What ways can donations be made?
We can process cash, checks and online donations (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, E-checks, and ACH transactions). Through our website, partners can set up recurring donations that automatically draft their credit card, debit card or bank account on a monthly basis.
What service fees do you charge?
Initial Application and Account Setup Fee (one-time): $125
Processing Fees (ongoing): BGI receives 10% of each donation it processes as an administrative fee to help cover the expenses of running this missions service organization. The 10% received generally does not cover all of the administrative expenses for each ministry. BGI raises additional funds to make sure the annual budget is met.
This administrative fee helps to pay for office space, the copier, postage, maintenance of the file servers, computers and printers, staffing, printed materials like envelopes, and much more. Very few charitable and non-profit organizations are able to maintain themselves on less than 15-20% of their income.
We believe we are doing well at keeping our systems streamlined so that we can keep our costs low.
Additional service fees may arise based upon your ministry’s needs.
Postage: The cost of postage for mailing receipts, paying bills on behalf of the client, etc. are passed along to the client.
Newsletter Production Costs: Cost varies depending on the newsletter, who does the layout, who does the printing, and who prepares the mailing. Newsletters going out to at least 200 people can take advantage of our bulk mailing postage rate which been between 17 and 18 cents per piece for several years. Most of our clients now use Constant Contact or Mail Chimp to maintain low-cost, frequent communication with their supporters.
Ministry Trade Name Setup Costs: $200 (Covers attorney’s fees, state filing fees and opening a new bank account for the trade name.)
Database Setup: Varies based upon the number of names to input.
Credit Card, Bank Draft and Online Donation Fees: 5% (in addition to the 10% to cover bank charges and merchant fees)
How and when are funds received by BGI on a ministry’s behalf disbursed to that ministry?
Funds are disbursed according to the needs of each individual ministry. These details will be worked out during new ministry orientation with the BGI Administrative Director.
Generally, fund transfers are done on or near the 15th and last day of each month via direct deposit into client accounts. Once funds are transferred into your personal bank account, they are considered income to you unless reimbursement documentation has been provided.
Another option is to submit a reimbursement request for ministry expenses. With proper documentation of those expenses, we can reimburse you by doing a direct deposit of funds into your account.
We can use funds from your BGI account to pay stateside bills such as medical insurance and storage unit fees for you while you are on the field. When we receive your bills and/or reimbursement requests, we pay them first with money from your BGI account. Leftover money can then be transferred to your personal account.
When disbursing funds to a person, ministry or bank account in another country, we use one of the following options based upon what works best for your location: bank wire, xoom.com, MoneyGram, Western Union.
How are bank accounts handled?
Monies received by BGI on your behalf are held in our BGI general account in a fund set apart with your name. Monies are disbursed according to the arrangements made with you at new ministry orientation. If you have a ministry trade name or are already incorporated, funds donated would be deposited into a separate account with your ministry name.
Currently, BGI does all of its banking with Arvest Bank. Our ability to do direct deposits means we should be able to deposit money directly into your bank account regardless of where you do your banking.
If we set up a trade name account for your ministry, you will not be a signer on that account. This is to protect your ministry account from the possibility of overdraft. If you take funds from your ministry account and we don’t know about it, we could overdraft your account and incur penalties when paying bills for you. Additionally, because your trade name ministry is set up under BGI’s 501(c)3, we are liable for that account’s activity and for submitting accurate records to the IRS at the end of the year. This policy is a safeguard for both you and BGI. You have access to money that we transfer to your personal account.
How do I reimburse ministry expenses?
For expense reimbursements, you must save your receipts and turn them in to the BGI office within 30 days of the time the expense was incurred. If funds are available in your account, you may be reimbursed for ministry-related expenses. Please allow 7-10 days for processing a reimbursement request. Many of our ministries simply itemize their expense on a Schedule C when doing their taxes at the end of the year. But we are happy to do ministry reimbursements as well, as long as you have proper documentation of the expense incurred.
How often are checks deposited and partners receipted?
We do deposits at least twice per month. For accounts that bring in large amounts of money or a large numbers of checks, we do deposits more frequently.
When are bills paid and checks cut?
Checks are cut at least once a week. We try to pay all bills within one week of receipt. For check requests from clients, we ask that you plan ahead. With many ministries to service, cutting checks at the last minute usually means the services being provided for other ministries suffer in an effort to deal with your crisis. We ask that clients provide us with at least 48-72 hours advance notice before making an unscheduled request for funds.
Who can help me with my taxes?
Dan Skerbitz, CPA (918) 809-7723
Terry Mosley, CPA (918) 491-6063
I work in a sensitive area where the use of religious language could be a problem. How do you handle that?
If you are in a sensitive area, any mail we send directly to you will be screened by one of our staff. All of our general mailings and email correspondence to ministries are done using generic, non-religious language for that reason. Rather than the staff having to switch back and forth trying to remember who is in a sensitive area and who is not, we simply use generic language throughout. Ministries are referred to as “clients” and “workers.” Supporters are called “investors.”
Can I take a pastor’s housing allowance?
You may qualify to designate a portion of your income as a pastor’s housing allowance if you are licensed or ordained with a church organization. We will look at this on a per person basis. If you qualify, we will need to have a housing allowance form submitted to us before the beginning of each new year.
Do you license ministers?
No. We recommend those wanting to receive a ministry license do so through a church organization.
Does BGI help its ministries to raise funds?
We only help by sending out your newsletters. You are solely responsible for raising the monies needed for your ministry. Since the administrative fees received by BGI ministries rarely cover the cost of the services we provide, BGI raises funds to supplement those administrative fees. To avoid conflict of interest and favoritism issues, fund raising remains the responsibility of each ministry.
Does BGI help its ministries set up itinerating schedules?
No. That is not a service we provide.
Do you know of any companies that specialize in providing health insurance for missionaries?
Click here to find out more about insurance designed for missionaries.
Does BGI handle funds for those going on a one-time, short-term missions trip?
Yes. There is a short version of the application form for those making a short-term trip. The application fee is still $125 (non-refundable) because we do nearly the same amount of setup for a short-term missionary as we do a long-term missionary. We can help produce their support-raising letters, but they will be responsible for paying up front the costs for creating and mailing those letters. A 10% administrative fee would be incurred. Contracts with short-term missionaries expire 90 days after they return from their trip. How remaining funds are to be used can be determined with the BGI Administrative Director.