Online giving grows in Diocese of Charlotte parishes
CHARLOTTE — There may be fewer envelopes in collection baskets these days, yet parish collections are not declining. It's the result of more and more parishes adopting auto-draft and online giving options.
As parishioners become more accustomed to banking, auto-drafts and purchasing online, churches are joining in to offer an alternative to the traditional collection envelope system. Companies such as J.S. Paluch, Faith Direct and VANCO work with parishes to set up and collect electronic donations.
St. Gabriel Church in Charlotte has offered electronic giving since 2003. To date, 250 families at the parish are using this option to support the parish.
"It makes life easier for the parishioner to not have to worry about writing a check," said Claudia Putnam, St. Gabriel's business manager. "There is less paper to handle for our volunteer count teams. It helps even out cash flow during the lean summer months for the parish."
Dan and Julie Melchior, parishioners at St. Gabriel, use the "e-Pay" option to make their donations.
"Convenience and peace of mind are the primary reasons," Dan Melchior said. "With getting three kids ready for church, it is difficult to always remember to fill out a check and stuff it into an envelope before we leave for Mass. Knowing that our contribution will always be made on a regular basis gives us peace of mind that we are doing our part to support the Church with our 'treasure.'"
Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in High Point has offered electronic giving since 2006.
"Currently we have 151 families that we draft (that includes regular offertory and capital campaign)," said Glenda Terpstra, business manager.
St. Peter Church in Charlotte has offered auto-draft to its parishioners for more than six years and recently introduced online giving.
"Some parishioners use electronic banking and never write checks at all now," said Mary Ann Sullivan, business manager at St. Peter Church. "There are an ever-increasing number of parishioners using online banking as well. Online banking checks are great. The parish receives the entire donation (no fees) and the recording process is done with ease. No security issues with account numbers and permissions. We just get the checks in the mail instead of through the Sunday offering."
Electronic giving methods cut down on costs for a parish compared to the traditional envelope system, reduce the use of paper, and provide an opportunity for parishioners to be better stewards of parish funds.
"If you think about the cost to provide envelopes to a parish versus the merchant services fees, it would make it very important for parishes to support electronic giving," Sullivan said.
Another electronic giving success story comes from St. Vincent de Paul Church in Charlotte. In just two years since electronic giving was introduced there, 25 percent of the parish's regular collection now comes from electronic giving.
And for those parishioners who still like to drop that little envelope into the collection basket as it passes by, they can simply check a box printed on the outside of the envelope: "I give electronically."
-- SueAnn Howell, staff writer
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FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. John Eckert at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy