How A Donor Management System Can Support Your Church
February 3, 2023
How A Donor Management System Can Support Your Church
It can be said that CanadaHelps started in a church. In 1999, Ryan Little was sitting in a church pew when the giving basket came round and he reached into his pocket to find he didn’t have any cash. With the dotcom boom, Ryan thought there should be a better way to give and support charitable causes in the 21st century. The rest is history; since 2000, CanadaHelps has processed over 2.5 billion dollars, donated by Canadians to Canadian charities.
Churches, other religious organizations, and religiously active people continue to play a key part in Canada’s charitable sector. According to Statistics Canada, religious organizations receive the largest share of the total value of donations and the religiously active are more likely to give and give more. In 2010, religious organizations accounted for 40% of total donations; in dollar terms this means that $4.26 billion of the $10.6 billion given that year by Canadians was given to religious organizations. The volume of this generosity is awe inspiring and we want to ensure that Canada’s churches and religious organizations continue to leverage technology to make managing this easier.
In 2021, we launched the CanadaHelps Donor Management System (DMS) which does just that, it can help you to manage the generosity of your congregation, ensure each person is thanked, and receives a CRA compliant tax receipt no matter whether they give in-person at a Sunday sermon or give through preauthorized giving. In this blog we wanted to explore the ways a DMS can make a huge difference and support your church or religious organization.
Use CanadaHelps DMS to Support Giving In Your Congregation
Many churches use CanadaHelps customizable donation forms for their online giving, it’s easy to set-up, manage, without any contracts or upfront fees and takes care of tax receipts and thank you messages. Most importantly, it allows your congregation to give in a way that is accessible to them.
However, we know that churches continue to receive in many different ways because of the nature of their work. Every congregation is different but there will always be those who prefer to give through e-transfers, mailed cash and cheques, and in-person at their weekly sermon. It is great practice to provide diverse ways for your congregation to give but it can be a burden to manage these multiple sources of giving. The administration of it all can be particularly difficult when you’re relying on part-time or volunteer bookkeepers with minimal hours as is often the case.
CanadaHelps DMS creates a centralized record where your congregation’s giving information can be stored. Use it to record online or offline, one-time, or pre-authorized weekly or monthly giving. Secure payment processing is also built into the CanadaHelps DMS; it can handle both electronic fund transfers and cash and cheque, which are all popular forms of giving for churches. This can help you process one-time and recurring giving in person, over the phone, or when you receive donations through the mail. Any giving that you are already receiving from your CanadaHelps profile or customizable donation form will be automatically recorded.
Tax Receipting For All Giving
Beyond recording your congregation’s giving information, the Donor Management System makes it easy to provide a CRA compliant tax receipt to all those who have given. Being able to issue official donation receipts is a key benefit of being a registered charity in Canada. However, it can be hard to keep track of all the requirements, unique serial numbers and circumstances when tax receipts need to be reissued. Despite the best efforts of many charities, according to the CRA, approximately 89% of charities are not issuing receipts appropriately.
So, make tax receipts easier for your church and your congregation. With a system in place, you can issue tax receipts at the click of a button, track them down when someone may have misplaced their copy, and make corrections easily when they are needed. Work on them from the church office, at home, or from another location as needed. You can work together as a team and anyone will be able to look up simple information to answer questions around whether a donation was received, thanked, or receipted.
You will also be able to cater to different requests and cadences that can be difficult to address when working manually. The Donor Management System can send tax receipts through email, produce a printable receipt and even compile an aggregate tax receipt for your regular givers who wish to receive one receipt for their annual giving!
“I Thank God For Your Gift”
Charity is almost universal in religious practices; no matter your faith or denomination, giving is a spiritual discipline. However, it is still important to respond to generosity with thanks and gratitude. Unfortunately, this is a step that many churches overlook when receiving gifts from their congregation.
As Lori Guenther Reesor, a former Mennonite pastor and author of “Growing a Generous Church” puts it, “[a thank you] letter offers an opportunity to thank God for people’s contributions.”
Make sure you are thanking your congregation for their generosity with a thank you letter and not just a tax receipt. It is worth addressing each individual with a heartfelt and personalized message. This can become increasingly difficult to tailor as your church reaches more people but a donor management system can support you with this.
With the DMS you could create lists for:
Your first time givers
Your regular givers - those that give weekly or monthly
Your biggest givers - those that are tithing a portion of their income
The next step would be to send each list a message that corresponds with their place in their giving journey.
A message to celebrate their first time giving
A message to express gratitude for sustaining your church community
A message to express gratitude for their devotion
Use the CanadaHelps DMS to Support Your Church
Free your team up from concerns around the administration, tax receipting, and security of managing your church’s giving; CanadaHelps Donor Management System does the heavy-lifting so that you can focus where it matters most - on your mission of ministry.