By Mark Ambrogi
Longtime friends Ben Royal, left, and Michael Yonke created Pod to make giving easier. (Submitted photo)
The concept for Pod has roots from when close friends Michael Yonke and Ben Royal went to Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger High School together. Often they were sitting in mass during high school.
“Our high school had lots of people with the ability to give, but the basket would come around with change or dollar bills,” Yonke said. “I found out if we offered the convenience of how they really wanted to pay, people would be willing to give.”
So now several years later with resources and expertise, the self-proclaimed tech geeks have created Pod.
“Pod is a modern offering basket for churches and fundraisers,” Yonke said. “It’s the size of an Apple TV. It gets passed behind the offering basket or around a table at a fundraiser.”
Yonke, a 28-year-old Carmel resident, works in marketing at Appirio and Royal, Fishers, works as program manager at SalesForce.com.
They put in for the provisional patent on Pod 11 months ago. Yonke said they are waiting on a design patent now.
The Pod is set up with predefined amounts to give. The standard Pod has $10, $25, $50 and $100. Yonke said data back from the pastors show these are the best amounts.
“You can swipe any side to give that amount,” Yonke said. “If you want to give $35, you can swipe two sides. The light would blink to indicate it went through.”
Pod costs $50 to rent per device per month, but the first month is free for churches to try it.
“Our data shows we are increasing in-service donations in churches by 51 percent,” Yonke said.
Mercy Road Church in Carmel was the first church to use it and has been utilizing it for 13 months.
“To be honest, I wasn’t sure it was going to work, and it worked way better than I even anticipated,” Mercy Road Lead Pastor Josh Husmann said. “It’s a very simple device. That’s the reason it works so well. We’ve seen giving increase quite a bit since we started using it. We’ve seen about $6,000 a month coming through the device. Most of it is new giving that didn’t exist before.”
Among other churches using Pod are Imagine Church in Westfield and Waterline Church in Noblesville. For more, visit podgiving.com.