Interview with Visionary: Senior Pastor, Doug Walker



This blog is provides valuable information to help with online giving for churches and online giving software for churches.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What was the impetus for creating

“Fellowship of the Parks took part in a Southwestern Seminary Doctoral Student’s survey on Stewardship.   The survey results showed the more you communicated with the members of your church the greater your donations would be. The further that person gets from their pledge it can become out of sight out of mind and the less likely they are to honor their commitment.  For this reason, I made the commitment to send out quarterly giving statements to our donors.  Printing statements quarterly for everyone who had given in that year was eating up a lot of time and cost. As our church grew it became more expensive and we determined that by developing software that would satisfy the communication, appreciation and reporting needs for both church leaders and donors we would be saving money in the long run.”

Why didn’t you buy an existing software solution to meet your needs?

“Before we began investing time and money in the software I researched what was out there and there was nothing adequate that allowed for investing in nonprofits and churches.  We are also a multi-site church and we interviewed several churches about the software systems they were using.  We found that their teams had to come up with creative ways to manipulate their system to accommodate for multi-site locations. This caused us to develop our software to have a feature that allowed us to add and sort campuses in addition to the necessary communication and reporting features.”

What influenced the framework and features for

“I was influenced to create due to my investment firm’s software.  I was amazed at how I could see exactly how my funds performed. I didn’t have to call or wait for the mail, it was all laid out for me right there.  When we give, we are making eternal investments.  In creating, we applied the tools from personal investments in the physical world to create a similar system for those making eternal investments.”

How can benefit a Pastor?

“I am more of a strategic leader and I don’t want to just lead from the gut. I want to have good information so that I can make the best decisions for our church. allows me to graph yearly giving trends.  I don’t have to worry week to week and can plan around giving patterns.

We know that giving increases on the 1st and 3rd weeks of each month during pay periods.  December is the highest giving month and July is the lowest when families travel.  I can plan additional campaigns around cash flow projections. I can also sort my top ten givers and send a personalized note requesting that they take part in an upcoming campaign.  We have also created unlimited fund categories so with just a few keystrokes I can find how much has been given to our Uganda mission vs. having my accounting team dig through reports to find that information.  Because I can track our cash flow and know where we are financially, I don’t have to be panicked about not meeting our bills when I preach about giving. I approach it from how giving is about you and your relationship with God.  I preach about good stewardship with the message that what we spend our money and time on is what we most value.”

How does benefit the Donor?

“Our members are making “eternal investments” when giving to the church.  In doing so, I wanted all church members to “personal giving portal” similar to information found on my personal investment account.  When logging in, each member can see their current total pledge amount and where they stand in relation to their overall annual commitment.  Members can also see funds that they have given to and how resources were used.  Lastly they can view how others have given church wide and the overall financial picture of the church.  When giving to the church, we felt it important that the donor receive an immediate thank you for their gift which we personalized through  In receiving this response our members are assured that the gift was received and not lost in a “black hole” somewhere.  In thanking our donors it also creates greater likelihood that our members will give again. Our donors also receive receipts so that they don’t have to wait until the end of the year to get their taxes in order.  Lastly, we facilitate the opportunity to give by emailing messages about church needs and campaigns while providing a way to contribute immediately online.” 

Why was it important to incorporate online and recurrent giving?

“In order to tithe 10% to the church it is nearly impossible to do so without online giving.  I never carry cash and I don’t like to write checks.  I typically pay for everything using a Debit Card.  Online giving allows our members set-up recurrent transactions so that their tithes are made even if they are away from the church. An example was this year was that the 4th of July fell on a Sunday which created a double whammy to us as a large portion of our congregation was on vacation or celebrating the holiday.  By providing recurrent giving tithes were still received although our members were not in attendance.”

How has impacted giving at Fellowship of the Parks?

“We have increased overall annual giving by 104% during a time when our congregation grew 65%. Our electronic giving usage has increased 575% since we began using it with our software in 2007.  We have also stabilized our weekly giving. This year July 4th fell on a Sunday, we would have experienced a double whammy had our congregation not been using recurrent, electronic giving.”  

Dr. Jimmy Draper recently endorsed

“It is rare for me to give endorsements to products, but “My Giving Solutions” has to be an exception! This was developed by a pastor/church for churches. Doug Walker is the pastor and he served with me on my staff at First Baptist Church in Euless, TX many years ago. This program has been thoroughly tested and it effectively gives churches the ability to do a number of things: Promote increased giving, communicate effectively with donors, automates the entire process, creates an unlimited number of fund categories, helps to analyze and understand giving patterns and trends, develop strong online and recurring giving capabilities…and all this with a reduction of expenses to do these and other applications. Every church that is seeking to understand the economic meltdown we have experienced and desires to move forward with stewardship promotion and development needs to prayerfully look at this product.”
                                                                            – Dr. Jimmy Draper, President Emeritus – LifeWay Christian Resources

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