By William Bagambe
Church Financial Management System, (CFMS)
The Church Finance Management System, commonly known as CFMS, is a technology that assists worshipers in giving offerings and returning tithes. Although the COVID-19 pandemic did not prompt its development, its emergence is undoubtedly fortuitous. The East-Central Africa Division (ECD) worked on developing this new technology due to eradicate some flaws noted in the current church’s financial system in their territory. The new system was intended to improve internal controls, especially at the local church level.
In the 2014 year-end stewardship report, ECD Stewardship ministries observed that the process used to collect the tithe and offerings at the local church level needed increased and improved internal controls. There was a need to ensure that every penny collected in the local church reached its rightful and final destination, for this would increase the reliability and transparency of church finances, thus improving service delivery at all levels of church organization.
We thought that if internal controls were tightened at the local church level, then amounts streaming upwards in the church’s hierarchy would increase. We trusted that this would improve giver-confidence, and ultimately make regular reporting both to the local church and higher organizations easier and better.
When these concerns were shared amongst ECD leadership, it was natural consensus to opt for a cashless/digital system of giving as this would mitigate, if not entirely, end the mismanagement and unnecessary diversion of funds at the source.
As soon as the go-ahead was given by the leadership to pursue the cashless process, the ECD IT department swung into action, looking for a suitable platform. They moved with circumspection to ensure that the system was loophole-free and served the intended purpose. Finally, the IT professionals arrived at this system we are introducing to the church known as CFMS or Church Financial Management Systems.
Upon the endorsement of this newly established system by ECD leadership, the IT management took it to the Western Kenya Union Conference for testing. While there, the system was subjected to thorough testing and found appropriate to use for the intended purpose.
Since then, other unions such as East Kenya Union Conference, Rwanda Union, Uganda Union, Northern Tanzania Union Conference, and Southern Tanzania Union mission have come on board. Many believers in those Unions are now giving offerings and returning tithes using this newly established cashless platform.
How The System Operates
Steps to take:
- Dial *369*# to register, After dialing, you will be given a menu.
- Punch in your local church code supplied by your local church leadership. The system will ask whether you are returning tithe and giving offering for yourself or for someone else.
- Make your selection.
- Type the amount you are donating for tithe and offerings. The system will then ask you to confirm your M-PESA personal number.
- Confirm your M-PESA personal number. Once confirmed, all the trust funds will be directed to the local conference’s bank account, and all the local church funds will be directed to the local church’s bank account.
A receipt acknowledging the giving is instantly issued in the form of a text message with an email option. A hard copy can also be printed.
In this digital age, the system has proved very successful and convenient. In the churches where the system has taken off, the following benefits are evident:
- Less need to manually count tithe and offerings at the local church on Sabbath.
- Individual local church treasurers hold less cash; much of the money goes directly to the banks instantaneously through the system.
- Money reaches its rightful destinations.
- Giving and returning is done at any time or place.
- The system itself ensures transparency and fosters accountability in handling church funds.
- Giver-confidence has increased, thus improving the rate of giving.
- Tithe and offerings collections have become less costly for the local church, due to the decrease in the need for envelopes.
Internal controls have greatly improved.