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Administrative Woes

I have a low tolerance for non-mission critical tasks.  Maybe Jesus wants me to learn patience and perseverance through these tasks but I really hope not.  One of the things that drives me up the wall is the way we track people.  It’s not the tracking that makes me crazy, it’s the method.  I do not find the software we use to be particularly helpful in this regard because it lacks simplicity.

Here’s what I need to be able to do simply.  Simply is the operative word if you haven’t figured that out yet.  I don’t want to nor do I need to spend hours learning how to use another system.  I need an intuitive program in the cloud.

What I need church software to do simply:

1) Attendance.

  • Input attendance from communication card
  • Input information requests from communication card (want info on baptism, membership, serving, etc).
  • Input volunteer offers from communication card (want to serve communion, work with children, etc).

The last two would be even better if I could get a weekly E-mail report after the data has been entered.

2) Financial

  • Input giving information
  • Input commitment information
  • Print giving reports both quarterly and end of the year statements that comply with the IRS

3) Communication

  • Ability to send mass e-mail
  • Ability for receivers to unsubscribe
  • Ability for me to see who has unsubscribed

The software I’m currently using probably does these things, but as the only pastor and only full-time worker, it’s a complete waste of time for me to spend the necessary time learning how to use what I have to it’s full potential.  I need an intuitive program in the cloud.

Any suggestions?

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. February 24, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    We use ACS and we are not huge fans. Its only for PC’s (which is rough because all the pastoral staff have macs except for one) its a big sluggish program, but it can do everything you need, I believe. Its def not a first choice, but I would say its a program that can do things that are needed. (It can work with macs, but you have to pay a larger subscription fee for the online cloud data stuff)

    I would check into onthecity.org to see if it can do what you need. I talked to a couple of their reps at TGC conference in Chicago and was really impressed. It does alot more than you need and helps to keep members connected. If we werent a much older congregation we would probably be getting onthecity.

  2. February 24, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    At FUMC Springdale we use Fellowship One, although not yet to its full potential.

    Concerning attendance, if a check-in station isn’t used, attendees will be entered using Post Attendance. This is pretty quick since it knows who has attended an activity before and thus allows you to search for just those folks if you like. You can use the SHIFT/CTRL keys to grab a lot of people.

    Information requests, these are called Contacts in F1. You create a contact form based on your communication card. Then when someone turns in a card it is entered into F1. Based on the options they have chosen it will route that request to the correct person. In a small venue this is usually the same few people. Those people then call, email, write a letter, etc… and complete the contact. This is manually entered into the contact. An individual email in F1 is not very efficient. You can do all kins of reporting on contacts. Note, it will not email you if you have open contacts, you should be logging into the ‘Portal’ frequently!

    Volunteer offers are processed very similarly as contacts. It will allow you to create volunteer staffing assignments for greeters, helpers, whatever. This is then tracked in their attendance that they served (rather than just attended)

    The financials you are looking for are completely handled with F1. Check scanners work, credit cards can be processed, online giving or registering for an event with CC or ACH. Statements are easily printed with your church logo. It is not a general ledger though. Contributions only, no accounts payable, payroll, etc…I recommend Quickbooks or Peachtree. It will register someone’s attendance if you scan a check or envelope (based on the date you choose).

    Communication, mass emails are no problem. Templates can be used, insert common fields like a person’s name is easy. Attachments are limited however if you have any web space you can just link to that and not get caught up in size or type limits.

    Concerning unsubscribing, currently if a person chooses unsubscribe their email will not longer be active in F1. Therefore, no emails from F1 will be sent to them regardless of which email they unsubscribed to. Furthermore, there is no notification if someone unsubscribes, their profile simply has an ‘X’ next to the email. So, unless you actively look for this you won’t know. That being said, there is an easy report to run that will list all the unsubscribed emails based on date and status.

    As for things being intuitive and easy. I really like the layout. The personal profile for each individual makes it easy to add a contact item, contributions, etc…

    The company is rock solid, lots of really talented folks down in Dallas. They are constantly updating and improve. Online videos are easy to follow and free. I really can’t say enough.

    So that is a really long comment. Feel free to contact me directly.
    doug

  3. February 28, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    we use PowerChuch and it does it all – welcome to the cloud

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