St. Anthony Shrine Installs Automated Donation Kiosk

Diane Monaghan Around the Province

BOSTON – Earlier this month, St. Anthony Shrine here installed an automated donation kiosk, the first of its kind at a Catholic church in North America, to allow donations to the shrine and its 16 ministries to be done via machine.

The kiosk, nicknamed the Franciscan Giving Center, is located on the Shrine’s first floor lobby.  It is  a sleek amber pedestal topped with a touch screen monitor, a magnetic stripe reader, a secure encrypted PIN pad, and an enclosure. When donors step up to the screen, they are led through an easy-to-follow menu enabling them to choose what and how they would like to contribute to the Shrine. When the transaction is completed, a receipt containing a thank you note is automatically dispensed.

 “Very few people carry cash these days,” said David Convertino, guardian,  “and even fewer carry checkbooks.  We needed to make it easier for people to give, which led me to research companies providing this technology.”  The Shrine’s kiosk was designed by Pastor Marty Baker of Steven Creek Church in Augusta, Ga., and is manufactured by SecureGive, a division of Automated Giving Solutions, LLC. It uses the latest transaction technology and provides a safe and secure giving environment.

So far, 17 donors have given several hundred dollars through the kiosk.

Within a half hour after the kiosk was installed, a visitor to the Shrine stepped up to use it and said, “This is great. Companies do it, why not a church?  People need the convenience.”  Another comment heard after a transaction was “That was fun!  And I like getting an automatic thank you right away.  It’s a wonder more churches don’t have this.”

The donation kiosk is gaining attention nationwide with articles in the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, and Houston Chronicle.  It has also been turned into news stories for the major networks, including a segment on NBC’s “TODAY” show and ABC’s “Good Morning America,” as well as NPR (National Public Radio).  According to Ned Potter and Zach Fannin of ABC News, “(It’s) a high-tech, modern version of the traditional collection basket.”

Diane Monaghan is development director of the St. Anthony Shrine.