Set up and make an electronic gift
God teaches us through the Bible that giving is an act of worship. All we have is from God. We honor God by offering back to him what he has given to us. The very first Bible verse many of us learned says, “For God so loved the world that He gave” (John 3:16). With that action, God demonstrated the ultimate in generosity.
Psalms 24:1 tells us, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it”. Giving reminds us that we are stewards and not owners. As stewards, we remember that these resources were created by God and belong to God. As stewards for God, we are called to generously share with others through our tithes and offerings.
Offering to God is the most common act of worship identified in the Bible, more frequent than preaching the word or even singing. As we worship with joy, we can also appreciate Paul’s statement, “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).
For your convenience, Waterford Mennonite Church offers online giving via electronic transfer from a checking or savings account using ACH*. With electronic giving, your weekly, semi-monthly or monthly contribution can be debited from your checking or savings account and transferred directly into the church account safely and electronically.
Generosity is also an important spiritual practice. Because we believe that generosity is first and foremost an act of worship, we invite you to join with others in this significant communal act even while giving electronically. Several ways to participate in the offering while giving electronically are described in the frequently asked questions and answers below.
Those wishing to participate in electronic giving but who prefer not to set up contributions on the web on their own may complete an Authorization Form and return it to bookkeeper Elvina Schmidt.
Download an Authorization Form
Thank you for your support of our church and its ministries.
*ACH is a safe, electronic transfer from a checking or savings account.
FAQs on Electronic Giving
What is electronic giving?
Electronic giving is a method whereby your contribution to Waterford Mennonite Church (WMC) is automatically deducted from your checking or savings account and deposited into the WMC bank account. Electronic giving uses something called Automated Clearing House (ACH for short). ACH is a computer-based clearing and settlement facility established to process the exchange of electronic transactions between participating financial institutions. Instead of using paper to carry necessary transaction information, such as with checks, ACH transactions are transmitted electronically, allowing for faster processing times, increased accuracy and cost savings.
If you pay your mortgage payment or utility bill by direct debit from your bank account or if your pay check, social security check or tax refund is deposited directly into your bank account, you are likely already using some form of electronic funds transfer or ACH.
What are the advantages of electronic giving?
Fewer people today are using cash and checks for their business transactions. Electronic giving provides a convenient way to make contributions to your church. It makes it easy to fulfill stewardship commitments, even when you can’t attend church. You never have to bring cash or checks to church. You can also help the church save money and improve its budget!
With electronic giving you can schedule your donations at any time during the week from the convenience and safety of your home. You no longer need to worry about forgetting your checkbook or offering envelope when you go to church. Electronic giving also helps you manage your household budget since your contributions to WMC occur accurately and automatically according to the instructions you have provided.
Is electronic giving risky?
Actually electronic giving is less risky than writing checks or bringing cash to church. Electronic contributions cannot be lost, stolen or destroyed and have an extremely high rate of accuracy. Your donation information is entered into a secure web site and none of your bank information is stored on WMC computers. WMC staff do not have access to your bank account information. Electronic giving is processed as any other direct deposit or electronic payment and holds no risk for the donor.
How do I set up electronic giving?
There are two methods.
- Option 1: You may go to the church’s web site and click Online Giving. You will then be transferred to a secure web page where you will be able to enter things like your banking information; the amount you want to donate; the fund(s) to which you want to donate; the frequency of your donations; and when donations are to begin.
- Option 2: Complete an “Authorization Agreement for Automatic Withdrawal of Funds” Form (Authorization Form) and submit it to Elvina Schmidt, our church bookkeeper. Once you complete and sign the Authorization Form, the contribution amount you specify will automatically be transferred from your bank account to the church’s bank account according to the instructions you provide on the Form.
Feel free to contact Elvina Schmidt or Mel Claassen if you have further questions or need help setting up your account on the web site.
When will my contribution be deducted from my account?
Your electronic contribution will be deducted from your account on the date you specify on the web page or Authorization Form. If the date specified is not a business day (i.e. Saturday, Sunday or bank holiday), your contribution will be deducted from your account on the following business day.
WMC will generally receive your contribution one business day after it is deducted from your account. For example, if funds leave your account on Friday, they will be received into the WMC bank account the following Monday.
If I do not write checks, how do I keep my checkbook balance straight?
Since your contribution is automatically made at a pre-established time according to the instructions you have provided, you simply record it in you check register on the appropriate date.
Without a canceled check, how can I prove I made my contribution?
Your bank statement gives you an itemized list of electronic transactions. It is your proof of contributing. In addition, you will receive a quarterly acknowledgment from WMC documenting all of your giving transactions.
I view participating in the weekly offering as an act of worship and a part of our shared worship experience. How can I participate in this worship experience when I give electronically?
Here are some suggestions:
- The 2017 offering envelopes contain the words “I gave online.” People who donate electronically are encouraged to check that box on their offering envelope and place them in the offering plate each time an electronic gift is made. In addition to providing a worship experience to those so desiring, it will alert our church office to watch for the incoming donation.
- For those who choose not to use the envelope system, we plan make available small cards stating “I gave electronically.” These cards may be placed in the offering plate each week and then will be recycled and reused.
What if I change bank accounts?
You will need to update your information on the web site or if you use the Authorization Form you will need to notify the church and complete a new Authorization Form.
How do I change my donation instructions?
To change the amount, frequency or fund(s) to which you donate, you simply log into the secure web site and change the applicable items. Your changes will take effect immediately.
If you provided donation instructions using the Authorization Form, you will need to contact the church office and complete a new Authorization Form.
What if I want to designate a gift for a purpose or fund that is not listed on the web page?
You may choose other as the fund. You must then enter the specific designation in the description blank.
Can my gift be designated to more than one fund?
Each donation may be designated to one and only one fund. To make a gift to more than one fund you will need to create a separate donation entry (transaction) for each fund to which you desire to contribute.
How much does electronic giving cost?
It costs you nothing. WMC pays a small fee of $25 per month to be able to offer this service.
What if I try electronic giving and don’t like it?
You can cancel your authorization at any time through the web site or by notifying the church at any time.
Can I give to WMC by credit or debit card?
Our initial implementation is focusing on electronic giving using direct bank to bank transfer via ACH and will not include accepting donations from credit or debit cards. Giving via credit or debit cards may be implemented at a future date.
I am not interested in electronic giving. Can I still give the conventional way?
Certainly. You can continue to give to WMC via cash or check as you have done in the past. In fact, if you wish, you can give some of your donations electronically and some via check or cash.