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online giving faq

Q. What is online giving?

A: Online giving is the ability to give a donation or schedule a series of donations using your bank’s checking account, debit card, or credit card, through a secure website portal designed for receiving online donations.

Q: Who should consider online giving?

A: Online giving is for anyone who is looking for a simple way to “automate the important” with regard to their giving and would like to give to the ministry of The Highlands United Methodist Church on a one time or recurring basis.

Q: Why should I consider online giving?

A: Here are four simple benefits:

1.You can prioritize giving in your budget. The Bible indicates giving is to be a "first" and not a last or leftover matter in our life. (See Proverbs 3:9-10). It is easy to let our standards and intentions be compromised by the press of expenses and billing cycles. It comes back to our willingness to “automate the important.”

2.You can increase your faithfulness. Have you ever forgotten your gift, left it at home or pledged to double it in the future? Have you had times where you have fallen behind because of travel and other schedule interruptions? Online giving provides a way to strengthen your faithfulness.

3.You can help your church. Through online giving, you expedite your gift, simplify our accounting, and strengthen our base of regular support.

4.You can encourage faith and faithfulness in the lives of fellow believers. As you plan and prioritize your giving, you will lead the way for others to grow and mature in their spiritual stewardship. Being a forerunner in this new area of planned giving, you can provide personal testimony and example for others to follow.

Q: How do I set up online giving?

A: It’s so simple! Go to http://thehighlands.ccbchurch.com. Create a username and password. Once you’ve done this you will notice there is a “give” tab at the top of the page…click it and then you are ready to fill in the necessary information to complete your journey toward giving online.

Q: What is Church Community Builder?

A: CCB (Church Community Builder) is the internal, web-based, church management software we use at The Highlands United Methodist Church. CCB also serves as our online giving portal. We are super excited about integrating CCB into the overall life of The Highlands United Methodist Church as an information hub or online directory.

Q: Is online giving secure?

A: Yes it is! Every piece of financial information you enter in CCB (Church Community Builder) is encrypted so it can't be spied on by anyone else. However, because Church Community Builder is not a payment processor CCB does not store your checking, debit/credit card information. In fact, it does not even pass through their servers as that data bypasses CCB and goes directly to BluePay (our merchant account), which serves as our payment processor.

Bluepay’s servers are behind hardware and software firewalls, which serve to protect your data and their code from hackers and intruders. They also follow all the guidelines for PCI Compliance, which is an industry-mandated security standard that applies to all organizations that handle, process or store debit/credit card information.

There are many other specific measures BluePay has put in place to ensure safe and secure transactions. Unless you have a background in cryptography and you like to build robots in your spare time, you're probably better off just knowing that CCB and Bluepay have us covered and online giving is incredibility safe and secure.

Q: When are gifts processed?

A: All gifts are processed per your directions when you set up this process.

Q: Can I make a one-time contribution or set up a recurring gift?

A: Absolutely. The system allows the option of making a one-time payment or setting up a recurring contribution that is scheduled to come out of whichever type of account you designate on the dates and frequencies specified by you.

If, however, you set up a one time gift and click the submit button the transaction is completed IMMEDIATELY. Thus, if you are not ready to contribute a one time gift at that moment please do not click the submit button.

Q: What if I want to cancel or change my online giving?

A: No problem. You can change or cancel your contribution at anytime before the date of your next contribution.

Q: I noticed there is a feature, which allows me to give with a credit card. If consumer debt is such a bad thing and we want to help people get out of debt, why does The Highlands Church accept credit card donations?

A: Church Community Builder did not provide us with an option of disallowing people to give with a credit card. Therefore, in order to give with a debit card the credit card option was automatically made available.

However, let us ask another question. Have you ever known anyone to rack up substantial credit card debt because they were too generous with charitable giving? Probably not! People get into trouble with credit cards because they buy things that they do not really need with money that they do not really have. Charitable giving doesn’t get people into credit card debt – frivolous, undisciplined, and unplanned spending does.

Used within proper parameters, debit, and credit cards can be an efficient tool for payments and purchases. Many people utilize them in place of checks or cash throughout the month, and then pay off the balance in full. However, for our purposes of giving online, CCB did not present us with an alternative of eliminating the credit card giving option.

The Highlands United Methodist Church STRONGLY DISCOURAGES those who have ongoing credit card debt from exercising this stewardship option.

Q. How should I tithe if my income varies from pay period to pay period?

A: Depending on which is more feasible for your situation, you can handle tithing with a fluctuating income in a couple of different ways. Some people choose to give exactly one-tenth of their earnings for each individual pay-period. Others estimate their total earnings for the year and give a portion of the total tithe each week or month throughout the year. However, you do this it’s entirely up to you.

Q. Can I designate my online gift to a particular department or ministry?

A: Yes and No. Online gifts can only be designated to the particular ministries or giving options listed in the “select one” drop down box. If you do not see a particualr ministry it cannot be designated.

Q. Should I tithe off my gross earnings or the net amount of my paycheck?

A: Scripture doesn’t use the literal terms “net” or “gross” and determining that amount is between you and God! What’s more important and biblical is to note the understanding of the tithe. The United Methodist Church, thus The Highlands, stands on the scriptural principle that the tithe, one-tenth of your income, is the baseline minimum standard for giving. Again, this is scripture-based, and calls for 10% of your time, treasure, and talents in support of your church family and it’s mission and ministry.

If you’ve never taken this “step of faith” then we strongly encourage you to take the “90-Day Tithing Challenge” during this period, which states that we will refund your money if at the end of 90 days you feel you are worse off financially than when you started the process.

Taking this step of faith is a huge part of our escape from the confines of finances, and toward a focus on God and fulfilling His kingdom sized vision for our church. God challenges us to give both generously and cheerfully—because our generosity to others always flows out of God’s generosity to us. (see Mark 12:41-44, 1 Timothy 6:17-19).

Q. When is the automatic contribution charged to my account?

A: You choose: one time, weekly, every two weeks, monthly, quarterly or annually. Contributions scheduled on Friday through Sunday may not show up on your bank account or statement until early the following week.

Q. How do I participate in the weekly offering if my contribution is automatically processed online?

A: You can still participate in the offering during the service by reflecting on the message of the song, media that is being presented, or the message from the brief “offering talk” spoken prior to receiving our morning offering, but we strongly recommend you take this space and prayerfully ask God to purify and use the gifts given to exponentially expand God’s Kingdom in our community and around the world.

Q: Will my online gifts be included on my Statement of Contributions?

A: Yes. However, when you set up your customized profile in CCB (Church Community Builders) you will be able to see your own giving record, stewardship pledges, and even print your own giving statement for tax purposes.

Q: When I set up my CCB profile will anyone else have access to my banking information?

A: NO! Your information is secure and seen only by you. Our Finance Chairperson and Treasurer only have the ability to see your giving history and stewardship pledge, but NO ONE else has access to your private financial information (i.e. routing number, credit card/debit card number, etc.). Again, this information is kept secure and seen only by YOU.

Q: Can I view my past giving history online?

A: Yes.

Q: What if I don't want to give online, but prefer to write checks?

A: No problem! Whatever works best for you and your family.

Q: I still have questions, now what?

A: If it pertains to CCB, please email Anne Ayers, our Administrative Assistant, at anne@thehighlandschurch.net. If it's finance related please contact Margie Burcum, our Finance Chairperson, at burcum@att.net.

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