Electronic donations

Discuss questions around local unit policies for budgeting, reconciling, etc. This forum should not contain specific financial or membership information.
aclawson
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Electronic donations

Postby aclawson » Sun Dec 04, 2011 8:07 am

I know people have been asking about this over the years and the answer has always been "possibly, eventually" but as society changes this becomes a more pressing issue.

There are many people out there who don't use physical checks, don't have a local bank branch and don't usually deal with cash. Paying their tithes requires multiple trips to an ATM to withdraw cash which can be inconvenient, fee-ridden and poses a safety risk as every trip to an ATM is a potential mugging - not to mention the risk of simply losing cash or the temptation of spending it instead of delivering it to the bishop.

Are there serious, active and prioritized efforts underway to allow US/Canada unit members to submit donations electronically within the next three years? I understand that the church is very conservative when it comes to technological implementation and that can be a good thing, but considering that the new generation has brought 20-somethings who have never actually touched a physical checkbook and may be required to pay at least $2.50 in fees just to come up with the cash to pay their tithing I respectfully submit that this is something that can't be left off indefinitely.

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jcarroll
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Electronic donations

Postby jcarroll » Sun Dec 04, 2011 10:34 am

A brother in our ward (Naperville Illinois Stake) lived in Norway for ten years; while there, he routinely paid his tithing electronically; so much so that when he moved in, he asked how to setup electronic transfer here. He was sorely disappointed to find he couldn't.

I am a twenty-something who think checks are inconvenient and a financial burden I try to avoid. The only check I routinely write is a tithing check. And this month, I think I'll be sending it to the bishop via "bill pay," which is a free service my bank offers to mail a paper check on my behalf to any recipient in the country.

So, I second the original request, "Are there serious, active and prioritized efforts underway to allow US/Canada unit members to submit donations electronically within the next three years?"

Thank you!

crislapi
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Postby crislapi » Sun Dec 04, 2011 10:36 am

This has been possible for years, but it's use is limited to those with special needs. There have been several great threads on it. The main reason is that EFT tithing payments are processed directly at church headquarters. Each one must be manually processed. The church does not have the staff to process a large number of these so it is offered mainly as a convenience to those who really cannot donate in their home unit (e.g. active duty members).

For more detailed discussions, see these threads:
https://tech.lds.org/forum/showthread.php?7487-On-Line-Tithing-payment
https://tech.lds.org/forum/showthread.php?4386-Electronic-Donations-Current-Status
https://tech.lds.org/forum/showthread.php?3210-Electronic-Donations-To-Church-Headquarters

Please note my reply addresses this issue in the US only. Also, EFT is not bill-pay. Billpay is an acceptable approach where the check is mailed to the bishop. Please note that because a donation slip is not filled out, there are some limitations to using it.

aclawson
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Postby aclawson » Sun Dec 04, 2011 11:15 am

crislapi wrote:The main reason is that EFT tithing payments are processed directly at church headquarters. Each one must be manually processed.


If the American Red Cross, United Way and the Boy Scouts of American can process donations without manually processing each one then nobody does. This is a question of making the decision to make the process available then implementing it.

crislapi
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Postby crislapi » Sun Dec 04, 2011 11:48 am

Preaching to the choir, brother. It is what it is. Read the attached threads for more.

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:11 pm

crislapi wrote:Billpay is an acceptable approach where the check is mailed to the bishop. Please note that because a donation slip is not filled out, there are some limitations to using it.


Because of the problems it creates for the leaders when there is no donation slip, I'd suggest having it mailed to yourself so you now have a check to deposit with the church in the usual fashion.

That said, please note that this forum is primarily user-to-user assistance. While some church employees do participate in some sections, we don't have a strong tie in this particular section. The church rarely tells use about things that are in the works. And when they do, the dates are frequently pushed back. As such, we have no answer as to when the church will allow direct electronic payment in the US.

Currently the only reliable method to have your concerns heard is to send feedback via the mail lds.org site.
Have you searched the Wiki?
Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

kylehart
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Postby kylehart » Sun Dec 04, 2011 8:34 pm

RussellHltn wrote:Because of the problems it creates for the leaders when there is no donation slip, I'd suggest having it mailed to yourself so you now have a check to deposit with the church in the usual fashion.


Agreed. The casual convenience "bill pay" is for you (the tithe payor) generates additional administrative burden and risk for others (the Bishop receives the check mailed to his home; he has to remember to bring it to church and not leave it in his suit coat pocket or at the dry cleaners; the clerks have to fill out an offering slip for you and in some cases, have to guess on where to put the amount -- which defaults to 100% tithing if not specified on the notes of the check).

Just write a check and hand it to a priesthood leader. Yes, tithing checks are the only checks I ever write as well.

nathangrigg
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Postby nathangrigg » Sun Dec 04, 2011 8:52 pm

As a financial clerk, I disagree that processing Bill Pay checks is an administrative burden. Many members mail tithing to the Bishop anyway, so he's used to bringing in mail. Filling out a tithing slip is not that difficult, and not having to read someone's handwriting makes up for any lost time.

To avoid confusion on how to categorize donations, I recommend to people that they put it in the memo or account field on the check, and write separate checks for separate categories.

greggo
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Postby greggo » Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:10 pm

RussellHltn wrote:Because of the problems it creates for the leaders when there is no donation slip, I'd suggest having it mailed to yourself so you now have a check to deposit with the church in the usual fashion.

Just want to 2nd RussellHltn's suggestion. This would alleviate any extra burden on clerks/bishops by having the check mailed to the bishop, and the only extra administrative action as compared to the "normal" check writing method on the part of the donor is to remember to take the check to church (and to initiate the bill pay X no. of days before Sunday).

davesudweeks
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Postby davesudweeks » Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:33 pm

nathangrigg wrote:As a financial clerk, I disagree that processing Bill Pay checks is an administrative burden.


This may not be an issue for you, but it certainly WOULD be an issue for my Assistant Financial Clerk.

My advice would be for each individual who wants to do this to discuss the matter with your Bishop or the Clerks in your own unit. Some are very comfortable with taking care of the paperwork. Others are not. Together you can come up with a method that everyone can work with. Bear in mind that when Clerks change (and they do) you will need to have that discussion again and may have to change the process to accommodate a clerk who may not be comfortable filling out your paperwork for you.

In either case, you would need to be more vigilant to ensure your donations are being deposited correctly since you will be relying on someone else to fill out your tithing slip for you (unless you have the bill-pay check mailed to yourself).


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