Managing Church members: 7 Reasons To Go Fully Digital

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July 26, 2019

Managing Church members: 7 Reasons To Go Fully Digital

Thinking about using digital tools in your church management processes? Learn more about the major benefits this can have for your congregants and your team from Vision2 VP of Product Development, Kingsley Allen.

Managing Church Members: 7 Reasons To Go Fully Digital

For many years, church management was handled solely through word-of-mouth and handwritten record-keeping. While these manual processes helped churches thrive for many years, there’s no reason to continue relying on tedious, accident-prone methods!

Bringing your church management into the digital age has a plethora of benefits, both for your congregants and your team. 

Whether it’s aiding in navigation with digitally accessible (and easily navigable) maps, providing service times on a well-designed website, or even making the giving process as easy as the click of a button—the potential advantages are immense. Check out a few of the reasons that it’s time your church management goes fully digital:

  1. Integrate management software for a more comprehensive view.
  2. Present a welcoming front to new members.
  3. Stay connected with your congregants.
  4. Increase ease of giving for members. 
  5. Keep congregant information secure. 
  6. Prioritize safety with accessible emergency protocols.
  7. Understand your congregation better through data.

Each of these 7 reasons point to one conclusion—it’s time for you to go fully digital with your church management! Read on for a full breakdown of each. 

1. Integrate management software for a more comprehensive view.

One of the biggest perks of taking your church management digital is that you’ll be able to integrate the various management software you’re employing into a larger, interconnected toolkit.

Gone are the days of hand-written notebooks tracking membership or finances, or even never-ending Microsoft Word folders. 

Using a ChMS (church management system), you can facilitate communications with your members, gather reports on attendance and growth, and even plan for events! These functions can all be handled within one system, ensuring nothing falls to the wayside. 

In addition, you can go even further with your integration efforts. If you choose wisely, you’ll find a faith-based contribution platform that can seamlessly integrate with both your ChMS and your website. This makes it incredibly easy for you to set up your digital contribution methods and allows you to gather valuable insight from the combined data.

2. Stay connected with your congregants.

Another benefit of digitizing your church management is that it will help you stay connected with your members in a variety of ways.

This could mean growing your relationship with a certain demographic, such as using social media tools to reach the younger members of your congregation, or using easy-to-read digital maps to invite at-home participants to come experience a service in person.

You could take it in another direction and build a stronger connection with members in different places, by simulcasting services to be watched remotely. This could even mean putting online donation tools in place, so members can participate in giving even if not physically present!

Digital church management will benefit congregants both near and far, and that’s not even considering the benefits it will have for your management team.

3. Present a welcoming front to new members.

Congregations are often tight knit, like a family, but joining a brand new one for the first time can be nervewracking! Worries about where to sit, where to direct your kids for the children’s ministry, and even where to park all arise. Even just going to a different campus can be stressful—each is different!

There are three types of people that are going to visit your campus for the first time:

  • Visual learners, or those that navigate best through information they can see and read like maps or signs. 
  • Auditory learners, or those that navigate best through heard signals such as verbally explained instructions.
  • Kinesthetic learners, or those that navigate best through observing their physical surroundings and noting things like landmarks. 

This is good to keep in mind. However, regardless of which classification a person falls under, they’re going to feel much more comfortable if you give them some information before that first visit! 

Even if you have the warmest of greetings waiting for them at the door, one of the best ways to ensure a new member feels welcomed is to provide them with all necessary information in advance.

Sharing basic information like a clearly-labeled map of the campus, an easily-found listing of service times, and even some photos can have a major impact on making new members feel welcome. All of this is easily done when you start using digital tools such as your church website and social media networks!

4. Increase ease of giving for members.

For many, giving to their church is as essential as attending each Sunday. Religion inspires a generous nature, and you certainly want to encourage that!

One way to encourage worship through generosity is to make it as easy as possible for your congregants to contribute. The best way to do this is by taking the process digital through a church giving platform!

An online church giving platform allows you to:

  • Accept gifts from members on-the-go, online and through text-to-give processes. Whenever and wherever a congregant is inspired to give, they will be able to do so. 
  • Process all gifts, whether made with cash, check, or card with one software solution. Now, whether a member prefers to give through paper methods or by card, they’ll be able to do so easily.
  • Send out customized acknowledgements to congregants, thanking them for their gift. Each congregant can be thanked, by name, with a customized, automatic acknowledgement including your church’s familiar branding elements. 

Digitizing your church’s giving processes not only allows you to easily accept contributions from all congregants—through any method they prefer to give—but it also allows you to then allocate those gifts to the member’s intended campus, ministry or program. Further, you’re also able to set up custom recurring gift schedules for those members interested in regular giving. 

This ensures you don’t alienate any congregants, whether they prefer physical or digital giving methods! For further information on church payment processing and merchant services, read more here

5. Keep congregant information secure.

While the major pull of a digital church giving platform is the convenience it provides for your congregants, these platforms also have major perks for you! In addition to gathering gifts, they also function as a secure way to process and store the information contained within a contribution.

In the past, you’ve probably collected cash and check gifts from members, keeping note of these contributions through a manually-managed accounting system. While that worked for many years, there is certainly room for error!

A digital check scanning and processing feature allows you to automatically enter contributions into your management platform. This process not only saves you from physically entering the check yourself (and any human error that could come from that), but it also automatically grants you valuable insight on congregant gifting trends.

Further, you’re able to protect the anonymity of any congregants as needed, such as those wanting to make an anonymous cash gift. 

For an example of these tools in action, check out how Vision2 handles check scanning and processing for users.

6. Prioritize safety with accessible emergency protocols.

While it would be nice to guarantee complete safety within a religious sanctuary, there’s no denying that sometimes emergencies do occur. When that happens, you want to make sure you have the necessary protocols available to everyone involved!

While you should still post physical maps and emergency protocol information around your campus, you should also make this information available digitally. Something as simple as a digital map of your campus, provided to local emergency responders and clearly accessible on your website, can save time in a dire situation. 

With this, first responders–who are likely unfamiliar with the layout of your particular campus–will be able to familiarize themselves with your location in the event of a crisis. Further, members both new and current can review the information allowing for a better informed congregation!

7. Understand your congregation better with data. 

Though you’d probably like to know each and every member of your congregation on a personal level, building a strong relationship and helping them in their spiritual journey, that’s just not always possible. For churches with multiple campuses, or even just a really large congregation, it’s difficult to keep track of every member!

This is yet another reason to use software in managing your church members. A ChMS will allow you to track membership and finances. Further, when integrated with a church giving platform, you can seamlessly track and record all of the gifts you receive!

With all of this information in your system, you can now have a visual of your entire congregation—and not just on Sunday mornings. 

You can use this data to make more informed decisions regarding your church management, whether that’s how to best engage congregants to boost attendance or how many financially-backed projects your church can tackle based on its average intake.

For more information on how data can be used to guide your strategy development, check out DonorSearch’s guide to donor analytics.

In a world becoming increasingly digitized, there are many reasons why you should take your church management in a similar direction.

From informational maps on your website to a fully-integrated church giving software, bringing technology into your daily management can benefit both your congregants and you—and these 7 reasons are just the beginning!

 

Kingsley Allen, VP of Product Development

    • Kingsley Allen has been involved in designing, developing, and operating software for over 25 years. Much of his recent career has been invested in helping churches leverage technology to grow and reach people. Kingsley worked with the Fellowship One church management system for 10 years, leading the product and development teams from startup mode through the acquisition by ACTIVE Network. Post-acquisition, he served as general manager of the Faith business unit and and strategy and partnerships for ACTIVE’s Communities division. As VP of Product Development at Vision2, he helps guide the continued development of Vision2 into a world-class giving engagement platform.

 

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