Free Online Giving

24 Jul

Free Online Giving

First of all, if your church doesn’t provide online giving, this needs to be at the top of your list for tomorrow! Let me provide a few reasons why online giving is so important for your church:

  1. We live in a cashless society.
  2. Members don’t want to write their card number on an envelope every Sunday.
  3. Recurring giving helps people remember their commitments.
  4. If it takes longer than 40 seconds to give, 80% of people abandon the transaction.

With all of these things in mind, the real question is, who do I use for online giving? Great question. Our first option is FREE! Well, when I say free, I mean $0/mo. There is still a transaction fee, as there is with any service that accepts credit cards. With that in mind let’s look at EasyTithe.com.

EasyTithe blows everyone else out of the water when it comes to value, and it’s the only decent looking mobile/online giving option for free. Here is everything included in the free version:

  • Online Giving
  • Mobile Giving
  • Recurring Giving
  • Event Forms (People can register and pay for events.)
  • Transaction fee of 3% + $.30

You can add Text Giving for $5/mo and a Giving Kiosk for $19/mo. They also have $29/mo (2.6%) and $49/mo (1.99%) plans.

There are many options out there that aren’t free but worth looking into. I would recommend CloverDonations.com and eChurchGiving.com which boasts 10-second giving. Many church management apps (CCB, Fellowship One, etc.) include online giving, but most are complicated and take longer than 40 seconds.

 The Bottom Line: With a free option for online giving, you have no excuse.

Your Study Time Just Got Easier

3 Jul

If you’re like me, you do a lot of studying on your laptop. I especially like this because the copy-and-paste feature has made studying a lot quicker. Whether that’s a good or bad thing, I don’t know, but what I do know is that Biblical study just got a lot easier. 

Up until recently I had used the infamous BibleGateway.com for studying the Bible. One of its greatest features has been parallel comparisons between translations, which the website/app I’m about to mention is doing now as well. The problem with BibleGateway.com is that it had become outdated and ad-driven. This week Bible Gateway released a new website and has released an app in the past year, but not before getting it’s thunder taken away by this fresh website/app that I’ll mention below.

The Bible app in which I’m speaking of was created in 2008 and it quickly became the go-to Bible app, but this past year they released their website which created a perfect work flow for reading and studying the Bible. In your app store you will know it as Bible by Lifechurch.tv. (Which interestingly enough is the church of the well-known speaker Craig Groeschel.) And you know they had to pay a boat full of money for their website URL at Bible.com.

Finally, I haven’t completely given up on BibleGateway.com. I’m actually glad that The Bible App has taken the bar up and created a little competition. Raising the bar means better apps all around for you and me.

3 Things Mister Nifty Loves about The Bible App

  1. The Bible App has done for the Bible what Google did for the search engine.
    • The Bible App has made everything simple on its website and app. When I go to a Bible website, I just want to search the Word. Simple. The Bible App has made it just that.
  2. Since taking over Bible.com, The Bible App has become a one-stop place for Biblical study on any device.
    • The Bible App was doing this before Bible Gateway came out with their app. In fact, Bible Gateway’s app looks like a spittin’ image of its competitor.
  3. Log-in accounts make your study history available on all devices
    • Streaming your information across all of your devices is becoming the standard in the app world. Remember the days (and it wasn’t long ago) when you had to email yourself everything?

 

Give Your Website a Fresh Look!

11 Mar

Church websites get a bad rap most of the time. There aren’t many leaders that like to spend the expensive hourly rate for a web designer to spruce up their website. So, the church website suffers.

Don’t be fooled, though. Your church website is extremely important. It’s one of the first impressions people come in contact with along with your parking lot attendants, nursery workers, and bulletin. I also can’t stress how important online giving is for your church. (We’ll deal with that in the next post.)  Oh, and get a Facebook page.

WordPress has made the maintenance of websites easy for church administrators. (If you don’t have a web guy.) Today, it’s easy to find themes that incorporate WordPress. The one our church ended up using was MintThemes.com. The cost is definitely not free. Their templates are going for $79, but many competitors are more expensive. They also have themes designed with churches specifically in mind.

Bottom Line:

The Good:

  • $79 will beat any invoice from a website designer. 
  • You get to see what your site looks like before you buy it.

The Bad:

  • $79 isn’t free. If you’d like free, WordPress has some free templates.
  • You do need someone with a little web/FTP knowledge to get your template setup. (MintThemes has a walk-through guide as well.)

Font Squirrel: Best Free Fonts

9 Dec

Site: Fontsquirrel.com
Price: Free

Free fonts aren’t hard to come by. (I’m sure you’ve tried 1001freefonts.com and dafont.com.) But great free fonts are hard to come by. Recently, I came across Fontsquirrel.com, which gives free quality fonts that are also free for commercial use. The website is clean and easy to get around.

Screen Shot 2013-11-25 at 11.26.57 PM

If you know of any more sites that produce quality free fonts, please comment below.

 

A Culture of Appreciation

2 Dec

A Culture of Appreciation

Thanksgiving is over, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop thanking people. This is especially true if you are a leader in a church or non-profit. In for-profit businesses, people will keep coming to work even if they aren’t noticed. Not always true for those that are volunteering their time week after week. That doesn’t mean that the cause isn’t great. It just means we have to reiterate time and time again how much we appreciate people that volunteer their time.

So, how do we intentionally do that?

1. Create a culture of appreciation

One mass email of appreciation to your team won’t do it. Try to think of ways you can implement appreciation into your system on a regular basis. There’s a pastor that has a party for his volunteers at the end of every year. There’s another church leader who created a team name for those who served to make them feel a part of something special. At our church, we’ve started implementing monthly and annual awards of excellence for those that volunteer their time. It does 2 things: 1) Allows people to feel like their work is appreciated. 2) Allows people to strive for excellence.

2. Go analog over digital

A hand written card or a sincere “Thank you!” will always beat a text, email, or tweet. You know which one you’d rather have. Then, why do we keep sending out mass emails and tweets? When giving appreciation, always go public and personal. We usually get the public part down; A post on Facebook or an announcement from the podium. Personal appreciation is more important than public, though. If people don’t feel that we appreciate them when we’re not in a microphone or on Facebook, they might wonder if we are actually thankful for them or if we just say that about everyone. Yes, have appreciation parties, but don’t forget the power of the personal “thank you”.

3. Keep it fresh

Pizza parties are cool every once in a while, but even free food gets old. Try to shake it up. When I was a kid, my mom had a red plate for special occasions. If I got a good grade on a test or it was my birthday, I got to eat with the red plate. It’s something so small, but it meant the world to me, because I knew that plate was saved for special occasions. What could be a “red plate” for your team? If there is a reserved parking spot at your church, could you let someone who is excelling have it for a month? Try to keep thinking of ways to keep the special from becoming the mundane.

We will never regret saying “thank you”.  It allows people to feel valued. That’s what we all want isn’t it?

Tick: A New To-Do App

26 Nov

Price: $1.99
Available at the App Store

It seems like there’s a new to-do app coming out every week. Every once in a while, though, something stands out. Tick is one of the most fun, and as it proclaims, one of the most customizable to-do apps out there.

TICK-Screen

 

There are a couple of things that really stand out about Tick. This app looks slick. You can choose an icon for your to-do list and make it any color you want it. I’m a visual person, and love the use of icons in this app.

Obviously, this can easily be used for shopping lists, but this is great for church leaders, who are wearing multiple hats most of the time. Use a music note icon for your music ministry to-dos. Use a phone icon for absentees. There are a few things missing for truly organized people, but overall this is a great app to tackle your to-do lists. I still prefer Producteev for more detailed organization.

The Pros

  • Customizable
  • Slick design
  • Share lists

The Cons

  • Priced at $1.99
  • Can’t prioritize items on list
  • Can’t add dates to items