Churchome in Washington – Annual Giving Statements
“Pushpay is the best option out there. That has a lot to do with the giver experience. They’ve caught up by leaps and bounds on the administrative side, especially with the Annual Giving Statements. There’s nothing better from a product standpoint. Customer service far exceeds the experience we had previously.”
A quarter of a century ago, Wendell and Gini Smith arrived in Seattle with a bold vision to build a church in metro Seattle that couldn’t be ignored (Matt. 5:14), where people from all walks of life would come to hear the story of Jesus. Over the next couple of decades, City Church grew to become one of the largest churches in the Pacific Northwest. In 2009, just before his passing, Wendell and Gini passed the reins of the church over to their son, Judah, and his wife, Chelsea. The following year City Church began a new campaign to engage Seattle in conversations about Jesus. The “Jesus is ______” campaign thrust the church into a new calling to show the world who Jesus is. Through the church’s “5 Gs” of gatherings, groups, generosity, and growth, Churchome (which City Church became in 2017) provides places where their community encounters the extravagant love of God. The multi-site church now has five campuses in Washington state and Southern California.
As the church has grown, so has its need for good tech solutions to help it become more efficient. Prior to 2018, Annual Giving Statements had become a “monster” problem for Churchome. “We literally got a bunch of people in a room and stuffed envelopes. It was quite the project,” said Justin Isenhart, the church’s director of business support. Because Annual Giving Statements had to be printed and mailed, Churchome needed physical addresses. Since many people—even givers—had moved since updating their contact information, the process was more complicated than it needed to be. That meant the church staff had to do quite a bit of manual work to get the statements to donors. Plus, the church spent hours over the next few months of the year fielding questions from members who were trying to track down missing statements.
In 2017, the church changed its name to Churchome to emphasize its calling to function like a home, look like a home, and love like a home. During the time City Church became Churchome, the congregation began to implement Pushpay in the church, and were preparing to use the Annual Giving Statements feature. Isenhart started touching base with the Pushpay team in October 2017 to see what it would take to import giving data from the church’s previous solution to Pushpay. In the last few months of 2017, the church did several test runs to ensure the data was in a format that would work. “The Pushpay team was extremely helpful as we went through these steps,” Isenhart said.
Isenhart says the process of preparing Annual Giving Statements was both easy and clear. The church was able to prepare a custom message to go with the statements and see a mockup of what the email would look like. Through Pushpay’s solution, Isenhart was able to show the church’s leadership a preview of the statements before he emailed the statement to donors.
Once the church imported the giving data and approved the content for the statement, it took only a few minutes to send the giving statements to the congregation. The accounting team no longer had to lock themselves in a room and stuff envelopes for a week. Because the statements were tied to email addresses, the church fielded far fewer calls from people looking for their lost statements than they had in recent years.
Isenhart estimates Pushpay saved the church at least two full days with their help throughout the import process alone. Next year, without a necessary import process, the Pushpay solution should save the church a week and a half of time on Annual Giving Statements.
“The accounting team is an incredible group of people that probably work harder than anybody else in the entire church. They are just extremely faithful,” Isenhart said. “Anything we can do to make their lives easier is great. It provides them with more margin to do the important work they do.”
Statistics show that only 20 percent of regular church attendees regularly give financial support. Why are the other 80 percent getting lost? There are lots of possible answers to that question, so w...