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New online tool helps churches continue giving despite COVID-19 distancing

Foundation platform promises easy, fast and affordable online giving for all Oklahoma Baptist churches

A new online giving solution from The Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma is offering relief to churches struggling with decreased giving in the wake of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Known simply as “Online Giving,” the web-based system provides an easy, fast and affordable solution for churches that need to rapidly deploy a digital giving platform. As its name implies, Online Giving allows church members to give tithes and offerings online, using their credit or debit card, as well as by electronic check (e-check).

Many Oklahoma Baptist congregations have been forced to cancel or limit services as part of social distancing initiatives designed to help slow the virus’ spread. And while many agree that these measures are an important part of “loving thy neighbor,” they come with an unintended side-effect—cutting off access to church members’ traditional giving mechanisms.

“Oklahoma Baptists are generous people who care about the ministry and mission of their local church,” Foundation CEO Robert Kellogg said. “But the humble offering plate is still the most widely-used giving vehicle. Without regular Sunday and Wednesday services, weekly tithes and offerings aren’t being collected. That’s why an online giving option is critical, and why the Foundation moved quickly to make our online giving platform available to all Oklahoma Baptist churches.”

Unlike many other online giving options, there is no cost for churches or donors to use Online Giving, and no contract. Churches can start or stop using the service at will. A third-party, 2.9 percent processing fee applies to transactions made with a credit or debit card. And there’s no paperwork, since tax receipts for online gifts are sent to donors automatically via email.

“We understand the financial challenges churches are facing, and we’re serious about helping,” Kellogg added. “That’s why the Foundation isn’t charging anyone to use Online Giving. Other platforms have dropped fees temporarily, but we don’t make money from this initiative, period. The only cost comes from the third-party provider who processes transactions.”

Online gifts are deposited weekly into churches’ checking or savings accounts, and the funds are purposely unrestricted and undesignated, which means they can be used immediately to meet any church need. Churches who register for Online Giving are provided with a unique URL that takes church members directly to their congregation’s giving page, allowing gifts to be made with only a few clicks. The Foundation also provides pastors with free promotional materials like social media posts and an Online Giving Guide to help church members learn about using the platform.

“I highly recommend this new online giving option introduced by the Foundation,” said Hance Dilbeck, executive director-treasurer for Oklahoma Baptists. “In order to facilitate continued giving toward Kingdom work, pastors should embrace online giving technology.”

To learn more about Online Giving from the Foundation, visit www.bfok.org/OnlineGiving.

Author: Mike Schueler

Mike Schueler is director of marketing and communications for The Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma

View more articles by Mike Schueler.

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Like so many other organizations around the state and country, Oklahoma Baptists are closely monitoring news and information about the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).Learn More Here.
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