The First Presidency announced today that a new online donations website will be released this year. "Donating online is an alternate method to contribute to the Church, similar to giving the donation to your bishop or branch president," shares a new "Online Donations" page in the Help Center on LDS.org.
"Historically, donation envelopes and contributions were given to priesthood leaders in each ward and branch," a news release explains, "In the future, this same process may still be used. However, for those who wish, they may make their contributions through the online donation system developed by the Church."
Though the system is currently in Beta testing only (invited users can pay tithing online as they pilot the program), the Church expects that "the Church Online Donations website will be rolled out to congregations in the US throughout 2015, and the Church will notify local leaders when it is available in their area."
The online system is touted as a way to "[reduce] the load on local leaders and clerks charged with processing donations."
The new website will include:
Donations - The process to make a donation is very similar to the paper slip used for tithes and offerings today. Each field is represented. You just click which one you're donating to and type in the amount. There are additional fields when more information is required, such as which missionary or fundraiser you might want your contribution to go towards.
Screenshot from Mormon Newsroom.
Saving Information - The first time you use the page, you'll have to enter your banking information (found on a check). However, after that point, you can have your information saved for future transactions.
Donation History - A big plus of the online system will be the Donation History feature. "Whether you choose to donate online or through your ward or branch, you will be able to view all of your donations in your current and previous wards on the online donations website," the page explains. "You will have the option to view your donations for specific date ranges and categories, such as tithing, fast offerings, or ward missionary fund."
Screenshot from Mormon Newsroom.
Replicate Previous Donations - While recurring automatic payments is not a feature of the new online payment system, you will have the option to "reuse" a previous donation slip. This will replicate a past tithing slip so you don't have to fill it out every month if the values don't change.
Donor Statements - Previously, at the end of each calendar year, wards will distribute tithing receipts for members to use as they file their taxes. Instead of needing to print those and hand out the physical copies, the new system will allow you to access that information online. The help page promises, "Statements are available for past years."
Additional Settings - Other settings in the system include the ability to review your name, member record number, email address, and other information. The help page explains: "You will be able to update your email address, add or delete your bank account information, change the settings for automatic email notifications, and select whether or not your spouse’s name appears on donation slips and donor statements."
The Online Donations page also answers general questions, including information about time it takes for money to be transferred (it will take between 1 and 3 days), if you can use a debit or credit card (you won't be able to), and other inquiries about the mechanics of fundraising and specific donations.
The new donations help page was first reported by Mormon Life Hacker.