This post was last updated on March 24th, 2021 at 11:59 am.
Church budget envelopes are created by printing companies. They help the church collect donations easily from church members. However, how are these church budget envelopes created when the printers don’t have the data? The journey starts with church management software. When a church does not have a church management software system it is a big dilemma for preparing the budget envelopes each year. We will review some of the issues of not having a ChMS (Church Management Software) for your church.
What Are Church Budget Envelopes And Why Use Them…
Let’s first explain what church budget envelopes are and then why churches use them. Each year churches send their membership list which includes a unique number for each donor family to a printing company. The printing company creates a year’s worth of envelopes, typically 52 of them, for each donor. The donor uses this envelope to enclose their weekly donations.
Why do churches use offering envelopes? It helps to record the donations to the specific person via the unique number into the church management system — ChMS. It also offers a paper trail in case something happens where the person keying the entries into the ChMS misses something. For the donor, it helps them to stay organized with their donation and on track with their pledge. It also helps the money counters in the church fill out their weekly paperwork and do the deposit.
Brief Summary Of Options For Church Budget Envelopes…
There are a lot of choices for budget envelopes. For example, the envelopes can have a religious image or the church’s logo as seen below. Or the church can have special budget envelopes for kids ministry, special occasions like Easter, and so on. The design would be printed on the outside of the envelope. Notice the number ‘4827’ which is the unique number that is printed on every envelope for one donor. For a standard year, they would receive 52 envelopes, one for each week.
Each donor has a different number. This unique number is used by the data entry person entering donations into the church management software – ChMS. It is used to pull up the person’s record and apply the donations to them.
But We Don’t Have A Church Management System
Not having church management software would be a big problem. As you can see from the image most of the information except the picture would come from your church management system. The church budget envelope companies upload an Excel file which the church gives them via the ChMS. The church has two options — use a church management software or manually type this information each year into Excel. The latter being a major inconvenience.
Creating an export in a ChMS takes thirty seconds or less. Manually entering data for all your members, their addresses, and the unique number would take hours if not days. A ChMS saves time and money by producing this export for your organization. There are many other benefits of having a ChMS outside of this limited church budget envelope scope. Let’s focus on the donor piece of the church management software.
Donor System And Budget Envelopes
What does the donor system in the church management solution have in common with the budget envelopes? The donor system is where the money ends up eventually. The donor system is the system that creates the export for the envelope company. They take that export and create the offering envelopes and send them to the church for distribution. The donors receive the offering envelopes from their church. Then the donors each week send the envelopes back to the church where they are opened, money counted and then entered into the donor system. The envelopes are stored for an audit trail but the data resides in the church management system.
As you can see from this process the donor system is intricately tied to the church budget envelope process. So much so that if you are using church budget envelopes and don’t have a donor system implemented, you are creating a lot more work for yourself.
But Our Church Does Mostly Online Donations…
Many churches think that offering envelopes doesn’t apply to them since most of their congregation gives online. There’s one issue with that thought process.
When passing the plate around on a Sunday, most online donors feel like they have not participated in the worship. Almost like they were robbed of the opportunity to give. They feel this even though they may have given already via the online portal earlier in the week. Or they have reoccurring withdraws each week that are completed without them doing anything. Over time the donors become disconnected from this awesome worship experience. The giving almost becomes transactional and they are left feeling empty. It can actually be so detrimental that they reduce or stop their online donation altogether.
Help online donors feel connected
Church budget envelope companies can help keep people from feeling a disconnection during worship. It helps them take part in the worship just like the traditional people that give money via the plate. The church budget envelope companies can create pew cards or designate cards for each family that they hand out or keep in the pews. What these cards allow the donor to do is participate in the passing of the plate. When the plate comes they place the card in it signifying they already gave online. While this gesture seems odd initially by not placing money in the plate, it helps to keep the connection for the donor during the plate passing. They can participate in the whole worship experience. Here’s an example of a pew card.
Track church attendance with online giving cards
Another way the pew cards help is if they have a place to put a name or better yet, print names on them, then the church can also take attendance. The way this is done is on the back it will have the printed name of the donor or a place for them to write in their name or other information the church needs. Because anyone giving in the plate more than likely attended, thus data entry personnel can input the data for church attendance as well.
Summary For Budget Envelopes
As you can see the church budget envelopes are a great way to track money coming in each week. They provide easier processing of donations and a better audit trail. The church budget envelope companies provide a great service for churches by creating these envelopes with all the necessary information and the ability to customize and brand it for your church.
Also, we reviewed why churches need a ChMS to work well with budget envelopes. These budget envelope companies need an export of your member’s data found in the ChMS. So they go hand in hand with each other. We also reviewed a method for online donors to still participate in the Sunday giving experience using pew cards when the plate is passed.