By Gina Calvert

The Laborious Pain Your Church’s Financial Staff Endures

When you first considered online giving for your church, were you mostly motivated by stagnant giving?

Nothing to be ashamed of; everybody was. It might have seemed like it was going to make all things related to giving easier, but it probably didn’t turn out that way for you.

The Dark Side of Online Giving for Churches

Unfortunately, the very thing that made giving easy for your members created a nightmare for financial staff:

  • Nobody knew that processing gifts would still take so long. (Saddleback Church’s system required 17 people 5 days each week just to process the weekend offering.)
  • No one expected online giving would still include so many manual processes (i.e. cash, checks, bank tests, chargebacks, etc.). complicated steps, frustrating workarounds, and — surprisingly — the same potential for error and fraud.
  • Churches were surprised by how long it took for gifts to make it to the bank.
  • Financial teams were horrified that recurring gift schedules couldn’t be migrated and they would risk losing those gifts when they asked givers to set them up from scratch in a new system.
  • Everyone discovered the major hassle of reconciling batched amounts from the bank against individual gifts. (Yet, until Vision2, no online giving platform seemed to be able to solve this problem.)
  • Most people just seemed to accept the problem of third-party credit card processors as a necessary evil.

Waiting for Progress

The truth is, all of these deficits were necessary evils in the early days of online giving.

When any new technology is introduced, users know that first iterations will be lacking. That’s why we have the bell curve of technology adoption.

Yet in the world of online giving for churches, platforms may have gotten slicker and simpler for givers, but the original and significant challenges for back office staff haven’t changed much. The platforms’ inner workings operate on the same fundamental structure and many of the above-named problems persist.

You may not like it, but what can you do?

Finally, Real Solutions for the Church Back Office, Too

It didn’t make sense to us to recreate the same old wheel. So, we at Vision2 set out to solve these and other issues.

Just one example? At Saddleback, fewer than 6 people can now process their weekend offering by the end of day on Monday, even though gifts have dramatically increased. Vision2 automates the processing of their checks and cash, too.

In our research, we discovered that the Executive Leadership doesn’t always know what’s going on behind the scenes with the church’s online giving platform. That’s why we’re sharing the story of an Executive Pastor who peeled back the layers of pain his current giving solution (that he’d inherited) was inflicting on his staff and his givers.

When Jim realized that his team’s time and frustration were real but hard-to-calculate the actual cost of, he set out to uncover all the hidden factors impacting the church’s bottomline. He discovered that many of those first-generation limitations still existed everywhere … except at Vision2.

You can read about his journey by downloading our new before-and-after case study of a typical Vision2 client, Giving Growing Pains.