Online giving is a fairly straight forward process for your congregants. (Click here to see how congregants can use online giving. Click here to see how congregants can also use the Church App to give online.)
However, there's a lot of things happening behind the scenes of Seraphim that you will want to know as you manage finances and online giving at your church.
What's the general online giving process look like?
- The congregant goes to the online giving page and enters the giving amount, whether this is a one-time gift or a recurring gift, the fund they'd like to give to, and a note.
- They then fill out their billing information: name, email, and address.
- Then they'll enters their account type (credit card, checking account), card or account number, expiration date and CVC code.
- The congregant will then receive a confirmation message.
Now, that's a pretty straight forward process. But behind each one of these steps, several things are happening. Below, you'll find various "what if" scenarios to help you navigate the online giving world.
When someone gives online, how does that transaction show up in Seraphim?
When a user goes online and fills out an online gift (whether a single gift or a recurring gift), this giving info will be matched directly with the corresponding user record in Seraphim.
Seraphim will make the match based upon the name, phone number, and email address that the donor enters on the online giving form.
If Seraphim finds a match, that financial transaction is linked with the appropriate record. If Seraphim does not find a match, Seraphim will generate a new user record, and assign the transaction to that user's record.
You may find that a new record is created unnecessarily. This can happen if the donor does not spell their name exactly as it appears in Seraphim, or maybe they might enter a different phone number. If this is the case, you'll want to merge the new record into the original. Click Here to learn how to merge user profiles.
If the system created the new record correctly, then you'll want to make sure that you follow up with this new donor of your church!
Recurring giving seems pretty tricky, can I manage recurring gifts? How do I edit or cancel recurring gifts?
You might have a situation where you'll want to edit or cancel a recurring gift on behalf of someone at the church. When someone signs up for a recurring gift, as an administrator you will be able to see this under the Finance tile when reviewing transactions. As and administrator, you can cancel a recurring gift on behalf of a donor, but you cannot edit recurring gifts. To "edit" a recurring gift for someone, you would actually need to cancel the recurring gift, and have the donor set up a new one.
- Right now, the only way for a congregant to actually edit a recurring gift is through the ChurchApp. Click here to learn how.
- To Learn how to cancel a recurring gift on behalf of a congregant: Click Here.
Keep in mind, recurring gifts are set to occur indefinitely. They will never stop automatically. So if a recurring gift needs to stop, either the congregant or an administrator will need to cancel the recurring gift.
What kind of receipts or email confirmations do donor's receive when giving online?
Donors will get a receipt / email notifications in several different scenarios. Some of these emails are from Seraphim, and some are from BluePay. It is important to remember that notifications will be sent to the email address that the donor lists on the giving portal while entering their gift. Notifications will not be sent to the email address listed on Seraphim. Below, you'll see when donors receive email notifications.
- When the donor sets up a recurring gift. They will receive an "initialization" email from Seraphim. The email will contain a "cancellation" button that if clicked, will allow the user to directly cancel the recurring gift.
- Each time a recurring gift transaction is processed, the donor will receive a receipt email from BluePay indicating that the transaction was successfully processed with the amount listed.
- When the donor sets up a one-time gift, they will receive 2 emails: one from Seraphim indicating the gift was set up, and one receipt from BluePay indicating that the transaction was successfully processed with the amount listed.
- Any time a transaction fails for some reason, the donor will receive a notification email. (More details in the next section.)
What happens with failed transactions, or insufficient funds?
There are many reasons that a transaction might fail: insufficient funds, expired credit cards, etc.
- When a transaction fails for a one time gift, the donor will receive a notification from BluePay.
- When a transaction fails for a recurring gift, the donor will receive a notification from BluePay. The email will contain a link to update giving methods. (Note: this link is not merely an update, it will actually cancel the recurring gift, and create a new one.
When and how does online giving information show up in Seraphim?
The way that online giving information comes into Seraphim, is through the "Import Online Giving" function under Batches in the Finance Tile. Click here to learn how to import online giving.
If a donor gives using a credit card, the transaction will show in the import section immediately, and assuming the transaction clears, it can be imported into the batch immediately as well.
If a donor gives using ACH (checking account), the transaction will show in the import section immediately as well. However, it is not immediately available to import. ACH transactions can take several days to clear. Seraphim checks several times a day for cleared ACH transactions. As soon as the transaction clears, the item will become available to import into the batch in the import section.
Can I refund transactions to donors?
At this time, you can refund transactions to donors, however this is only available via your church's BluePay portal. Keep in mind, each refund will incur a small fee from BluePay. If you have questions on this, you'll want to reach out to your BluePay representative.
However, the ability to refund from Seraphim is on it's way! This is a feature that we plan on incorporating into our Finance section in the near feature, so stay tuned!