year. The total growth in charitable giving has increased 2.7 %, though many acknowledge it as a moderate growth. Even though there was a drop in mega gifts of more than $200 million, the collective donations by individual donors have gone up 3.9%. The smaller amounts still made it to be the majority of the donations and the individual donors made up to 72% of the donors.
According to the Giving USA Report, American philanthropy has seen its third consecutive year of growth. And with the increasing number of generous donors, there is only a positive growth in years to come.

Related: Individual Giving Sets a New Record in 2016 Giving USA Study Reports

The infographic below, created by The Giving USA, The Giving Institute illustrates the numbers and giving trends by sub sectors.

Giving-USA-2017-Infographic

About Giving USA.

Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy is the longest-running and most comprehensive report on charitable giving in the United States. The annual report of 2017 was released on 13th June.

tax deductible donations

Tax Time: Top 10 Reasons Donors Give

The mad dash to file personal income tax returns is on! With the April tax deadline looming, we thought it would be interesting to share insights on what drives donors to give. Hint: tax deduction doesn’t even make the top 10!Knowing the motivating factors behind charitable giving is critically important for successful fundraising. According to the recently released GiveCentral Insights on Nonprofit Giving report, altruistic motivations are the primary drivers for charitable giving. Overwhelmingly, Americans donate out of the goodness of their hearts, not because they have to or should for tax purposes. Faith and the desire to help others trump tax breaks.

Understanding why donors give is one piece of the fundraising puzzle. Armed with insights on donor behaviors, your challenge is to create strategies that tap into donor motivations. Communications should be a cornerstone of your strategic plan. From a compelling content marketing strategy to inspired storytelling, demonstrating how donor contributions make a real and meaningful difference to your mission can have a direct impact on your funding. Knowing how important a comprehensive communications plan is to your success, we will continue to share ideas and tangible tips on how to maximize your communications, so be sure to check back frequently. In the meantime, I’m signing off so I can go finish my taxes!  

Donor Preferences

Understanding Donor Preferences Means More Money

Individuals account for nearly three-quarters of the nation’s charitable contributions. While the reasons why they give vary, once thing is certain: The request to give resonated with them emotionally and motivated them to take action. Our recent Insights on Nonprofit Giving report revealed major motivators and donor preferences for charitable giving, including:

Motivating Factors

  • Want To…Not Have To Or Should. On the whole, Americans donate because they want to support causes that will help others or society. Fewer than a quarter of donors (22 percent) do so because of an obligation or sense of duty. Giving because it’s how they were raised was also cited as a reason to behave charitably (29 percent).
  • Helping Hands. To help people in need was the most often cited reason to give (58 percent), followed by feeling fortunate and wanting to give back (39 percent) and for religious reasons (29 percent). Contrary to popular belief, only 15 percent of respondents said they give for the tax deduction.
  • Emotional Connection. Nearly 20 percent of survey respondents said they were emotionally moved to donate by someone’s story, making donor communications a key component of every marketing plan.

Giving Preferences

  • Online Giving On The Rise. While donating in-person in cash is still a “comfort zone” across all age groups, electronic giving options are popular, with one in three Americans indicating such. Significantly, those with higher incomes show greater preference for electronic methods. In fact, 18 percent of those earning under $20K showed preference for electronic giving methods, whereas 44 percent of those earning more than $100K showed preference.
  • Credit And Debit Trumps Transfer. While 23 percent of those 18-34 years old said they prefer using credit or debit cards on computers, tablets and mobile devices, only 8 percent prefer using money transfer services on those devices for giving. The same preference for credit and debit payment options versus money transfer services holds true across all age brackets.
  • Regional Giving Differences. People living in the West donated the most, contributing to charity twice as much as people living in the Northeast ($1,224 and $599 on average respectively). Those in the South contributed on average $660, leaving those in the Midwest in last place with a $587 average total.

What’s The Takeaway?

So what does this all mean? Understanding the why behind donor contributions helps you nurture and strengthen those relationships, setting the stage for future donations and a long term relationship. It’s important to have both a strategic fundraising plan and sophisticated, multi-function tools in place to capitalize on your donors’ desire to support your cause.


Get The Survey ReportDownload a copy of GiveCentral’s Insights on Nonprofit Giving report, which features easy-to-implement recommendations borne from survey findings.

US Presidential Polls 2016

Red Gift, Blue Gift: How Giving Crosses Party Lines

It’s Super Tuesday. As thousands of voters head to the primary polls, I thought it would be interesting – and fun – to look at charitable giving patterns along political party lines. Our recent Insights on Nonprofit Giving report revealed some interesting partisan similarities and differences.

Where Party Lines Agree

According to the national survey, regardless of whether people identify as red or blue, they donate for the same reason – wanting to help people in need.What’s more, generally speaking, Democrats, Republicans and Independents prefer the same methods of giving – with top preferences being cash in-person and checks in the mail. For example,

  • In-person with cash:
    • Republicans, 33 percent
    • Democrats, 29 percent
    • Independents, 32 percent
  • By mail with a check:
    • Republicans, 28 percent
    • Democrats, 31 percent
    • Independents, 32 percent
  • By credit or debit card using a computer:
    • Republicans, 19 percent
    • Democrats, 23 percent
    • Independents, 19 percent

Where Party Lines Diverge

We are, however, divided when it comes to how much we give.Average contributions over the last 12 months by Democrats and Independents are roughly the same: $598 and $596, respectively. Republicans, on the other hand, average nearly double that amount at $1,146.

When looking at the median amounts, there is somewhat less deviation, though Republicans still lead the pack at $300, with Democrats and Independents in a dead heat at a median amount of $200.Other relevant statistics include:

  • Republicans may favor tax breaks: Republicans were almost twice as likely as Democrats to indicate they’d made a charitable contribution for a tax break: 19 percent and 10 percent, respectively. Though these statistics are generally within the survey’s margin of error, it may still be something to consider.
  • Feeling fortunate motivates Democrats more: Only 36 percent of Republicans gave because they “felt fortunate and wanted to give something back,” while that’s what inspired 42 percent of Democrats to give. In both cases, this was the second most popular reason to make charitable donations.

Democrats and Republicans rally together

The most popular reason for giving – “I wanted to help people in need” – was chosen by 56 percent of both Republicans and Democrats.

Across the board, the reasons cited for giving were altruistic. 58 percent said “I wanted to help people in need.” A significant 39 percent told us, “I felt fortunate and wanted to give something back.” And tied for third place were religious reasons and “It’s just part of how I was raised,” at 29 percent each. Only 15 percent of those polled indicated they donated because they “wanted a tax deduction.”While the survey results won’t tell us the candidates that will come out on top, it does provide some interesting insights. Perhaps we’re in less of a race than we might have thought.GiveCentral’s Insights on Nonprofit Giving report is full of other insights, tips and recommendations. Be sure to get your free report!Get The Survey Report

Charitable Giving

Would You Like a Larger Slice of the Charitable Giving Pie?

Giving Grows, but Religious Donations Still Slide

Great news for nonprofits was just released this week: donations grew in 2014! According to Giving USA, charitable giving in the United States increased by 7.1 percent overall, rising to $358 billion. This is even higher than the amount projected in 2013 and a level of giving unseen since before the Great Recession. Individual contributions made up 72 percent of the increase, so you can tell that people are feeling generous.

ALSO READ: Charitable Giving On the Rise for Second Consecutive Year

Religious Donations

Another encouraging discovery: the ongoing upswing in charitable giving increased by 5.4 percent in 2014, far outpacing the five-year average growth rate of 3.4 percent.And once again, religious organizations received the largest share of charitable dollars (32 percent) and the estimated amount contributed to religion reached its highest value ever. The downside? As a percentage of charitable giving, religious donations remain in a 30-year slide. Dropping from 54 percent in 1987 to 32 percent today, religion is claiming an ever-shrinking piece of the charitable pie.So what is a faith-based nonprofit to do?First, be aware that there is ever-growing competition for your donors’ time, attention, and generosity.Excellent causes abound, and they’re all asking for the same dollars you are. Don’t let this discourage you from telling your story, but get comfortable with the idea that you might not be a donor’s top priority on a given day (and try again later, of course).Second, give your donors a reason to notice you and not the other guy.Inboxes are filled with tempting offers, social media is chock-a-block with interesting links, and other demands for attention are almost literally everywhere you can imagine. Consider what you are doing differently to stand out, and highlight what makes your cause unique.Third, follow up graciously.A thank-you note is certainly in order for every donation, but stories of what-happened-next speak to both donors and prospects alike. Demonstrating the good work that you do encourages potential donors to support your efforts and makes current donors consider giving more.The findings from the 2015 Giving USA report are encouraging, but this news is only the whipped cream on our delicious pie. Don’t eat your slice and assume more is always on the way! Many ingredients are needed and we’ve got to keep doing the work that mixes them all together.To learn how GiveCentral has helped hundreds of organizations find the right mix, just ask! Sign up for a webinar or contact us here