Hidden Fees Exposed: Find Out What You're Really Paying for Online Giving

Does your church or ministry have online and mobile giving? Yes? Awesome! Did you know that it’s likely you are being overcharged? Not awesome. Hopefully this is not the case for you, but the unfortunate reality is that many churches are paying extremely high percentages on every giving transaction and they don’t even know it. Want to make sure your church isn’t one of them? We’ve got you! Most churches have decent processing rates, but high effective rates - and that’s where the problem lies. Let’s take a look at how to find out what your effective rate is and what you can do about it.

Wait….what’s an “effective rate”? And how do I find mine?

Any giving provider you talk to should (hopefully) be transparent about their processing rates, but they may not go into much detail about their effective rates. These two things are NOT the same. In many cases, the effective rate may be higher than the processing rate. So what exactly does “effective rate” mean? Glad you asked! Your effective rate is going to be the total percentage of money that the giving provider (and any third-party service involved with the transaction) is taking from every donation. This includes processing fees, per transaction fees, monthly fees, interchange fees, PCI compliance fees, merchant account fees, and more. If you want to know what your effective rate is, you can easily find out by taking a look at your monthly giving statements. Add up all of the fees your giving provider charged on that statement (this includes everything we mentioned above) and divide that number by the gross donation amount on that statement. Boom. There’s your effective rate.

How do my rates stack up?

Let’s say you just did the math and it turns out your church’s effective rate is around 4%. That’s not good. You can get better. Despite offering decent processing rates, many companies charge extra hidden fees for some of those things we mentioned above, such as interchange, PCI compliance, merchant accounts, and more, which causes the total effective rate to be much higher than the processing rate. Even worse, most churches in this scenario may not realize that they are paying these extra fees. Does that sound like a huge bummer? Well, it is. That’s why finding your effective rate is so important - it allows you to see a common ground comparison between all giving providers. Simply put, if your church’s effective rate is 4% or higher, you are overpaying. If it is 3% or higher, you could be doing better. And if it’s in the 2s, you are in great shape!

What you can do

Hopefully your church is in the 2% range, but if not, don’t lose hope! There are a few things you can do to ensure your ministry gets to keep as much of your donations as possible. First, if you are shopping around for giving providers, make sure to get clarity about each company’s effective rate (remember, it’s not the same as the processing rate). You can simply ask, “If John donates $100 to our ministry with his debit card, how much of that $100 will end up in our bank account after all fees are taken out?” If you find that your church is currently paying too much, call your giving provider and inquire about getting a lower rate. You can use our cheat sheet above for reference. And finally, if you’d like to skip dealing with high effective rates altogether, we’d love to help your ministry keep more of your donations. We’re not really into this whole “hidden fees” thing. To get more resources about lowering your effective rate, drop us a line at hello@subsplash.com!

The Easter Sale is Here!

Are you excited to celebrate Jesus' resurrection? We are! In fact, we're so excited that we are offering 20% off all of our packages for a limited time leading up to Easter Sunday. 

Every Subsplash package comes fully loaded with the premier custom app platform, online and mobile giving with GrowCurve, one-click sermon publishing to the web and your app, cloud hosting, digital bulletins, and a dedicated Client Success Manager to help you reach your goals. Easter is a great time to launch your app, as most churches will be seeing a high volume of visitors and new attenders over the next month. Your new app will allow your congregation and new visitors alike to stay connected to your church 24/7. Contact us here to claim your discount!

Calvary Chapel Worship Center: A Story of Innovation

A few weeks ago, we hit the road to meet up with our friends at Calvary Chapel Worship Center in Hillsboro, OR. It was so much fun hanging out with Pastor Rich and getting to learn more about their ministry and their heart for being innovative in how they engage with their community. They have a pretty awesome app; you should definitely check it out!

Calvary Chapel Worship Center also has a pretty awesome story of being innovative with how they use the Subsplash Platform. Last year, they decided to STOP printing Sunday bulletins altogether. Crazy, right?! Well, not exactly. Once they stopped printing bulletins, they actually saw incredible engagement on Sundays and saved THOUSANDS of dollars. Watch our interview with Pastor Rich to find out how they did it:

If you want to learn more about how you can save money on printing costs, contact our team at hello@subsplash.com. We'd love to help you save money and increase engagement!

Equipping a Mobile Generation to Read the Bible

Let’s face it, reading through the entire Bible can be pretty daunting. Many people start out enthusiastically only to fall behind and give up just a few weeks in. Creating a Bible reading plan is a great way to keep your readers on task, and putting that plan in your app keeps it in their pockets 24/7. Let’s take a look at four steps that will help you equip your community to read through the Bible together (you can also check out our video tutorial on how to do this here):

1. Pick a reading plan

Did you know that your Subsplash app comes with Bible reading plans? Well, it does! From the Dashboard, simply add a “Bible” tab to your app. You will be able to select which plan you would like to do from there. If you’d like to add your own custom plan, you can do that too! With just a few clicks, your reading plan is ready to go.

2. Get the word out

Of course you will want as many people as possible to join this journey of reading the Bible together, so encourage them to jump in! A great place to start is by announcing it from the stage at church on Sunday and adding it to your bulletin. This is also a great time to make sure everyone knows where to find the Bible reading plan in your app. Additionally, you can send an email, post to your social media accounts, and send push notifications. Group push notifications will be a great way to keep everyone in the loop as the plan progresses, and to celebrate milestones as well!

3. Create a community

It’s no secret that completing a reading plan without regular accountability is tough. You can combat this by creating small groups that will go through the reading plan together. Creating a custom form in your app is a great way to facilitate signups. To help you do this, we’ve created a free template that can be found in the Bible reading plan checklist. Once the group is up and running, you can use the Fill In Notes tool for group discussion questions. We recommend featuring all of your Bible reading plan resources in one place in your app. This will help your readers stay on track and provide them with easy access to everything they need.

4. Provide simple reminders

It’s time to go above and beyond! Providing simple reminders to all of your readers will help keep them on task. This could be a bookmark, a magnet, a postcard, or some other small token. If you’d like to provide some digital reminders, we’ve got you covered! Our design team has created some beautiful phone and desktop wallpapers that you can provide to your audience. These wallpapers are free and can be found in the Bible reading campaign checklist. Now every time one of your readers looks at their screen, they will be reminded of their commitment.

Ready to take your Bible Reading Plan to the next level? Share a post about your Bible Reading Plan on social media and tag or mention Subsplash on Facebook (Subsplash), Instagram (@subsplashseattle), or Twitter (@subsplash). We’ll send the first 5 people who tag us a $10 Starbucks gift card! And as always, if you have any questions, please drop us a line at hello@subsplash.com. Happy reading!

Subsplash Apps Are Now Faster Than Ever

Yep, you read that correctly. Subsplash apps are now faster than ever. How fast? Instantaneous! As part of our latest software update for iOS (v. 4.5.3), we have added instantaneous page loading for all of our clients. This update is being shipped as we speak (some of you may already have it installed!), so if you have a Subsplash app, expect to see it available under “Updates” in the iTunes store within the next few weeks. We are so excited to help make the user experience better than ever!


Why Does This Matter?

So the apps load a few seconds faster….why is that a big deal? Great question. We can’t lie, we’re pretty excited about instantaneous page loading, but our excitement goes much deeper than simply erasing a few seconds of loading time. Here at Subsplash, one of our mottos is “delivering delight”. We spend countless hours working on the minute details of features that users and church leaders may not think to request, but are delighted to find when they interact with our apps. If you are a church leader looking to get an app for your church, you may not think to ask about the minor details like page loading times, but those minor details make a huge difference. If your app is slow, lacks innovative design, or simply pulls in a bunch of website links, then chances are your congregation is not going to adopt the app the way you’d like. A bad first impression can be enough to steer users away from using your app, and if people aren’t using your app, it’s a waste of money! We never want that to happen, so that’s why we focus so much on the minor details in everything from big ticket items like our media player and giving platform, all the way down to how fast each page loads. And that’s why instantaneous page loading matters! We hope you enjoy the lightning fast experience!