University AME Zion Church: 65% Increase in Donations Using Overflow

4 Minute Read
Posted by Overflow Team on March 27, 2023

Tags: Case Study

How University AME Zion Church Increased Donations With Overflow

In the past, University AME Zion Church in Palo Alto, California, relied on traditional fundraising efforts to raise funds. Now, having teamed up with Overflow, the church has seen a 65% increase in donations. Here we explore how Overflow helped University AME Zion encourage its members and the local community to donate to charity.


Setting The Scene

Pastor Kaloma Smith, who has led the University AME Zion Church for nearly ten years, describes University AME Zion as an ‘outpost church’ with a tiny, predominantly Black congregation and limited fundraising opportunities. Coming into the church, Pastor Smith was initially confronted with tired, run-down facilities, with one building even being condemned.

At that time, the church’s main source of funding was traditional fundraising efforts and monthly fundraising events where donors made their contributions through paper checks.

Since joining the church, Pastor Smith has worked with his colleagues and 250 church members to move to an online giving process, which has seen almost 80% of all donations now being made digitally. Year-over-year, the church has seen a growth of nearly 20%. Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, the church has continued to see this encouraging growth.

Non-cash donations weren’t something the church had considered in the past due to a lack of resources, education, and time. “I started to realize that people get compensated for stock, but being a smaller church heading into mid-size, we just didn't have the capacity to start figuring out how to do that,” said Pastor Smith. “We were just grateful that, coming out of COVID, our budget was going up, people were joining, and they were giving.”


Teaming Up With Overflow

Pastor Smith was keen to do more, and an associate put him in touch with Overflow. Overflow was able to provide a simple way for attendees to give from multiple asset classes online. The partnership also provided the church with education around giving non-cash assets. The education and resources helped the church understand the benefit and feel comfortable utilizing Overflow for giving. 


“What Overflow gives a church in our position is an introduction to more sophisticated and ethical ways to spark generosity in our church.”


What Overflow gives a church in our position is an introduction to more sophisticated and ethical ways to spark generosity in our church,” said Pastor Smith. “We live in a time where the character, morality, and integrity of the church, particularly around money, is important to the community - and I would say even more so in the Black community.

The church introduced Overflow in March 2022 and committed to using it until the end-of-year campaign to see if it made a difference. Incredibly, in the last six weeks of 2022 during their end of year campaign, the church saw a 65% increase in donations compared to previous years, which Pastor Smith described as ‘transformative.’


Helping With The Education Piece 

Overflow was able to assist the church in providing education to its members around non-cash giving, which took place during the church’s regular basic budgeting workshops for its members. Information on how to donate to charity using non-cash means was also shared with members on social media and through newsletters. 

Adopting new technology can be daunting, but Overflow provides best practices on how often and how to communicate about the platform. Pastor Smith was vigilant about this communication strategy often communicating from stage, by social, and communicating through their workshops. The church found Overflow’s assistance with information sharing particularly helpful here, as many of their members were seniors and used to making donations in cash from their checking accounts. 


Final Thoughts

Overflow has given donors at University AME Zion the opportunity to look beyond their checking accounts and use other assets like stock and cryptocurrency to donate to the church.

“In order to teach generosity and fund a vision, you need to have a holistic conversation, not [just] about your wallet, but your entire asset base. For so long, we were just worried about people’s wallets that we didn't worry about their [other] assets,” said Pastor Smith.

“With Overflow teaching about [non-cash] assets, it’s freed people to start planning and working through their assets, not just their checking account. So you start liberating people to think bigger than a paycheck.” 


Find Out More

Overflow has an excellent track record in working with churches and non-profit organizations to increase generosity and reach more donors. Our fast and accessible platform makes it easier than ever to donate to a non-profit. Book a demo to learn more about how Overflow can benefit your fundraising efforts.