I want to give full credit  for this idea to Rich Andrews from the Blue Route Vineyard in Media, PA who told me about Venmo back in July.  Today Mashable came out with a story showing a lot of love to Venmo as well, so I thought today would be a good time to post this.

Back in January I wrote a post about why we offer various ways for people to give financially at the Vineyard.  At the end of that post I asked if there were ways we were missing.  Well, as you may have noticed over the past year or so, making donations via your cell phone has become more & more popular, so we have set up an account with Venmo for people who might be interested in giving this way.  Venmo is a safe and secure way of giving that works with any phone that can send and receive text messages. While the Vineyard pays a slight fee to use the service (3.5%), the service is free* for the giver.

So how does this work?
Payments are made by sending a text to Venmo’s phone number (646.863.9557).
You will need to use our Venmo username “ithacavineyard” when texting your payment.

You do not need a Venmo account to use this system.  However, if you do choose to set up an account (you will receive instructions after your first gift), it will make it easier for you to give this way in the future.

Important information when using Venmo for the first time:
When giving for the First Time, you will need to format your text as follows:
(substituting your name, as well as the actual amount you are giving.)

“Pay $200 to ithacavineyard for offering from John & Jane Smith”

Once you have done that, Venmo will send you a text message with instructions on how to complete your giving. 
Unlike some service that simply add the amount to your cell phone bill, Venmo does require the use of a credit/debit card.  This will be part of the instruction process.

After your first donation, you will be promted to set up a username. If this seems to be a method of giving that you would plan on using regularly, it’d be helpful if you use use your full name(s) in your Venmo username (i.e. johnandjanesmith) so we can identify your future gifts.

Once you have an account set up, you could simply text things like
“Pay 50 to ithacavineyard for tithe”
“Pay 100 to ithacavineyard for building fund”
when you choose to give.

Like we say with all of the various methods of giving we offer, if this one is not convenient for you don’t use it!  At the Ithaca Vineyard we believe stewardship is a central part of discipleship, and since we believe most people want to give, we want to make that process as easy as possible.


*There is a $.02 charge when you set up a credit card to use with this service.  So, not exactly free, but as Miracle Max would say,  it’s mostly free.