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Category: General Blog - 33-posts
PCI-and-Online-Giving

PCI Compliance - How it Applies to Online Giving

by Abigail Schulz

An ongoing concern for any individual completing transactions online is security. It is a regular question that is asked and it should be. You should be concerned about your transaction security. In this post, we cover security and PCI compliance of the merchant account and our online giving and fundraising website.

When a merchant account is opened, every business, even nonprofits, must take a mandatory PCI quiz. PCI stands for Payment Card Industry and is used to describe any business, or organization, that accepts credit and debit payments. In order to protect cardholder data, PCI standards were setout by Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and AMEX.


Why do I have to take a quiz as a nonprofit when Continue to Give is the online giving software?

The answer is, because you are directly involved in processing of credit and debit transactions through the use of a merchant account. The quiz is mostly educational and it informs your processor that you understand how to protect card data. Examples of quiz items that pertain to you directly are, not to write down anyone's full credit card number, or how to dispose of any card data properly. Since the quiz is very general in nature and is intended for businesses as well as nonprofits, some of the questions may not pertain to you, but rather your online giving provider or "vendor" Continue to Give. When answering these questions your default will be that Continue to Give's online giving software is PCI compliant and undergoes regular testing. Quiz assistance is available for Clearent merchant account customers at Clearent's PCI Help Line 855-864-1732.

Is Continue to Give PCI Compliant?

Your Online Giving Software, by Continue to Give, is PCI compliant (Yes! We take the quiz annually too!) and undergoes regular scans setup by TrustWave and SiteLockSecure. All card data is encrypted during the donation process per regulations. Churches and nonprofits do not store any of this data on their own servers which is a benefit of using an online giving platform. Donors can select the TrustWave and SiteLockSecure icons located at the bottom of your Donation page hosted on Continue to Give for information concerning our certified status.

How often do I need to take this quiz and what if I choose not to?

The quiz must be taken at the time your merchant account is setup and then annually for as long as you maintain the account. You will receive email reminders about the quiz with links to access it. If you do not take the quiz there will be a non-compliance fee billed monthly until you take the quiz. To avoid fees, simply complete the quiz when you receive the first reminder. At any time, you can verify your status by logging into the Clearent Compass portal and selecting 'Data Guardian' on the left. Instructions for accessing the portal are listed below. Your portal login is sent to you after initial approval of your merchant account. As soon as you receive the email with your user ID and password for Clearent's online system, Compass, visit www.clearent.com. If the questionnaire is successfully completed within your first two weeks of processing with Clearent, you avoid being charged a monthly fee. However, if you miss the deadline, the fee will be withdrawn from your account until it is completed.

DataGuardian, the PCI with Clearent, includes easy-to-understand self assessment questionnaires for your online giving, network scanning tools to help regularly monitor and protect your organization, a $100,000 Data Breach Protection policy, and valuable educational resources. Learn more at www.clearent.com/DataGuardian.

To access the Clearent-DataGuardian portal:

  1. Go to www.clearent.com
  2. Login by selecting Client Login in the top right corner of the screen.
  3. Select the DataGuardian button on the left side of the page.
  4. Click on the Get Started button to begin.
  5. Verify the contact information on file for your business.
  6. Use the Questionnaire Selection Wizard to find and complete the questionnaire that is most appropriate for your organization. After completing, your compliance status displays immediately.
  7. Schedule any required scans.
  8. Review and electronically sign the certification.

Need More Information?

If you have questions about completing the questionnaire please contact the Clearent Customer Support team at 855-864-1732 or [email protected]

Posted on: 04/04/2017

Deciding on Fundraising Websites: GoFundMe, Continue to Give, or KickStarter

by Christy Gilbertson

Life has a plethora of choices. So many choices in fact it can be quite overwhelming. For example, at the grocery store you have hundreds of varieties when it comes to one kind of food. Ice cream has several options along with juice, cheese, cereal, and chips. Even ketchup has quite a few varieties to choose from. Other areas of life also have a wide range of choices including what church to attend, what college to apply for, where you're going to live, what job you're going to take, and so on. As individuals we are bombarded with thousands of choices every single day. Therefore, how does one choose? We all want the best for ourselves. For those of us involved in ministry we also want the finest for our area of service. Often, we can easily weed out the choices that do not quite fit our needs or wants. However, what happens when the stakes are high and the selections are close in comparison? When it comes to fundraising for our ministries (or individual needs), we need to make a wise decision on how it should be done and thoroughly investigate all the choices. To make the burden a bit lighter we have provided for you a comparison of the top three choices for fundraising; Kickstarter, GoFundMe, and Continue To Give.

Analysis

Kickstarter

I will first introduce the company Kickstarter. For those of you unfamiliar with this company, here is a brief introduction. Kickstarter's main focus is to help launch projects (and careers in some cases) of creative people heavily involved in the arts. They are quite a good organization for that mission, however there are some drawbacks. Since the company was designed for artistic creators it does not accommodate well for those who want to raise money for medical needs, funerals, or personal missions; more commonly referred to as crowdfunding. In addition to this, there are a lot of things an individual needs to do in order to be successful with Kickstarter. Before sign-up, an individual is requested to limit the time frame on fundraising for their project to no more than 60 days. Budgeting is highly recommended in order to be prosperous, and if your goal is not met, you do not receive any of the pledges for your project. Additionally, the Kickstarter website is confusing to navigate which leads to difficulty in finding answers to questions you may have. Last, Kickstarter charges a five percent fee and a three percent plus twenty cents processing fee (5% + 3% + .20) for every donation received. Overall, every pledge loses over eight percent of its weight. Based on those facts, they do not sound like the best organization to partner with for fundraising needs.

GoFundMe

The second company under review is named GoFundMe. This particular company is well-known for fundraising for all kinds of individual needs. Their opportunities include fundraising for medical, education, sports, funeral, and trip expenses along with pet expenses. Individuals may raise money for themselves, or for another individual. Reaching your financial goal is not a requirement in order to receive the funds donated and unlike Kickstarter there is no time limit required. GoFundMe offers a wide variety of opportunities to share your fundraising idea on several social media websites providing an easy way to connect with family and friends. While this company sounds perfect to fundraise for your individual needs it does come with one big disappointment. GoFundMe deducts five percent from every donation received automatically to cover the company's costs plus an additional processing fee of three percent for every donation received as well (5% + 3%). Combined, it is a total of approximately eight percent of funding lost which is slightly less than Kickstarter, but not by much.

Continue to Give

The final company I'll review today is a company called Continue to Give. This organization is dedicated to your success. They provide everything that you need in order to succeed in fundraising. Continue to Give is fast to setup and easy to navigate. Some of their features include instant receipts, mobile giving, Facebook integration, and a free fundraising page on their website. They allow for images to be uploaded onto their site along with promotional videos for your mission. They not only work with individual crowdfunding like Kickstarter and GoFundMe, but they also work alongside of missionaries, churches, and other organizations to help a wide variety of people and groups reach their financial goals. One of the best parts of Continue to Give is their commitment to your dream by keeping their prices low. This company takes one percent plus thirty cents (1% + 3% +.30) for every donation given. That is right around four percent total and it is the lowest priced organization for individual crowdfunding plus their transaction costs are as low as .5% + .30 for churches and charities! That is genuine in their desire to help people. They are honest, and fair in all aspects of their business and offer outstanding customer service accourding to Capterra software reviews.

The Best Solution

Life will continue to bombard you with everyday decisions. But because of the information you received on fundraising, this is one area that will no longer be a burden. And while it may still be a mystery as to which ice cream you go home with, there is no confusion when it comes to which company to partner with for your financial fundraising needs. Register today and start fundraising immediately. It is that easy!

Posted on: 03/27/2017

Free Event Registration with Google Forms

By Abigail Schulz

Your organization has events coming up and you need a way to manage registration online alongside your online giving but not tax deductible receipting. A customizable, easy to build form that accommodates the registration questions would be nice and let's throw in notification of registration...all at a low cost, if not free right? Well you're in luck! Google has introduced one of it's newest features called forms. Forms allow you to build customizable web forms for anything you can imagine! In this article, Continue to Give is going to teach you where to get Google Forms, how to build a form, how to track sign ups, and how to have them pay if needed for their registration!

Google Forms

Signing up for Google Forms is easy. First you need a google (@gmail.com) email address. If you do not already have a gmail account, you can register for one here (https://www.google.com/gmail/). Once you have a gmail account, you have access to all of Google's free tools including Google Forms! To get to forms you can either just go to Google and click on the boxes in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, or you can go straight to the forms from this link: Google Forms

free-event-registration

Chose Event Template

Once you are inside Google Forms there are several templates available. For this article we will demo a women's conference registration, so choose the "Event Registration" template. The editing page of the event displays. Here, simply click on each section to edit the type of question and how the participants are to respond. For example if we need someone to choose their T-Shirt size, we would add a question, "Indicate T-Shirt Size" and create multiple response options such as S; M; L; XL. The participant filling out the form would then select the size required. Note that questions can also be flagged as mandatory if participants are required to provide the information.

Making Events Live

When you have finished your form, it is time to either email it out, put it on your website, or both! To push the form out, click on the "Send" button in the upper right-hand corner to choose the appropriate deploy option. We always recommend completing a test sign-up first to make sure you have the form setup properly. At anytime you can preview your form by clicking on the eye icon in the upper right hand corner.

Track Event Registrations

After deploying your event form, keep track of your registrations as participants respond. On your edit form page you will see a tab called Responses. Select that tab to view results. You can login to Google Forms at any time, view the form to see who has registered for your event and there is an export to excel, as well as general quick reports.

Fundraising Websites Payment Options

If you need your participants to pay for their registration, set up a Continue to Give project and set the project to "Payment" or "Event" depending on your needs. Make sure to either put the pay button below the registration form on your website, or email this payment form to the participant after they register. If you need to learn how to make a Continue to Give project for online giving check out this tutorial: Designated Donations for Online Giving. Then go to your Projects Page on Continue to Give and choose "Website Widget" Create a Badge on the right side of your screen half way down the page. This will give you special pay button options. We would recommend the "Link to a New Page" and then link this to a picture of a Pay for Registration on your website or include this link in the email for collecting payment. For a step by step click here

Other Payment Options : In addition you can customize the thank you popup after the person registers. You will want to add in the thank you page "Please click this link to pay for your registration fees (inserst your Continue to Give project's link for payment or popup)". If you need help configuring this option please send us an email and we can help [email protected]

Do you need online, mobile, facebook, or kiosk giving? Continue to Give is the leading provider of fundraising websites and donation apps. Email us at [email protected] to learn more about our software and one of our representatives will be in touch within 24 business hours!

Posted on: 03/13/2017
things-you-should-know-about-giving
Posted on: 02/14/2017

Fundraising Websites verse Traditional Methods

By Kelly Gutowski

My first introduction to fundraising happened many years ago when a former high school classmate, Rob, approached me with an idea for a scholarship fund. A fellow classmate of ours was killed, and after years of searching, the police still had no solid leads. In the wake of this tragic event, Rob felt the need to take some kind of action as a way to memorialize our mutual friend and in some small way, potentially lessen the grief of his family. The goal was to build a sustaining scholarship fund; a wonderful way to perpetuate the nurturing and kind character that our classmate possessed.

We contacted our alma mater and found they had a scholarship committee that managed many individual scholarships for graduating students. The high school committee agreed to manage the funds, manage the recipient selection based upon our criteria, and provide a monthly spreadsheet of the fund progress. This left Rob and myself responsible for getting the word out and general fundraising efforts.

We began compiling a potential contributor list which was used to generate mailing campaigns. We tracked down contacts, collected information, and tracked contributor status. We mass-mailed scholarship information with instructions for returning checks, and we passed out information at events. Slowly the fund grew, and faithfully each month, the school committee manually compiled and forwarded a fund report.

Our diligent efforts paid off several years later when we finally reached the goal of a self-sustaining fund. Today, I'm pleased to say the fund provides scholarships to not one, but two lucky recipients annually. It was a long road; one that was paved in hard work and dedication.

The Gap

You may be wondering why I just shared this success story and there are several reasons. First, I wanted to use my experience to show you how much effort went into the fundraising campaign in years past versus online fundraising websites available today. It took preparation and diligence, not to mention the licking of many envelopes and stamps. Keep in mind that we did not have the same fundraising tools available that you have access to today.

As I think back over our experience, I see loss-gaps in our gathering efforts and two particularly stand out in my mind. With mail campaigns, we sent out the information and requested checks to be returned. However, if it was our request was not responded to immediately by the recipient, there was a chance the letter or email got buried, or set aside and forgotten. The same was true when we distributed information at events such as the reunions. Every time someone walked away with that envelope, we potentially lost a donation. It is not that our potential contributors were not generous, it was more the theory that life gets in the way. Envelopes are misplaced, people forget in the hustle of everyday life, and checks are a hassle to write. The solution is to fill those gaps, change the process slightly and fundraising is more convenient for the contributor!

I have since learned that online fundraising would have greatly enhanced our efforts whereby helping us reach our goal much more quickly. It also would assist in capturing and retaining more recurring donations. While traditional methods of mailing campaigns (electronic and hardcopy) are still very effective and encouraged, online fundraising streamlines your fundraising efforts.

Tools for Today's Fundraising

Technology restructured fundraising efforts bringing us online fundraising through fundraising websites such as Continue to Give. Let's use the two examples above; email campaign and passing out information at events.

Today you still send out email campaigns. You draft a compelling note presenting your cause. The difference is that you include a link to your campaign page on Continue to Give. Now, the potential contributor can, in a click, be taken to the page and make their contribution instead of writing a check, addressing an envelope, locating a stamp, and dropping it at a mailbox. You closed the gap converting the potential contributor into a contributor. Additionally, during the online donation process, the contributor has the option to setup a recurring transaction! The opportunity to convert one-time contributors to recurring contributors is greater because the decision is part of the donation process.

As for fundraising events, where we handed out envelopes and the potential contributors walked away tucking them in a pocket or purse, we now can have mobile giving. In advance of the event, go to your online fundraising page. On the right hand side, you will see the option "Go Mobile". There are two mobile giving options; QR code and text to give number. Simply print these and place them where your supporters will see them at the event such as the registration table. They can text or scan the QR code to access the online giving. Think about it. They don't walk away! There are no more lost envelopes, no checks to write, no more stamps, and thankfully, no more envelopes to lick.

After seeing Continue to Give's mobile giving feature, I cannot stop thinking about how it would have enhanced our efforts, and helped us reach our goal much sooner, and also capture more recurring donations.

Structuring Options

My final point centers on the overall structure of our scholarship fund. As you now know, the school acted as the fund manager and distributed monthly status reports. If Rob and I had chosen to go it alone and manage the fund ourselves, Continue to Give could set-up a crowdfunding account for just our scholarship which is one option. However, with the school committee involved, the best option would be for the scholarship committee set-up a master account with each individual scholarship as a project within the master account. Individual scholarship managers, like myself and Rob, could then login to view the status of our scholarship project at any time and access reports without the need for the committee to send us monthly spreadsheets. WOW! The scholarship committee can effectively, and securely, manage separate scholarship funds through their master administrative account making and save time because the no longer generate monthly reports manually. They can track the overall fund as well as individual scholarship projects. Talk about making scholarship management easier on all levels. Additionally, if the school scholarship committee purchased a giving kiosk, they could make it available for any scholarship project event. The return on investment is quickly realized when utilized at fundraising events and the number of donations increases due to convenient giving.

So, whether you are crowdfunding an individual scholarship, or working under a committee, consider the benefits of Continue to Give and streamline your efforts. Continue to Give specializes in online fundraising and scholarship management is just one of the many ways they serve people every day. Take it from my experience, go to Continue to Give's fundraising website and register today.

Posted on: 02/13/2017

Churches and nonprofits alike often struggle with the fact that donors do not always give on a regular basis. This is quite common and shouldn't be cause for alarm as giving in general usually ebbs and flows throughout the year. That said, if you have a donor who hasn't donated to your organization with the past year, two years, or three years, he or she becomes apart of a group known as lapsed donors.

Lapsed donors, as long as they've donated within the past three years (anyone who hasn't sent a gift in over three years is a former donor!), are still extremely valuable to your organization. Think about it, they've donated to you before which supports the fact that they obviously believed in your mission enough to have given to you. So, let's try to get them to give again!

Below are a few creative ways to try and bring those lapsed donors back.

1. Write a Donor-Centered Appeal Letter

While mass-emailing donors or typing more formal letters might appeal to some, most fundraising experts agree that handwritten appeal letters continue to be the most effective method when reaching out to donors of any kind - and they can be particularly effective with lapsed donors as well.

Handwritten, personalized letters provide an individual touch and they show donors that you took the time and effort to reach out to them again. This is especially true when you make the letter all about the donor. Some tricks to make the letter all about them are to use a personal tone, use the word "you" a lot, have plenty of white space in the letter, use short paragraphs, and ask for a specific donation amount. Somewhere in the letter be sure to add how they can easily donate. This is a great way to incorporate mobile giving with text to donate numbers

2. Reach Out to Your VIP Lapsed Donors

Realistically speaking, you simply won't be able to focus on every one of your lapsed donors, it just won't be practical. So, a great focus to have should be to spend most of your time and money re engaging those donors who have already demonstrated a strong love for your core mission. These are also those who've given substantially in the past. You'll need to work harder to get them back because these are donors you definitely do not want to lose.

Start by defining these VIP Donors by:

  • Their cumulative giving amounts
  • The number of years they've been giving (3 to 5+ years)
  • The personal connections they have with your organization (former board members, volunteers, family of someone your organization helped, etc...)
Now that you've honed in on who's who, try to think through new ways to reach out to them on a more personal level. Here are three great examples:
  • Invite them to a VIP-only breakfast event where you can update them on your work.
  • Have all of your board members participate in handwriting notes of thanks to each of these donors.
  • Email them personally with an update on a recent project/program and ask them for support.
Reaching out to your VIP lapsed donor base should become a routine annual activity. You'll want to record, track, and measure every activity you try to determine what works best.

3. Try Cold-Calling Them

Another thing you can try is telemarketing to your older lapsed donors. Despite the low 12% average success rate for cold calling from an in-house list, you're still better off giving it a try if #1 and #2 above have been unsuccessful. Just be sure to minimize the waste by running the names through some type of phone append service and only call if you find a valid phone number for them. Remember, renewing an old relationship with your donors is easier than making new ones. And, always keep the calls very personal and don't give up as you go through the list!

4. Survey Your Lapsed Donors by Phone

This last item could actually be done in tandem with the cold-call, but it would need to be done in a way that is still very personal. When conducting a phone-survey, ask your lapsed-donors what compelled or prompted them to support your mission originally. Take notes during the call, document as much as you can as they share with you their reasons. Then, ask what might compel them to continue their support. The key here is to listen. Your information gathering, you're not trying to get them to donate on the spot or sell them on your next fundraising event. You're just wanting to know why they stopped giving and what would make them give again in the future.

There you have it. Four creative ways to try and get those lapsed donors to come back. Remember, the more you learn about your lapsed donors in this process, the better prepared you'll be to prevent them from lapsing in the first place.

Aplos Accounting has a number of fundraising features to help nonprofits manage their donor database.

Posted on: 10/13/2016

Continue to Give is proud to announce and release our latest upgrade to our software clients of a virtual terminal. The virtual terminal allows the church admin permissions to their contacts or donors. This way if a donor calls and wants you to edit their donations, you can do so easy!

For the Organization's Admin Account:

A giver automatically opts into the virtual terminal option. If they have given once through your online giving software they will show up in your contacts.

For the Giver:

If the giver wishes to opt out of the virtual terminal. They can log into their Continue to Give account, go to admin rights and remove themselves from the virtual terminal option. This means the church or nonprofit admin may not edit their account.

Now that we know how this feature works we can look at how to use it.

How to Access your Online Giving Virtual Terminal:

You can get to your virtual terminal by either clicking on the Contacts tab, choosing a contact, and then choosing to edit their giving or information; or you can go straight to the virtual terminal by choosing the tab Virtual Terminal that has been added right under the contacts tab.

The Virtual Terminal:

The Virtual Terminal allows you to edit a givers profile, edit their recurring donations, and make a donation on their behalf. You can also create a new donation and new giver's account.

To get started choose an option from the left side menu.

Create Transaction- Allows you to charge an existing donor that has given you permission.

Edit Profile- Allows you to update your givers basic information not payment information. For payment information updates use the create transaction and either add a new card or edit the existing card.

Contacts- Allows you to select a giver you need to update or charge.

Guest Mode- Allows you to add a new giver and new transaction at the same time.

LogOut- Will bring you back to your regular Continue to Give account and out of the virtual terminal.

If you have any question please email [email protected]

Posted on: 10/03/2016

Kiosk

There is a lot of talk, blogs, articles that have been written lately for church leaders to implement electronic tithing options for their congregation. The way of the world is moving away from cash and more towards credit, debit, and automatic bank withdrawals.

There is nothing wrong with implementing a giving program that allows or even encourages the use of alternatives to cash and check; but is the Offering Kiosk or The Giving Kiosk right for your church? This is a question we get from a lot of churches when they start the Continue to Give program. Here are some of the benefits to having an offering kiosk.

People come to church without cash and checks:

Let's face it people cannot give if you don't give them an option to donate with their credit and debit cards. You are losing givers that have a great way to pay for their donations and tithes- their credit and debit cards. Don't give them an excuse not to give because they don't carry cash and checks; give them an option that works with the way they pay for items now.

All generations use the giving kiosk:

You may feel that only a younger generation would want to use an offering kiosk but that is just a myth. All generations find the offering kiosk easy to use because it's a simple 2 step process of how much to give and how to pay for the donation. It's that simple! They don't need to go home, remember to setup their online giving, and try and navigate your website in their spare time. It's a swipe of a card away from making that donation happen.

On offering kiosk increases giving:

Having an offering kiosk has proven to increase giving among your members by as much as 40%. This can happen to your church for a couple reasons. First the kiosk is always setup in the church and is reminding people to give without the pastor having to give a sermon on it. Secondly, it's very convenient for anyone to walk up to and donate just like an ATM. And Lastly the kiosk allows designated giving, an automatic bank withdrawal option, and recurring donations.

The Offering Kiosk or Giving Kiosk is free for your church to download and setup on your IPad. You can download the free app today here!

Posted on: 10/20/2015

Easy Church Giving Tithing
As the Security and Exchange Commission moves forward with the adoption of final rules under their Jumpstart our Business Startup (JOBS) Act, more and more entrepreneurs are looking to equity crowdfunding as a valid source for raising startup capital. Crowdfunding, by its very nature, lends itself to the integration of technology and innovative startups are developing strategies that incorporate varied technologies that appeal to diverse donor bases. Web Integration

Whether they are considering a large or small investment, it's likely that a donor will visit a startup's website or blog. Savvy consumers expect startups to have some kind of web presence. Along with descriptions and benefits of the product or service to be offered, simple badges can be easily added to a homepage and encourage viewers to learn more. The sharing of pictures, videos and testimonials on the web engages audiences, inspiring them to take action.

Mobile Integration

Individuals are increasingly utilizing their smart-phones to browse the web and conduct transactions. Text to Give and referral to websites via QR codes offer donors the option to invest in startups quickly and with ease. Well over 50% of Americans are now using smart phones on a daily basis and crowdfunding campaign investment via mobile devices is accelerating.

Social Media Integration

By publicizing crowdfunding efforts across multiple social media platforms, startups can quickly engage their social networks. Recent research indicates that projects that achieve a large portion of their fundraising goal in the early days of their campaign have a greater chance for success. Seizing opportunities quickly is the key to effectively leveraging the power of peer-to-peer marketing and social media offers the best medium to do just that. Crowdfunding via social media lends itself to donor initiated dissemination, meaning that project campaigns can quickly go viral.

Rewards-Based Crowdfunding

Slightly different than the revenue sharing concept behind many equity crowdfunding campaigns, rewards-based crowdfunding allows entrepreneurs to offer rewards in exchange for their investment. These rewards may range from small tokens such as pens to early access to the product or service being funded. Offering incentives for investment excites the donor base, increasing the odds for further support. The hybrid model of rewards/equity based crowdfunding is gaining popularity, because it is so successful.

Finding the right technology to manage a multi-platform crowdfunding campaign is crucial to its success. Crowdfunding Services such as Continue to Give allow for integration between multiple technology mediums without the disadvantage of high fees. Building startup capital through crowdfunding is possible, but it does take careful planning. Incorporating the right technology tools from the beginning of the campaign will increase the chances that a startup will reach its funding potential.

Posted on: 05/24/2015

There are many varied fundraising techniques used by organizations to raise money for their causes. While a variety of these fundraising ideas are proven methods, over time they become monotonous and can adversely affect your fundraising efforts. In order to keep things interesting for your donors, it never hurts to think outside of the box. When looking at existing fundraising plans, think about what you could do to modify the plan and give it a new twist, and provide your donors with additional value for their contributions to your organization.

  • Father/Daughter and Mother/Son Dances: Breathe new life into these dance events by incorporating a theme, such as a specific period, like the 1950s, or hosting them in unique places, like on a boat or on the beach.
  • Potluck Dinners: Dinners are a common fundraising method used by churches and other nonprofit organizations. Instead of simply serving the guests, consider making the event more interactive, where guests take part in preparing the meal, if they so desire. For instance, host a charity pizza party where people are able to make their own pizzas.
  • Car Washes: Many organizations host charity cash washes to raise money for their causes. Why not try a “topless” car wash to get more people to stop and to raise interest for the event? A “topless” carwash is simply where participants wash everything on the vehicle except the top or roof.
  • Rubber Duck Races: If you live in an area where there is a flowing river, host a rubber duck river race. People purchase numbered ducks to enter into the race. If their duck wins, then they receive a prize. You can also increase donations by selling race-related t-shirts and novelty items.
  • Charity Races/Walks: You can put a new twist on charity races and walks by adding a special theme, depending on the time of the year. For instance, in the fall, consider a haunted run/walk where zombies, vampires, and werewolves hide along the race route and try to knock contestants out of the race/walk by pulling off flags from the runner, like in flag football.
  • Once you have come up with a new twist on an existing fundraising idea, you will want to increase awareness in the community. Hang banners and send out postcards to previous donors on your mailing list with QR-codes. Contact local radio and television stations to try to get some free airtime. Remember to take advantage of social media and use it to promote your event online. Online sites should be updated to accept donations on Facebook, on your organization’s website, and through mobile devices whenever someone scans your QR-code on printed materials. By incorporating social media and online marketing into your fundraiser, you are able to reach a wider audience of potential donors—even those people who do not live in your local community, but who want to support your cause.

    To learn more about online fundraising, fundraising on Facebook, and how to accept donations electronically, contact Continue To Give by calling 800-684-0550 now.

Posted on: 05/07/2015

Creating awareness for your cause is an important aspect to fundraising. There are several traditional methods you can use, such as advertising in local newspapers and community newsletters. However, these methods limit your target audience to the local community. In order to expand outside of the local community, you should consider taking advantage of modern technologies to extend your reach and message. Some of the more popular technologies you can tie into your fundraising efforts include accepting donations on smart phones and Facebook , creating Giving Pages, and adding donation badges on other social media sites.

Driving Donors to Give through Smart Phones

Just about everyone has a smart phone these days and has it with them at all times. Driving mobile donations is not complicated and does not require a separate app. People simply go to your donation page and make their donation. There are two options to get people to your mobile site: QR-codes and text for link numbers. All you have to do is post your QR-code or text for link number in places where people will see them, like:

  • Printing Them on Mailers and Support Letters
  • Posting Them at Fundraising Events
  • Printing Them in Church Bulletins or Community Newsletters
  • Posting Them on Your Website and Social Media Sites
Mobile Campaign

Whenever someone scans the QR-code or enters the text for link number into their smart phone, they are taken directly to your organization’s profile page and are able to make an immediate donation to your charity.

Collecting Donations on Facebook and Other Social Media Sites

You are able to accept donations through Facebook and other social media sites by adding donation badges. Badges are special widgets (apps) you post on the sites which create a link directly to your profile page where people can submit their donations to your cause. It only takes a few minutes to set up badges on all of your sites, and makes it possible for visitors to donate to your cause quickly and easily.

Facebook Donation

Giving Pages

Giving Pages are special website pages where you allow others who already support your cause to create their own web pages in support of your organization. All you have to do is create an option on your profile page allowing others to create their own donation pages. Once someone creates their own Giving Page, they are able to promote it on their own website or social media sites. All money donated through Giving Pages is automatically deposited into your cause’s donation account, not to the people who created the Giving Pages.

By incorporating modern technologies into your fundraising efforts, you are able to create more awareness for your cause and reach a larger group of potential donors. To learn more about these donation technologies, contact Continue To Give today by calling 800-684-0550. We have solutions for churches, missionaries, nonprofits, schools, and individuals.

Posted on: 05/06/2015

In the last 24 hours, Continue to Give has been inundated with both positive and negative feedback from our decision to allow the Sweet Cakes by Melissa to fundraise on our platform. We would like to encourage you to use this monitored blog to continue the discussion in an open and respectful way. Any responses that include a threat of any kind, inappropriate images or offensive language will be deleted at the discretion of management.

At Continue to Give we realize this is a polarized subject matter and both sides bring a passionate voice to the discussion. We all need to understand and respect each others views and values to find a peace of mind that allows for acceptance and understanding.

Please share your thoughts but use your words wisely respecting the others who are also sharing their views.

If you would like to start your own fundraiser with Continue to Give you can do so here.

Posted on: 05/06/2015

by Hilda Spann

When I was a child, the Second Vatican Council was held in 1964, and for the first time allowed the Roman Catholic mass in my hometown to be said in English. I saw quite a clash between the older generation who felt the Latin mass was part of the mystique of the church experience while the younger generation wanted the meaning of the mass to be accessible.

When I first started serving churches in 1980, I could see that many mainstream churches were losing membership. There was so much in society to compete with Sunday morning church attendance not the least of it was being able to watch exciting worship services on tv.

I had a passionate interest in church growth. I felt the church and Jesus Christ had something very precious to offer people. First, however, you had to reach those people. I was fortunate in that the first church to hire me felt it was dying and wanted to grow. They said they would do everything possible to support my leadership to help their church grow.

The first thing we changed was the music. Fortunately we had a versatile and talented organist who was delighted to play the electric piano and invite other instrumentalists in including electric guitarists.

I am going to stop here because this story is not about me but about how churches need to make themselves accessible to contemporary culture in order to grow and prosper. Recently I paid all my bills online. I even paid the water bill I could have paid by running a mile up the street with a check. But online banking is how I keep a clear record and budget now. Many if not most people do online banking.

Continue to Give is giving churches the opportunity to update the way they fundraise and accept tithes and offerings. Continue to Give is giving churches a way to handle donations that is congruent with what most people do: online banking and using credit/debit cards instead of cash or checks.

The point I am trying to make is the church can only benefit by being accessible. If it is inconvenient to give then the church will have less donations. Say Betty Rouel came to church without her check book but does have her debit card. If she would like to use that card to bring her tithe up to date, shouldn't she be able to? Personally, I find it annoying when a business doesn't provide me with a way to pay electronically or their bookkeeping is sloppy when I pay electronically. It should be easy and joyful for people to give to their churches. In order for that to happen, your church needs a Continue to Give program for tithing made easy.

Kiosk
Posted on: 04/08/2015

They are of hundreds of thousands of fundraisers out there today. Some are raising hundreds and thousands of dollars from donors all across the nation and even across the world. You have a fundraising idea and you want to start a fundraiser online just like the successful stories you hear about, right? But how do you do successfully implement crowdfunding and fundraising in general? It is literally the million-dollar question and the experts at Continue to Give have put together some great tips for you so that you can reach your fundraising goal!

1. Brainstorm

According to Continue to Give research and that of Crowdfundingacademy.com, less the 40% of personal fundraisers actually reach their goal or get close to their goal. Yikes! One of reasons is that people think you can just throw up a free crowdfunding profile and hit your goal. Yes, sometime this happens but the chances are so few and far in-between that we would like you to erase that idea out of your mind all together. The truth is that fundraising takes time, planning, and commitment. You need to sit down, answer these questions, and write them on a piece of paper.

What is the money I raise going towards? If you truly do not know what you are going to use the money for then the people that give won?t know the answer either. This may even make people skeptical to even give to you.

Who would be interested in donating to this cause? Do not ask people that work in a paper mill to donate to a forest conservation effort that eliminates cutting down trees. For one, that is their job that is at stake and they may even be offended. Think of a like-minded audience.

Am I going to follow through with what the donation funds are intended for? The worst thing a person can do is start a fundraiser and people that donate see that you are not using the money for the cause itself! Do not do this ever.

What is your timetable? Are you raising money for cancer? Then plan your fundraiser during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In addition, it may take a month or two to really create a plan of action. Getting all your ideas straight and start talking to people about your fundraiser. Get people excited. Finalize all your pictures; create your mission and description statements, plan events, get bracelets to give away, etc. Plan, Plan, Plan. Expound on your ideas and how long will it take you to get everything in order to open the door to your fundraiser! Good things take time.

2. Market

Now that you have done some planning it is time to market your fundraiser and here is how you get started.

Write a description of your fundraiser. Have bullet points, describe exactly what the money is going to be donated to and write out how you are going to implement your plan. If you need money to start a record label tell people the breakdown. You need so much money for (first thing you need to purchase), and so much money for (second thing you need to purchase), etc. Let them know the progression and steps you are going to take and follow to reach your ultimate goal! You want people to donate online to you right? So tell them why they should.

Put up pictures. Are you raising money for your dogs surgery? Then take pictures of your dog. Pictures do not mean taking sexy selfies. Pictures should relate to what you are fundraising for. You can even do a video to talk to people about your passion for what you are doing and how they can be a part of that by donating.

Now that you know who you are going to target for donations now it is time to figure out how to reach them. If you are raising money to build a playground, in a city in Texas, for families to visit you are not going to market the idea to people in New York. People that are interested in your fundraiser will be local moms with kids. These people are most likely going to be found at other playgrounds, read school newsletters, visit daycares, etc. Do you see the logic? Your specific fundraiser has a very specific target audience that will be interested or even moved by your cause! All you have to do is find the best way to contact your audience. Start thinking is email better, starting a group on Facebook, personal phone calls, etc. Find out where your audience is and how you can reach them.

3. Implement

Only if you have done the planning above should you actually implement your fundraiser. So let us recap:

Start brainstorming what you are going to start fundraising for, what it is about, what steps you are going to take once you get the money, who shares your passion, and WRITE IT DOWN!

Next, finalize all your brainstorming notes. Make a final draft with pictures and other content and learn how to reach your targeted audience that will share your same passion in your fundraiser.

Now, implement your fundraiser that you have put thought and hard work into. You can start a fundraiser online through fundraising platforms such as Continue to Give or other websites that will allow you to take credit card donations.

Other references: Forbes.com "Before you Launch your Crowdfunding Campaing Read This"

Posted on: 04/06/2015

Coming up with new ideas for fundraising events is the difference between meeting your goals or falling short. People have grown tired of buying wrapping paper, cards, candy, cookies, candles, and popcorn. As such, organizations running the same fundraising events year after year frequently notice donations start to decline at a steady pace. Rather than continue to do the same thing every single year, try out new and fun ideas to give people a reason to give more, such as:

  1. Cooking Competitions: Cook offs and cooking competitions are popular with people of all ages. Host a competition between local community celebrities, like news and television anchors, radio hosts, or sports teams. Encourage people to make a donation in order to vote for their favorite dishes and/or celebrities.
  2. Happiness from the Misfortune of Others: Solicit volunteers from your organization or local celebrity pool to be willing to undergo misfortunes, like dying/cutting hair, dressing in an embarrassing costume, or trading jobs for a day, voted upon by donors. For every $1 donated, the donor gets one vote.
  3. Online and Silent Auctions: Many local businesses are willing to donate goods and services to fundraising events if you take the time to solicit them. The donations do not have to be large ticket items, either. For instance, ask restaurants to donate $10 or $20 gift cards, movie theaters for free movie tickets, oil change shops for free oil change certificates, and so on. People get caught up in the hype of auctions and end up bidding far more than the retail costs of the donated items.
  4. Sell Employee Perks: Businesses looking to raise money for a nonprofit or charity they support can encourage employees to give more by selling employee perks. For every $1 donation, give employees a free casual day pass to use during the week, or, for larger donations, allow them to purchase time off with pay.
  5. 50/50 and Reverse Raffles: Sell raffle tickets where half of the ticket price goes to the fundraising event and the other half to the winner. Another popular raffle is a reverse raffle event where all potential donors receive tickets for free, but must do something embarrassing, unless they pay the organization a predetermined amount. To keep things fun, allow donors the option to give the ticket to another person, who must also pay to give it away and get out of the embarrassing task.
  6. Online Murder/Mystery: Donors donate money to examine clues, evidence, and details surrounding a murder/mystery to attempt to solve the case. “Winners” could be awarded with a small item, like a T-shirt or coffee mug.

Do not overlook the power of social media and online donations, no matter what type of fundraising events your organization uses. Setting up online fundraising requires registering with a reputable service, creating your online fundraising page, advertising the event, and receiving donations. Donations can be accepted through your organization’s Facebook page, too, by posting a donation badge on the page.

To learn more about online fundraising processes, or to register your organization for an upcoming event, contact us now at 800-684-0550.

fun fundraising ideas
Posted on: 04/03/2015

Church parishioners have adapted to technology-driven payment methods. People rely upon electronic and credit/debit payments these days. One common problem many churches often find themselves facing is overcoming situations where parishioners arrive for services, only to have forgotten to bring their checkbook or cash. While subtle reminders sometimes work, they are not always the most effective way to ensure your church is receiving the maximum amount of donations and tithes. As a result, churches need to find new technology-driven solutions to make it easy for their parishioners to give, like installing an offering kiosk in the church.

What Is an Offering Kiosk?

An offering kiosk is a tablet device secured to a kiosk stand. The tablet is supplied by the church and configured with software specific for your church. A credit and debit card reader can be connected to the device, so parishioners may swipe their card instead of manually entering their payment information. The donation and tithing process is simple and easy for anyone use.

How Do Parishioners Make Donations and Tithes?

Parishioners walk up to the kiosk where they see your church’s donation page and click on the “Donate Now” button. On the next screen, they select the amount of donation, select which area of the church they want their money to go for, such as tithes, other special church sponsored programs, or missionary work, select how often they want to give, select the payment date, enter in a personalized message, decide on privacy preferences, enter in the billing information or swipe the card through the card reader, and click the “Donate Now” button to finalize the secure transaction. After the transaction is submitted the kiosk is reset for the next person to use.

Other Technology Driven Solutions for Church Donations

In addition to offering kiosks, churches have the option to use a special QR code for people to scan with their smartphones. The QR code can be listed on the church’s kiosk’s home page to give parishioners an alternative method to give. Another way to use your church’s QR code is to publish it in your church bulletin with an appropriate inspirational message. People simply scan the code and are taken to your church’s secure donation page.

On the main page, visitors have the option to share the church’s mobile page on Facebook, Twitter, or through email, as well as to like the page on Facebook. The donation and tithing process is very similar to using the kiosk stand, except people have the option to sign in using their email or Facebook profile, or make an anonymous donation. If someone logs in with their Facebook profile, they can invite friends to also make donations. By utilizing a QR code, a church is able to take advantage of modern technologies and social media to encourage people to make regular donations.

For more information about the Giving Kiosk, or other electronic tithing and donation solutions for your church, contact us today at 800-684-0550.

Kiosk
Posted on: 03/25/2015

Let's face it fundraising can be difficult. You have such a great cause and you are really making this world a better place but you need funding to keep making this happen.

How do you get people's attention and show them that you need help? This is the question charities and personal fundraisers around the world are facing. Fundraising seems to take time away from doing the actual cause itself! Even though fundraising takes your much-needed time remember it’s not time wasted. Without funds you simply cannot help your cause, which is the reason you are taking up fundraising in the first place! So spend the time fundraising but save time by fundraising the right way.

At Continue to Give we help fundraisers just like yours meet their fundraising goals everyday and we are prepared to share with you some of our best tips to make this happen.

1. Make the Giving Process Easy and Accessible without Added Costs

This is one of the most overlooked aspects of fundraising and one of the most important. It is your responsibility to put the “sign here” in front of your audience of potential donors. The best way to do this is to have all giving avenues available for your donor to give through: Mobile, Kiosk, and Online.

Now before you say you’re only a personal fundraiser or you couldn’t afford to have mobile, kiosk, and online e-giving options, know this, all three can cost the same to have as it does to have just one online giving option. Yes that’s right! If you use a personal fundraising account through an online giving platform that setups a WePay you won’t even be required to pay any monthly setup. So make sure you do your research when you choose a provider and check out both the organization’s nonprofit rates and the personal fundraisers nonprofit rates and compare with your situation. Either type should offer you all the giving avenues.

Next, Don’t expect your givers to be caring around cash and checks. According to a Bankrate survey 2 in every 5 people carry less than $20 in cash on a given day! Get easy donations avenues that can accept credit, debit, and ach payments.

Now, one way you could make it easier for givers is to have a self addressed already stamped return letter in your fundraising letters right? Wrong! Instead of eating that extra cost of that stamp and the extra return letter add your Text-To-Donate number and QR code. Chances are most people will have their mobile device right in their pocket! After 10 years of electronic fundraising experience, Continue to Give’s personal data shows that over 17% of donations are made on a mobile device! It’s quick, it’s easy, and you will receive the donation faster. If you don’t have a mobile option for your givers you need to get one.

Secondly, harness electronic giving avenues. Get that donate button on your website that is strategically placed either in the upper right hand corner of the screen at all times or is in your menu bar. Do not make your givers go on a hunt for your donate button! People get frustrated when finding information, such as the donate button, turns into a scavenger hunt. If you already roped them in and they want to donate, don’t make them frustrated with your giving process.

Thirdly, at fundraising events have a point of donation kiosk setup with a credit card swiper or have staff sit at a computer to take peoples donations through your online giving provider. This will make donating with a credit card easy and convenient for your givers. Remember; don’t expect people to be caring around cash and checks. Expect a credit or debit card.

In addition, credit and debit cards are not the only electronic giving method people use. Over 22% of donations made on Continue to Give software is ACH donations. What is ACH? ACH is when people can donate online with their checking account. ACH transaction rates can be a quarter of a credit card transaction. Allow your givers to donate in a way that is cheaper for you.

2. Harness the Recurring Donation

Don’t let the donation process depend on your givers! They have families, basketball games, funerals, medical, and other situations running their life besides your fundraiser. Remember the slogan, ‘The squeaky wheel gets the oil.’ Instead of constantly reminding them about your much-needed funding take time to talk with your givers about setting up a monthly donation to your cause. Remember, one conversation could lead to 12 months of steady donations!

Fundraisers setup with Continue to Give’s services that emphasized setting up recurring donations saw an increase of donations because without consecutive missed months of giving the fundraiser had a steady flow of cash coming in that they could count on.

Make the process of recurring donations easy! When a donation is being made ask if they would make it a recurring donation. Or if the donor gave a while ago ask them if they would extend that donation to become a recurring monthly donation using the same payment information that you already have on file. All they have to do is say yes and your golden!

3. Understand the word “Why?”

There are a few different reasons you should examine the word ‘Why’.

First question, “Why should I give this specific fundraiser my money instead of a different one?” You need to show the giver what their donation will go towards. Give them specific examples that will stick in their mind. For example you might be able to tell them that for every $10 given they feed a child 4 times that week, or $100 a month will ensure a family clean drinking water. Give them something to brag about. They need to know that they are making a difference.

Second question, “Why am I targeting this person or group to get funding from?” This is very important. If you are trying to get funding for an animal rights fundraiser, do not go and try to get donations from people who hunt. Take your time to know your audience. Ask yourself, “Who cares about my cause as much as I do?” Think about the perfect match of link-minded people that would be willing to give.

We hope that you have enjoyed our fundraising tips and that you can use them to increase giving. All you have to remember are these three rules: make it easy, ask for recurring donations, and relay your fundraiser to like-minded supporters.

Posted on: 03/25/2015

Technology touches just about every aspect of our lives, including how we bank, how we find significant others, how we educate our children, and much more. Churches and houses of worship aren’t always quick to adapt to new technology, and in some cases, may be uneasy about it.

Harnessing Technology

Online applications and related technology are like any other tools God has given us – they can be used for good or ill, depending on those using it. For churches, technology can be a powerful force for good, helping to provide information and support, engaging with today’s parishioners in a context relevant to their lives and making the task of fundraising easier and more convenient. Church donation software including giving kiosks, mobile giving applications, blogs, and informational videos can expand the mission of the church and reach out to parishioners where they are – online.

Technology isn’t going away and neither is the church. Churches that embrace technology and make use of the many efficiencies and conveniences it provides will be more effective in reaching out to those in need and helping them with spiritual and other needs.

Churches & the Internet

While some churches and religious organizations are leery of the Internet because of the plethora of questionable content types and online malicious actors, many have embraced it, making the same choice Christians in the Middle Ages did when they embraced the printing press – using new technology to fulfill the commission of the church. Here are a few facts about how churches are using technology:

  • About a third of all churches use PowerPoint or video clips as part of their worship service. These technologies can provide additional content and reinforcement of lessons being taught in the service and are appealing to more visually-oriented young parishioners.
  • More than 98 percent of churches who said they used social media in a recent survey reported using Facebook. Twitter was the second most used social media platform, being used by 77 percent of respondents.
  • About 92 percent of churches said Facebook was the most useful social media tool to engage members. Only about a fifth reported Twitter as being effective.
  • According to a Tyndale University poll, about 74 percent of church members have read the Bible in an electronic format.
  • About 27 percent of all churches make no use of the Internet whatsoever, according to The Clergy Journal.
  • More than half of all churches provide Internet access for their staff to complete church-related work.
  • Nearly all churches use electronic sound equipment in worship services.

Church Online Giving

Blogs and Facebook pages are great tools for outreach, but the Internet offers more than just an online bulletin board and mail services for churches. Churches can also harness the Internet to make online giving and mobile giving easier and ensure that finances are more transparent and accountable for members.

The truth is that fewer and fewer of us carry cash or use checks. According to the Washington Post, about nine percent of Americans carry no cash at all and about half of us carry less than $20 at any given time. Americans are also writing fewer and fewer checks each year. As older generations who relied on cash pass on, this trend will only accelerate as Millennials become the primary donors for churches. Providing a method of giving relevant to how this generation handles its financial affairs is essential to the fiscal health of churches.

Younger generations demand options for mobile tithing, whether it is via offering kiosks where they can swipe their credit cards at church or online through the church’s website.

Setting up online giving options has a variety of benefits, including:

  • Convenience – Members will be more likely to tithe if it is easy. More and more Americans are going online to pay their bills and are enjoying the convenience. Coaxing donations may be easier if donating is easier.
  • Increasing donations – Members may donate more if they’re donating money using their debit or credit card rather than whatever cash they happen to have on hand Sunday.
  • Making tithing easier – Many online giving platforms allow members to set up regular deductions from their debit or credit card account, making regular tithing more convenient
  • Increasing transparency – Churches can more easily organize financial information derived from electronic giving to present to members, making accountability efforts easier.
  • Increased efficiency – Having funds deposited directly into church bank accounts causes less administrative work than depositing checks and cash donated by members.

Facilitating Online Giving

The technology involved with setting up online methods of giving or offering kiosks can be intimidating to many church leaders who may be unfamiliar with such equipment and software. Finding a trusted partner to help facilitate online giving can help ease these worries and create a user-friendly method of giving. Continue to Give is an online giving platform that works with churches and non-profits to facilitate easy, trustworthy, and effective giving. Continue to Give can provide churches with a variety of options for giving, including:

  • Offering Kiosks – These discreet and convenient giving kiosks can be set up at church to give members an easy way to donate using their debit or credit cards.
  • Online giving – Continue to Give can set up convenient giving buttons on church websites and social media pages. This will allow members to give from the convenience of their homes. Churches can also uses this option to facilitate giving campaigns for capital projects or missionary support.
  • Mobile giving – More and more people are using their smartphones to conduct transactions. Continue to Give can print QR codes on bulletins and flyers that members can scan to go to a mobile giving page. Mobile phones are quickly replacing desktops and laptops as users’ primary connection to the Internet. Setting yourself up with mobile giving platform can be an important investment in the future. The text to give feature is easy to use for supporters.
  • Donations to churches and religious organizations have been declining in recent years. According to the Wall Street Journal, churches accounted for half of all charitable giving in 1990. Today, they account for just a third. Incorporating online technology in giving can help to halt this trend, giving parishioners an easy way to increase church donating, and handing churches a more effective way to reach out to their membership.

Sources:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/robert-samuelson-the-best-stats-of-2014/2014/12/23/8c6b826e-8ad8-11e4-9e8d-0c687bc18da4_story.html
https://www.wsj.com/articles/decline-in-church-building-reflects-changed-tastes-and-times-1417714642
https://blog.capterra.com/church-technology-stats/

Photo: MLB

Posted on: 03/04/2015

Continue to Give now allows split donations!

Now giving multiple donations to multiple projects has never been easier! Simply add another donation for and add your amount. You can even make the entire donation recurring!

Split Donations

Split donations are also available for mobile and kiosk donation avenues!

Posted on: 11/11/2014
CTG 7 Tips

Let's face it fundraising can be difficult. You have such a great cause and you are really making this world a better place but you need funding to keep making this happen.

How do you get people's attention and show them that you need help? This is the question charities around the world are facing. Fundraising seems to take time away from doing the actual cause itself!

Here are some tips to boost your fundraising so you can spend more time on doing what you feel called to do.

1. Be personal. Get on the phone or send an email that speaks in plain language about your cause. When you take the time to personally reach out to someone over the phone ask for a recurring donation to be set up. This effort will be well worth your time in the end.

2. Have a mission statement, description, and a clear call to action. Answer the question of why am I asking people for money and why should they give to me instead of a different charity.

3. Show an amount, a time frame, and what the money will go towards and ask for recurring sponsorships for that specific thing. Set up a projects for each amount that people can donate towards. For example, have a project call "Feed a hungary Child for a Week." Then set an amount like $30 and have a call to action that states 'that by setting up a recurring donation weekly in the amount of $30 to that project, that donor will be keeping a child from starving'.

4. Have a giving thermometer of some kind that fills as you reach your fundraising goal. This way if it's low then people will give because they feel bad it's low. If it's high, people will give because they want to see it finish it's goal

5. Have a nice thank you letter with suggestions of other projects they can support. Make sure to add pictures!

6. Have easy donation avenues on your website that are clearly visible to the giver.

7. Have pictures! Don't overlook this. People want to hear and see what you are doing. Put pictures up of your projects and cause. Let donors get a feel for what its like.

Need to set up online giving? Click Here.

If you would like to share other tips from your fundraiser or would like to comment on these tips, comment below!

Posted on: 09/24/2014
21st Century Tithing

Have you found it harder and harder to maintain consistent tithes on a weekly basis?

Well if this is the case and you are struggling to Increase Tithes and Offerings, then this message might be just what you have been looking for.

At www.ContinuetoGive.com, we are dedicated to building & delivering revolutionary online fundraising tools designed to help you meet your congregation's financial goals, and to help support your missions and outreach programs.

We offer you Three Simple Solutions to fit today's Online Trends:

1. An Offering Kiosk
2. Mobile Tithing(via smart phones & tablets)
3. Online Tithing(via laptops and desktops)

Getting started is simple and absolutely free!

Just visit our website at www.ContinuetoGive.com, or give us a call at 800.684.0550 FREE to see how simple and easy it is to get started on the path to more tithes and offerings every week.

If You'll Act now, you can receive $200 off your first Kiosk Stand order!

Click Here to Get Started!

Posted on: 09/23/2014
Church Community Builder Reporting

We can help you with funding by providing online, mobile, Facebook, and kiosk donation avenues for you current, potential, and future givers.

Imagine having a donate now button on your current website where anyone could give to your cause!

Or send out flyers with your free personal QR code and text to donate number so that anyone can scan and donate on their smartphone to your organization or personal fundraiser!

We also have a donate button that goes on your Facebook page so you can take advantage of crowdfunding.

Now you can accept credit card, debit card, and ACH donations from all of your giving avenues!

Plus your givers can set up recurring donations monthly, weekly, or bi-weekly so they won't forget to donate regularly!

Connect with your givers using our online internal mailing system!

Use our tools to spread the word about what you are doing and how people can help. Make projects and watch your world thermometer fill to your fundraising goal! We can equip you with all the tools you need to make your fundraiser successful!

Call one of our representatives today to learn more at 800.684.0550 FREE

Posted on: 09/16/2014

We are proud to announce that we are now offering Church Community Builder reporting!

Church Community Builder Reporting

We want to make church administration as easy as possible! Now you can enjoy the convenience of online, mobile, kiosk, and Facebook donations AND update your current Church Community Builder software with those donations!

Churches click here to set up online, mobile, kiosk, and Facebook giving.
Click here for Church Community Builder Reporting.
Posted on: 09/15/2014

Increase your donations by staying connected with your givers.

Stay Connected

It's very important to stay connected with the people that give to your fundraiser. Keeping them up to date on what your organization is doing, what projects you have started or completed, or just basic knowledge of what is going on is very important.

Keeping your donors up to date can increase giving and keep people giving regularly. All you need to do is keep them informed. So how do you do that? Create some sort of online community, whether it's a blog, online giving profile, facebook page, projects, newsletters, etc. Sounds like a lot of extra work to try all those avenues? But it doesn't have to be!

With your Continue to Give fundraising page you can keep everyone up to date on what you are doing and how their money is impacting your organization. The more they know the more they will be willing to give!

Here are some tips:

1) Connect your blog to your profile. This way anyone who follows or has donated to your Continue to Give fundraiser will get an email when you add a new blog post. Givers can also see all your blog posts on your Continue to Give profile page. They can read about what you are doing and then give to you right then and there!

Stay Connected

2) Snap some pictures and add some videos a couple times a year and upload them to your Continue to Give profile. Now your givers can integrate with your organization and what you are doing.

3) Create projects or Giving Pages with clear calls to action! What is this project/giving page raising money for? For example are you building a church in Africa? Then call your project "Raising Money to Build a Church in Africa." Be very specific. Write a description of where the church will go and take some pictures of the process and how close the church is to being complete. Then blog about it and share that current project!

4) At least once a year blog about the donor. Let them know exact accomplishments that would not have been made possible without their support. Let them feel responsible for the good that is being done.


Whenever your giving is low just think about how you can get and stay connected with your givers. Maybe you even need to pay them a visit or a phone call just to keep them updated on how things are going!

Posted on: 09/10/2014

We want to hear one thing you are thankful for today!

CGT Thankfulness

Everyday is special, even when it doesn't seem like it. If you are having a bad day cheer it up by thinking of one special thing you are thankful for or if you are having a good day share just one of your many warm fuzzies!

Write/share your CTG thankfulness challenge on your facebook status or on your twitter with the hashtag #ctgthankfulness and @ContinueToGive and nominate your friends to share one thing they are thankful for.

Let's let our thankfulness spread! From our friends to our friends' friends until everyone has had a chance to share what they are thankful for!

Continue to Give thankfulness and let it grow!

Posted on: 09/08/2014

LLS Donation Winners

We want to thank all of you that participated in chelsealynn's fundraiser for LLS!

As most of you know Chelsea is running a marathon in New York and fundraising for a goal of $2,600 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. All your donations helped Chelsea meet that goal!!! During part of the fundraiser there was a chance to get into a drawing for a free month membership at the Woodson YMCA in Wausua, WI and also a $10 starbucks card.

The drawing has closed and this is the official announcement of the winners!

Chelsea Marathon
YMCA

Winner of the Woodson YMCA Free Month Membership:

Tina Jensen

Starbucks

Winner of the $10 Starbucks card:

Cheryl Westwood Harvat

A big shout out to our sponsors!

Woodson YMCA who sponsored the free month membership!

Schulz Sheep Farm who sponsored the $10 starbucks card!

Click here to start your personal fundraiser today with Continue to Give and reach your goal like chelsea!
Posted on: 09/03/2014
Increase Giving Tips

1. Have easy avenues for your donors to give. This includes a donate button on your website and facebook page, a mobile option on a poster or in your newsletter, or a kiosk stand at your public events. The more avenues you add, the more chances you will open to donations. Click here to set up online giving for your organization!

2. Ask for a specific low amount and tell the giver what that donation will go towards. For example, ask for $5, $10, or $20. In addition, add a caption that says "Your $10 donations will feed a starving child today.." or something like that. Let the donor feel responsible for the good he/she is doing

3. Try not to sound too technical and have positive language. Don't say things like 'if you don't donate $10 a child will starve today'. Be positive and uplifting. Make that person feel good right away by taking away any guilt trip feelings and by letting them know they have a choice. In addition, don't be too technical with your wording. Keep it short and simple. The average donor wants to know exactly how they are helping not all the technical details of it. Wording that is too technical can confuse the donor as to what the donation goes towards. If they want to learn more direct them to a blog or have a number or email they can correspond with you.

4. Generational Differences play a huge role in how you should advertise your charity events. Read more about generational differences and how you can cater to every age.

Posted on: 08/29/2014
Incorporate

Fees Fees and More Fees

Shouldn't an organization receive all of it's donations free of charge? When you give in a check or cash you receive all of the money not just some of it right? Why should my church, organization, or fundraiser have to have a portion of the donation taken away in fees?

These are the questions plaguing the non-profit world. Lets face it, we don't want to have to pay fees just to collect donations we work so hard to get in the first place. Our charity runs off and needs those donations to keep doing the good work of making this world a better place, right? Then why pay the fees?

A common misconception: Charities keep all check and cash donations.

Yes, they do and they don't in a way. Charities need to pay staff members so the charity can exist. In addition, they have to buy accounting software, CRM software, and maybe even pay monthly fees for different software that they use. These are fees that take away from the donation. In addition, online giving is a service and really should be seen is similar terms as accounting software, church crm, snail mailing printouts, etc. Yes, I know it's one more cost to the list but just like those other things you pay for it is worth it. Plus, online giving can increase your bottom line!

Where does that money go that you pay in fees to online giving?

It goes towards new technology features to make the online, mobile, and kiosk giving process easier for you! It also goes to the salary of the customer service people that help you out when you have a question. Thirdly, it goes to the physical and government regulated movement of money from one bank account to the next so that you receive your donation. Lastly, that small fee keeps that service around for you to use!

Why Invest?

You probably already know why, because your donors have been asking you for an easy electronic giving avenue, right? This is the best answer. You need to make the donations process easy for the donor so that they continue to donate and thats why we have built you all these tools to accommodate them!

How it can benefit you.

Crowdfunding and electronic giving has proven to increase donations to charity. Crowdfunding allows your cause to go viral receiving donations from friends of friends of your donors. Those would be donations you never would have received! Mobile and Kiosk options allow your organization receive donations at social events when someone wants to use their ACH or Credit card to donate. Using electronic giving and in-person giving at the same time will only increase your chances for more donations.

Recurring donations are huge. People get busy all the time and cannot make it to social gatherings to donate. Recurring donations can be set up one time and can stay setup for out to three years! Plus you can budget your charity better when you can count on recurring donations. This will take out the gaps in your giving and make giving more regular.

Accommodate your giver. The bottom line is the donor. You need to be able to accommodate all avenues that they wish to give. This is what keeps them giving to you.

Crowdfunding

With online and in-person giving it never hurts to do both! Your giving can only increase with more giving avenues!

Posted on: 08/28/2014
Rates

Rates

Continue to Give strives to keep its rates the lowest in the industry. We have no set up or monthly fees, and we only charge transaction fees starting for as little at .5%+ .30!

Learn more about our rates!
Posted on: 08/22/2014

Four Main Groups

There are four different generations and each has a different way they can help with your cause and each generation has different giving patterns. If you can learn these patterns and put them into practice for your marketing you may be able to increase your giving.

Generational Differences

Generation Y ages 18-32:11% of Giving

This is the generation that uses social media and would work great for crowdfunding. This group will be more motivated by projects versus a general fund. For example, if your organization builds wells in Africa, feeds local children, buys clothes for orphans, then instead of having one general fund where people can donate have different projects associated with each way your organization is making a difference in the world. This gives a sense of intimacy between the donor and the cause. It?s like they are almost buying a can of beans right off the shelf and then handing them to a person in need. There is more donor satisfaction this way. This generation wants to see where their donation is going and exactly how they are helping make the world a better place.

Generation X ages 33-48:20% Giving

This generation is busy with raising families and furthering careers. They need a simple convenient fast method that they can donate through and then get back to what they need to do. Things such as online giving that is simple and right on your organizations website will work. Also, connect with a corporate business and have them market you as their charity to their workers and have easy ways for donations. Email marketing with a link to your donation form would also be a quick and easy way for donors to donate. Since this generation is all about time the quicker they can donate the better.

Baby Boomers ages 49-67:43% of Giving

This is the largest group of all the generations and this may be your focus point. This generation wants to know that the company is reputable. Maybe have some facts of what your organization has done over the years or what credentials it has. Don't let their age fool you they are just as willing to donate on their mobile phone as they are to donate to you through the mail.

Matures 68 and up:26% of Giving

This generation is willing to give with the new technology avenues but are very responsive to a phone call or mailing.

Posted on: 08/21/2014
Continue to Give Help

Sign up for our newsletters to stay up to date on what's happening with fundraising and to get tips on how to make your Continue to Give fundraiser succeed! Just click on the link below!

Posted on: 08/18/2014

The Online Giving Fee Trap! Watch out for unnecessary fees when setting up online giving!

Fee Trap

Don't Pay More Than You have To

There are a lot of companies out there that allow your church or organization to get set up with online giving including online, mobile, and kiosk. But there are a lot of unnecessary fees! Read this article to be aware of unnecessary fees and how you can avoid them.

Set Up Costs

You should never, and I mean never, pay for set up costs. Especially if those set up costs are for each avenue of giving. For example, some companies have you pay for your online donation avenue and then if you want mobile you have to pay an mobile setup cost on top of that. These costs can be completely avoided and are just an extra cost to your church or organization. Don't pay them just move on to the next company that doesn't require that unnecessary fee.

Service Charges

You should never pay a service charge on top of your transaction fees. This is an unnecessary cost to your church. A service charge can be a set dollar amount or it can be a percentage of your donations but you shouldn't have to pay either. Like in the set up costs if there is a service charge in addition to your transaction costs just move on to the next company that doesn't charge you a service charge.

Transaction Costs

Yes, this is a real fee and no matter where you go you need to pay this. However, be on the lookout for excessive transaction costs. Anything over 3% is a high transaction cost for non-profits and churches. Anything over 5% is high for individuals. If you want to save money look for a company that has a transaction cost split where they charge a different fee for ACH then they do Credit Card. ACH is a cheaper method of accepting donations and you can greatly reduce your transaction costs by asking your donors, or even having the ability for your donors to choose, ACH payment methods.

Monthly or Yearly Costs

This is a little bit of a muddy water cost. A lot of places do charge a monthly cost but there a few that don't. (If the company doesn't charge a monthly cost that mean they are covering that cost for you.) If the transaction rate is the same between two companies and one has a monthly cost then of course go with the one without the monthly cost. However, if they seem comparable in that the transaction rates are significantly lower and the monthly cost is very low then you might have to do some math to see which would be cheaper for your church.

Continue to Give

You can find our rates here to compare them with other companies

https://www.continuetogive.com/content/help-rates.html
Posted on: 08/11/2014
Beginners Guide

In today's age it's important to stay up to date on technology. Computers, Smart phones, Kiosks, Apps, etc. the list goes on and on of what new avenues are coming to light in the church realm. Some churches already do online fundraising and are very familiar with all the new gadgets associated with it. However, there are some churches who have not looked into online giving yet and have no idea how it works and what trap of fees they might fall into. In this article, I'm going to go over what online giving is and how you can use online giving in your church.

Online giving is a way for churches to collect tithes and donations online through a website, on a phone, or on a kiosk.

For online methods: When someone is on your church website there can be a button that allows that person to give to the church. It doesn't have to be big or anything. It can just be another tab that says "Give to the Church." This button will be affiliated with a piece of code that will allow a donor to give right from your church website. This can increase your donations because that same person can set up recurring donations whether it's for tithing or for a new church project. Now just think of this for a second. During vacation season most people forget to tithe to the church because they are on vacation and did not step into the church building that Sunday to drop off their offering in the plate. Now they can go online and give their tithe from a computer whenever they are! In addition, you can always send out an email with a link to your donation page reminding families that they can tithe online. This will increase your reach to your congregation.

For Mobile: Churches should also look into mobile donations. Now-a-days with smart phones people can scan whats called a QR code. This will allow the congregation to give on a mobile device. In addition, there are text to donate numbers that allow congregation members to give through texting methods. (We recommend text to donate links instead of text to donate through phone providers. Be on the look out for our blog on why text to donate through phone providers might run you into trouble.) With QR codes and Text to Donate numbers, you can print them in any media. Now church members can see them in their bulletin and can easily donate anytime before, during, or after the service. These are also great for youth fundraising events or snail mail newsletters. This can also save the church money by printing a QR code and link for online donations instead of sending a self-addressed and stamped envelope.

Kiosk Stands: Kiosk stand are great for church tithing. This is like a virtual offering plate that can sit right outside your sanctuary. Your congregation can go to the kiosk stand and make a donation to the church or even set up their recurring donation. This is also great because it can provide the time and place needed to help out folks that are not technology savvy to get setup with a recurring donation or show them how to make their tithe on the offering kiosk.

To Learn More About Online Giving For Churches: Click here


Posted on: 08/06/2014
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