Tech Talk: Google Donate, donating birthdays, and more about online giving

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Tech Talk with Lisa Hendey/Son Rise Morning Show (CatholicMom.com)

On a recent episode of the Son Rise Morning Show, we discussed online charitable giving. By some estimates, 30% of all charitable giving happens during the holiday season, and Google just announced that they’re working to make online giving more simple.

Starting this week, when you search for a growing list of US-based nonprofits, you’ll see a new “Donate” option that you can use to donate. On either PC or mobile searches, you’ll see an obvious blue button.

While I haven’t discovered any Catholic nonprofits who have access to the button yet, they can qualify by visiting Google.com/Nonprofits. Non-profits need to apply through Google’s non-profit portal. I searched for both CRS and Catholic Charities USA and neither have it yet, but I expect them to be the first.

We celebrated Giving Tuesday this week, and online giving now seems to be trendy in social media. Facebook is encouraging this with programs such as donating your birthdays. The Giving Tuesday website tracked over $177,000,000 in 98 countries by 1,640,000 individual gifts!

At its Forum for Good on Wednesday, Facebook announced new developments in its social good initiatives, including dropping fees for donations to non-profits. Facebook is eliminating its 5% fee on donations so 100% of money sent through its Donate buttons go to the desired non-profit. Previously it took 5% to pay for credit card processing and verifying the 750,000 charities on its platform, but it will now absorb those costs. However, personal fundraisers (for yourself, not a non-profit) can still incur fees from 6.9% to 8.8%.

Does all of this discussion of online giving run the risk of causing “giving fatigue”? Some have questioned if these developments are part of PR initiatives to combat “fake news” issues and other negative developments; personally, I think any emphasis on giving and making it easier to give is a good thing, but we may have the sense that we’ve given if we just “like” something.

What’s the best way to ensure that generosity and stewardship are part of your faith life all year long?

  • Set up recurring donations directly parishes, Catholic charities, and so on
  • Prayerfully discern your stewardship
  • Budget and set up recurring donations – many charities prefer either direct donations or that you opt to pay for credit card processing fees
  • Do this proactively but also pray about when an impromptu donation is in order

As for the question of credit card processing fees, Annie indicated that most small charities would be rather appreciative if you pay for the credit card processing, but a lot of the bigger ones get so many donations that it’s a negligible expense for them. Some sites give you the option of adding whatever the percentage is to cover the charge.

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Copyright 2017 Lisa Hendey

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About Author

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of CatholicMom.com and the bestselling author of the Chime Travelers children’s fiction series, The Grace of Yes, The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. As a board member and frequent host on KNXT Catholic Television, Lisa has produced and hosted multiple programs and has appeared on EWTN and CatholicTV. Hendey hosted “Catholic Moments” on Radio Maria and is the technology contributor for EWTN’s SonRise Morning Show. Lisa’s articles have appeared in Catholic Digest, National Catholic Register, and Our Sunday Visitor. Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and Catholic technology and communications topics. She was selected as an Elizabeth Egan Journalism Fellow, attended the Vatican Bloggers Meeting, the “Bishops and Bloggers” meeting and has written internationally on the work of Catholic Relief Services and Unbound. Hendey lives with her family in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Visit Lisa at www.LisaHendey.com for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish or organization.

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