Camarillo United Methodist Church (CUMC) knew that their solution of over 20 years had become ineffective over time. A system crash put years of data at risk; it confirmed their need for change. They began researching and evaluating software. Here are [seven] points to consider when you’re making the switch or implementing ChMS software for the first time.
Functionality and Automation
Although part of the initial impetus for their search was getting a more reliable system, CUMC wanted more than that. They looked for a way to streamline its processes, save staff time, cut administrative expenses and help the ministry team spend less time on spreadsheets and more time serving people. A solution should have features to help you with managing members and volunteers, managing donors and contributions, running child check-in & security, maintaining sacrament tracking, managing events and tracking attendance, assisting staff with counseling and pastoral care, handling both personal and mass communications, and maintaining accurate reporting.
Ease of Use
Powerful software with a wide range of features is pointless if it’s difficult to use. Evaluating ease of use is important. Here are [three] top elements of “ease-of-use” to consider.
First, evaluate the learning curve. As Pam Dougherty of CUMC shared, “I taught myself how to use the Servant Keeper database. I am no rocket scientist. It’s very intuitive. It makes sense.”
Second, look for software that keeps information readily available at a glance. Servant Keeper is designed to keep users from having to switch constantly from screen to screen.
Third, look for built-in rapid searching that will give you the results you need with limited information. In Servant Keeper, users can search the database by any field in the software, from name, to attendance, to skills and spiritual gifts.
Though Servant Keeper can be used right out of the box, it is also highly customizable. Almost every field can be changed to exactly match what a ministry wants to track. CUMC needed customizable reporting in order to provide detailed and specific information to their UMC conference. In Servant Keeper, not only can email and mail templates, directories, and mail merging be customized, but so can reports.
Servant Keeper’s seamless integration with Quickbooks is one feature that initially caught CUMC’s attention. With this integration, their financial secretary would no longer have to enter the same data twice. Instead, Servant Keeper would automatically upload their contributions, eliminating double entry! In addition to QuickBooks, Servant Keeper has a number of other well-built integrations with software used by churches. Some notable examples are:
- Vanco Give+ Suite – Allow members to give online, by credit card, and by text.
- Verified Volunteer – Offering and managing background checks is easy with this integration.
- MailChimp – In addition to Servant Keeper’s built-in mass communication tools, ministries will also find the option to email and track communications to their ministry groups through MailChimp.
- Eventbrite – This integration makes it easy for ministries to allow online event sign up, allowing members to register for events through their Servant Keeper member profiles.
Servant Keeper offers churches two platform options: local and cloud. Like CUMC, you get to choose what is best for your ministry both now and later, local or cloud-based. The local (on-premises) option allows churches to install and manage their own Servant Keeper database. Alternatively, churches can choose to deploy Servant Keeper on the cloud. With this option, their information is stored on a military-grade secured Amazon server. Servant Keeper does the maintenance, backup, and updates.
Unlike most overly simple ‘web-based’ solutions, Servant Keeper follows the model set by Google and Facebook where your data lives in the cloud, and you can access that data using powerful locally installed applications on Mac, PC, Android, and iOS devices as well as web apps that use a regular browser.
These apps help accomplish many aspects of ministry from child check-in to visitor follow-up without being anywhere near a computer. Built-in Dashboards provide your ministry with interactive, automated charts to track your ministry’s health. The free online church directory and self-managed member profiles reduce administrative work while helping to connect members. Members can update their information, register for classes and events and volunteer online.
None of this would mean much without incredible customer support. A quick glance at online reviews shows how much people love and appreciate the Help Desk agents supporting Servant Keeper. Unlike other companies, Servant PC does not outsource support services.
Churches of all sizes can afford Servant Keeper because of its scalability. Small churches, those tracking 50 families or less have a more affordable option on both the cloud and local starting at just a one-time cost of $299 for all the features. As the church grows, they can pay the difference to unlock the ability to track unlimited families and members.
To check out pricing, request a demo, read their blog or watch informative videos to help you make the right selection on your next ChMS, visit their website.