Choosing the right tools for managing your church’s information
Churches gather and maintain a great deal of information. Deciding how best to manage this information across a church or ministry can be a daunting task. Many churches struggle with finding a suitable set of tools and often aren’t sure of how to go about finding the right set that will work for them. There are a variety of Church Information Management Systems on the market built to meet the needs of your church. The system you choose must be able to serve the needs of the organization, both now and in the future.
Here are a few things to consider:
The first step in finding the right system for your church is to determine what your current needs are. Information churches commonly keep includes church directory information, attendance records, criminal record checks, giving records, facility bookings, ministry involvements, committee lists, board minutes, email lists and more. As you work through your current needs, be sure to consider your future needs as well.
There are a number of features that you should look for in a church management system:
• Contact management,
• online giving,
• ministry tracking,
• child check-in,
• CRA-compliant donation tracking and receipting,
• recording information such as volunteer training or criminal record checks with reminders for renewals,
• church directory creation,
• calendar and facility bookings,
• mass email that allows you to filter recipients by specific criteria such as ministry groups, giving history, membership status, etc.
“Where is my data stored and how is it protected?” should be one of the first questions you ask of a prospective church management solution.
Different countries have different data laws and your data may not be as secure as you might hope. Asking this question can provide you with the peace of mind of knowing that your data is stored in a safe secure location. Having your data stored in Canada would also meet the CRA requirements of charities storing their financial data in Canada. Simply being accessible in Canada does not meet the full requirement. Data storage and security needs to be a high priority when looking for a new church management system.
Cost & Value
Often times, when approaching a buy decision there is a tendency to jump right to the bottom line cost. When approaching a church management solution, however, there are often costs beyond the sticker price. Are they charging you in Canadian dollars or will the monthly cost fluctuate with the exchange rate because you are billed in American dollars?
Other key questions to ask are:
• What is the initial cost?
• What are the on-going costs?
• Is there an additional cost for support?
• What is the value to our church?
Where to begin your search?
The Church Management tools from Sunergo will tick all your boxes! Visit them at www.sunergo.net and schedule a demo of their Church Management Tools for yourself. This Canadian company based in Vancouver has 15 years of experience serving churches across Canada, providing them with all their ministry needs. They provide the security and free user support you are looking for, at a price that is constant, allowing you to plan and budget accordingly. While you’re there, ask about the website solutions they offer too!