By Gina Calvert

How Saddleback Church Manages Megachurch Giving

Wondering how Saddleback Church manages online giving across 11 campuses and more than 35,000 members in attendance each week? When it comes to online giving, it’s never a bad idea to ask what’s working for other churches.

But you’ll never learn about the Saddleback Church giving through their giving page because they have chosen a platform that operates invisibly to their givers.

How the Saddleback Church Giving Experience Was Created

Saddleback Church in Orange County, California, is among the largest churches in the US, led by founder and well-known pastor and author Rick Warren. They had a vision to better connect their online giving to a sense of worship. Unable to find an online giving tool that met their needs, they worked with Vision2 Systems’ founder Carl Tierney to develop a customized beta giving platform that would help bring back a sense of worship to giving. They wanted something that would solve aspects of online giving that no other platform was addressing.

A top priority for Saddleback Church was being able to completely automate their offering processing, both online and offline. At that time, it took 17 people from Sunday to Thursday of each week just to process the weekend offering.

They also wanted a way to showcase their ministries (they currently have 200) and allow givers to learn more about—and easily donate to—the funds that are most meaningful to them. This feature contributes to the giving platform’s average 23% giving lift in the first 12 months.

Saddleback’s Giving Success

With Vision2, less than 6 people can now process Saddleback’s weekend giving by the end of day on Monday, even though the church’s offerings have increased dramatically. Vision2 automates the processing of checks and cash, too.

With the Saddleback Church giving platform, Vision2, online givers can quickly give via a short, simple form, or they can scroll through more than 100 ministry opportunities in full color on Saddleback’s giving page and know the specific impact of their gift. This feature, unique to Vision2, provides an experience that givers have become accustomed to seeing in vacation rentals, Amazon products, and most every other interaction they have online.

Saddleback Church giving platform features:

  • There are no manual processes. Everything is automated, including cash and checks, bank tests, and updates to gifts (i.e. NSFs, chargebacks) with daily or weekly bidirectional syncing into Saddleback’s church management system and subledger.
  • There’s no need for a third-party payment processor. Vision2 is both the online giving platform vendor and the payment processor, enabling oversight of every single gift from start to finish and an expert human available to help with any issues. Unlike most vendors, Saddleback givers never know about Vision2 or speak to anyone but the church staff about their gifts.
  • Full bank reconciliation keeps Saddleback giving staff from having to reconcile specific transactions against batched net proceeds.
  • There are no delays in receiving gift funds or gift limits (amount, frequency) for givers.
  • Saddleback Church givers are not routed to a third-party site to complete their gift, a common online giving practice considered to be the #1 contributor to gift abandonment on charitable websites.
  • Saddleback Church staff and gifts are protected with a detailed audit trail that prevents anyone from changing transactions.
  • Works equally well on mobile phones and web browswers, as well as an easy text-to-give option.

The Vision2 online giving platform that Saddleback Church helped to create is now providing these same benefits to hundreds of churches, from small to mega.

Schedule a demo to learn more about how Vision2’s collaboration with Saddleback Church resulted in a giving platform that allows churches to connect with their givers in the same engaging way they do in person, no matter the size of the church.