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A great way to receive donations
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Many churches that use ChurchSuite also make use of the GoCardless integration to collect payments using Direct Debit or Instant Bank Pay. Churches benefit from this in a number of ways: giving is made easy and accessible, and church members/guests can readily support the church's ministry. With payments automatically reconciling in the Giving module, the administrative burden on church staff is greatly reduced. What's more, giving by Direct Debit has significantly lower fees than other forms of giving, and the GoCardless charity rate reduces this even further!

  • If you haven't yet started collecting donations or other payments using GoCardless, now's a great time to get started! Find out how on our support page.

  • If you're already using GoCardless, make sure you've signed on to their charity rate: When you log into your GoCardless Dashboard, go to Settings > Company Info >  Edit account details > Account Details (top right) > Business Details. If your Business Type is "charity/non-profit", then that means you're getting the discount.

GoCardless have today launched a case study that showcases the ChurchSuite / GoCardless integration and the benefits this brings. For this story, they interviewed our founder, Gavin, as well as a church that uses the GoCardless integration. The result is a really interesting look behind the scenes - we hope you find it helpful!

The post below was published by GoCardless and is reposted here with their permission.

A case study that showcases the ChurchSuite / GoCardless integration for donations through Instant Bank Pay and Direct Debit

58% of customers have made a one-off payment using Instant Bank Pay in the past year.

50% cheaper transactions with Instant Bank Pay versus card.

Digital Donations

ChurchSuite’s software helps churches to organise and manage all aspects of church life. It was founded in May 2011 by Gavin Courtney, its Managing Director, and it now has more than 3,000 customers.

“I was a freelance web designer building small systems for my church in my spare time, to help with things like event organising and record keeping,” he said. “I found that other churches needed the same systems and the idea of ChurchSuite was born.”

ChurchSuite solves a range of modern challenges from GDPR-compliant databases to event management. “But the backbone of any charitable organisation is collecting donations and processing Gift Aid,” said Gavin.

“By partnering with GoCardless we enable churches to quickly and easily accept recurring and one-off donations.”

Breath of fresh air

Direct Debit is a must-have feature for ChurchSuite because recurring donations are so vital to its customers. Higher income security means churches can confidently commit to longer-term projects and activities, and GoCardless has been ChurchSuite’s chosen partner from day one.

“I’ve built websites with all the different payment providers and found them to be really painful to work with,” said Gavin. “GoCardless was a breath of fresh air. Their fees were lower and they were the only ones making recurring payments easy. By processing all payments through their servers they take care of PCI compliance, for example, and they put a lot of effort into the developer experience.”

In fact, GoCardless makes life so easy for developers that Gavin is free to focus on the features customers need, instead of worrying about payments.

“We’ve never had to think about solving problems we don’t want to think about,” he said. “The documentation with GoCardless is really clear and well constructed, and every new change is pretty self-explanatory.”

Payments that put customers light years ahead

It’s simple for customers to enable collections with GoCardless in ChurchSuite, and automatic Gift Aid processing and reconciliation against specific projects or causes keeps admin to a minimum.

“With GoCardless our customers are light years ahead of where they would otherwise be,” said Gavin. “GoCardless takes care of so much complexity around legal and compliance, so we never have to hold customers’ hands during set up. And whenever a donation comes in through ChurchSuite, it’s automatically reconciled with the right project, along with any fees and Gift Aid information.”

Cathy Netto, Finance Administrator at Woodlands Church in Bristol, is a regular ChurchSuite user. She said: “It's simple to collect for different funds and causes with ChurchSuite and GoCardless, and we know exactly where to allocate money and whether Gift Aid applies, all without chasing people. We couldn’t do that with bank transfers.”

Open banking delivers faster and cheaper one-off payments

Instant Bank Pay from GoCardless complements Direct Debit, allowing ChurchSuite customers to use open banking to collect one-off payments faster and more cheaply than with cards. It eliminates some major points of friction for online payments since donors can make payments without entering their bank account number, sort code or card details.

“The strong organic adoption of Instant Bank Pay – 58% of customers have used it in the past year – is testament to its great customer experience: it feels a bit like magic,” said Gavin.

“Users just select Instant Bank Pay, choose their bank from the drop-down list, and then scan a code on their mobile to confirm their identity in their banking app.”

Instant Bank Pay transactions are also far cheaper than cards, so more money reaches the churches’ funds and projects. And as the donations get bigger, so do the savings, because GoCardless’ transaction fees are capped.

“Broadly speaking, Instant Bank Pay is 50% cheaper than card transactions,” said Gavin. “But the GoCardless fee cap means that once you get to donations of £100 or £200 and above, Instant Bank Pay is more like 25% of the cost of a card transaction — it's a really affordable and scalable way of receiving donations.”

Going places, together

ChurchSuite also gets paid by its own customers using GoCardless, which Gavin believes has helped him to build a better business as well as a better product.

“Everything with GoCardless is API-driven so I know we can scale without increasing the staff time involved with reconciling payments,” he said. “It’s basically bulletproof.

“We process 3,000-plus payments every month, across multiple currencies, and we don't even have a full-time finance person. Ultimately, these lower staffing costs mean we can price our software lower than the competition.”

More growth is on the agenda for ChurchSuite, both within the UK and abroad, which GoCardless will be there to support.

“GoCardless is present in the markets we want to expand into – like Australia, the United States, and within Europe – so we won’t need to integrate new systems,” said Gavin.

“This is yet another reason why GoCardless is a partner that inspires confidence. They’ve been incredibly reliable for more than a decade and I believe that, together, we have many more years of growth ahead of us.”

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