A volunteer at a church goes to Walmart to buy some water and snacks for an event. The church now owes them $35. In order to get reimbursed, they go to to the office, fill out a form, wait a week, get an email and go back to the office for their check.
The process takes each volunteer an extra 45 minutes per request (driving, filling out forms, going to the bank) and requires a check to be printed, that check placed in an envelope, and the receipt filed. At the end of the month, mistakes have to be reconciled by flipping through a stack of receipts.
Imagine a simple web application that allows volunteers and staff to submit reimbursement and expense requests from their phone. Take a picture of the receipt, enter in a few details, and you’re done.
For staff with an organization credit card, they’re done. For volunteers, the reimbursement will come in a day or two.
In the back office, a ministry leader got an email about the expense. He or she approves the expense by clicking a single button, and sends payment with a second button. “Approved…paid….done!”
Then at the end of the month, they’re able to download expenses to reconcile.
A Carefully Crafted Mockup
The Screen to Process Submissions.
Down the Road
- Integrate with Quickbooks.
- Reports showing who is spending what.
- Could potentially create budgets directly in the app, and have mint.com-style monitoring for the team.
The reimbursement app makes it easier for the church to process and account for the money it’s spending. Also, the app saves a volunteer 45-60 minutes of useless effort, and the back-office expense person saves hours processing paperwork.
- Likely a very low turnover rate. Customers will stay for a long time.
- Strong niche advantage. There are comparatively few software companies looking at the church market.
- Once the customer is set up, they will need little maintenance/support.
- Builds a reputation of working with churches on money issues, without dealing with sensitive security issues or PCI compliance.
- Involves a church-wide process adjustment. The onboarding process would be painful.
- Even minor variations in church practice could result in custom development per client.
- Churches are occasionally hesitant to spend any amount of money.
- No natural viral growth advantage.
- Few other competitors have entered this space. Why not?
This exercise is pointless without your feedback. In the comments, let us know what you think.