Church donors can now give with a click

Anglicans can now make donations via computer to the Anglican Appeal, the Anglican Church of Canada and its various ministries, thanks to a Canadian charity Web site.

The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada, the legal entity of the national church, recently registered with CanadaHelps. A not-for-profit Web site launched in November 2000 by three university students, CanadaHelps is financially supported by some of the country’s largest banks and various other corporate sponsors. Charities pay no fees to register with CanadaHelps and are even saved from having to issue tax receipts. Minutes after the online donation is made, the Web site issues an electronic receipt to the donor’s e-mail address. Revenue Canada accepts electronic receipts for charitable donations.

The process is simple: donors may either use the “Give to the Anglican Church now” button (also pictured here) on the home page of the national church Web site, which links to the church’s page on the CanadaHelps site, or log on to the CanadaHelps Web site and type General Synod into the search engine. The search engine then returns a page with the name ‘General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada’; one click of the name brings up a page of general information about the church, a pull-down menu (donors may designate the donation to the Anglican Appeal, which funds the work of the church in the North and overseas) plus a box for the amount of the donation you wish to make. The site is, in Internet terms, secure so that credit card information is kept confidential. The donation appears as a charge on the donor’s credit card.

Gail Holland, co-ordinator of the Anglican Appeal, is hopeful about the new donation method, which is already being used by the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund and a number of Anglican churches across the country.

“Some of the other semi-automated methods we used leave a lot to be desired,” said Ms. Holland.

In the past, the appeal has invited donations via cheque or a 1-900 number; the donation would appear on the donor’s telephone bill.

The drawbacks of that method were that the church had to pay to have the 1-900 number, then pay for each call made to the number.

The process was cumbersome – it took about two months from the initial call for the appeal to receive the donation. Then, several weeks passed before the donor received a receipt. And, because the donation amount would appear on the donor’s telephone bill, the donation had to made from the donor’s home phone – the giver could not phone from work, for instance.

“This way, the money and the receipts are quick,” said Ms. Holland.

The Web site’s corporate sponsorship even absorbs the merchant fees that businesses and charities pay to credit card companies in order to receive funds from credit card purchases or donations.

Ms. Holland predicts that the new donation method will appeal to the wide sector of its donors who are online (the Appeal office has been gathering donors’ e-mail addresses for about a year in order to save on mailing costs for its two- to three-times yearly newsletter.)


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