Tried in the fires of business, George and Louise Eusterman learned to trust God for His provision, and they became passionate Kingdom givers. As early pioneers in EFT (electronic funds transfer) for monthly dues at their Riverside Health Club in Mount Vernon, WA, the Eustermans experienced 100% conversion to monthly payments with their members in 1985.
The motivation to use electronic payments grew from the friction between a God-given vision to build a preventive health center and the old funding model of trying to get members to pay their dues each month. By switching club membership payments to automatically debited electronic payments, the health club gained new assurance that the necessary monthly funds would indeed be in the bank, and this, in turn, had a direct impact on costs, planning and mission focus. The club went on a 15 year growth run until the Eustermans’ retirement in 2000.
While learning to trust God for wisdom and His provision in business and becoming obedient to stewardship and Kingdom financial principles, the Eustermans found that much of the Body of Christ were not faithful with their pledged giving to ministries nor had they proved God worthy of His promises. A missionary friend returned early from tour after losing half of his funding. This event was the catalyst in 1995 to eventually bring electronic recurring giving to Kingdom-building ministry.
One lesson learned was that the majority of Americans (around 80%) live on budgeted incomes that do not allow significant single gifts outside the budget. But if requested and allowed to give electronically each month (especially through checking accounts), many Americans can give regular smaller gifts, making their significance to a ministry increase greatly. The eGiving ministry has experienced great retention for the electronic stewards – at least 95% over 5 years. This is good Kingdom giving: faithful and effective.
Properly managed EFT (electronic funds transfer) became the great economic stabilizer to the fitness industry with a clientele struggling with behavior modification issues. Not only did EFT stabilize and grow revenues and clubs for the industry, but it also provided added motivation, convenience and stable relationships for the consumer, while fostering a boom in fitness center use that continues to this day. Non-use previously broke the relationship with the member and became a detriment to re-establishing regular exercise. EFT kept the relationship during “off” times, which motivated the member and shortened the non-use cycle. EFT became an excellent tool for exercise adherence as a “buying decision” was not made each month. EFT also removed the “curse” of having to chase after slow payers each month (or in the ministry’s case, suffer lost revenue from lack of faithfulness).
Christian ministry and charity offerings, which are based on relationships, are similar in that while a giver’s intentions are good (like exercise), the commitment sometimes gets broken and the relationship suffers (as does the revenue to the organization). Additionally, there are those not giving now who would commit if an eTithing / eGiving program was offered, even in small amounts, which add up.
The Eustermans were successful in converting 80% of their club members to electronic dues (the rest wrote big checks for the year). In comparison, many of our missionaries are 100% in eGiving support. We learned the “ins and outs” of EFT (including a combination of $100K in mistakes) and want to pass along our knowledge and passion for Kingdom funding to be used for your ministry’s success.
The vision was to establish EFT for God’s purposes. His church is a little slow adopting new tools, but many large Christian ministries are investigating and launching EFT electronic tithing and automatic giving programs as you read this. The Eustermans responded to a calling to provide the finest electronic donation programs available, and we encourage you to take this seriously. The effects of electronic recurring and online transactions for doing good are phenomenal. EFT will not just become a stabilizing factor for your ministry, but it will also open up to you access to a whole new giver base (80%) of revenue that in our ADHD culture makes faithfulness difficult at best.
The Lord is still the giver of increase. Unless the Holy Spirit fills the eGiving basket, it will not happen. eGiving is just a tool and a very effective one. It has since morphed into online/mobile giving and web applications to help growing front-line organizations facilitate this rapidly changing world.
Several years later, we are still volunteers working with leaders through eGiving Ministries.com as a ministry to ministries. Our eGiving software and processing is in the capable hands of our support staff and Ministry Brands. We can be reached at info (at) egivingministries.com. We are available to help you grow your eGiving no matter what kinds of tools you use.
In His service,