This is week #2 of applying what we learned while building a better website to church websites. Last week, we established that a website tells a story. This week, we start looking at the elements of a good story and how they apply to a website. First, the hero.
On December 31, we launched a brand new, super-upgraded website for Churchteams. If you haven’t seen it, click here to check it out. We started the process 6 months ago and for those of you who are considering redoing or building a website, here’s some things I’ve learned. I am indebted to Don Miller’s work at Storybrand whose blog and book I have consumed, and our marketing partner, Lure Studios, whose team has come alongside and mentored us through this process. For a few weeks, I'm going to share, in my own words what I've learned about how to build a better website and how I think it applies to building a better church website. Here is the big picture:
Tags: The Story
My pastor's message this week was on the historical, Biblical perspective of Advent. It grew out of a longing of all creation for the coming of a messiah to bring salvation, hope, and joy to the world. Into this darkness the light of the world came. What if all the lights on our streets were not turned on until Christmas eve? It would communicate something different I think. I love that we celebrate Christmas for weeks with such festive shopping, parties and other environments, but wouldn't it be cool if we waited, really waited for Christmas eve to turn on the lights? I think that delayed gratification, that longing would give us a better feel for the coming of the Christ Child.
Last week's blog verse was based on the gospel of Matthew. Mark doesn't do anything with the birth of Jesus. Mark's advent of Jesus though is more like this.
One of the reasons I love technology is that everything about it is designed for life application. If I were going to write the story of the coming Christ with my technology hat on, it might look like this.
As usual, we've been busy with upgrades. Here are the highlights from the past couple of months. You likely have already seen many of these, but if not, these could really be helpful time-savers for you.
Tags: New Release
We've offered Event Registration and Volunteer Scheduling for years. But they have been far less obvious than most of our features and we wanted to elevate their visibility. Late last week we released an upgrade to the Group Info Page to make what was less visible more visible and add a new RSVP feature.
Tags: New Release
Underneath the Member Button is a Merge link. It may be subtle, but it is a workhorse feature for maintaining a clean database. In this post we will talk about why this is important to you, when you'll use it, how to use it and what happens when you use it.
Why does Merge matter?
- Gives people a single identity. All a person's data is in one profile.
- Keeps families together. Brings family members who may be split up in the database together under a single umbrella.
- Less confusion. It's bad to see multiple options for the same person when you search for them.
- Happy Staff. Duplicate data is messy data. Messy data causes staff to lose trust in the software. Clean data gives them confidence.
When will you use Merge?
- When you spot duplicates. If you do a search or run a report and see a duplicate, take 30 seconds to merge them. A great habit for all staff.
- When you see split families. Husbands and wives, and parents and kids need to be kept together.
- Preventive maintenance. We suggest calendaring to run the two possible duplicate reports every month or two. Think of it like changing the air filters in your house.
- Before sending statements. At least do it yearly. Many churches do it in December in preparation for the January emailing of statements.
How do you use Merge? Click the Merge link underneath the Members button to get started.
- Person search. If you spot a duplicate go to the Merge page and enter their last name. Check the entry in the From column to merge into the entry in the To column.
- Possible duplicate member report. These 3 reports give you the criteria used to find duplicates for you. Pick the one you want and then review and merge potential duplicates.
- Family search. If you see that a family is split apart, click the blue button then find the family of one family member in the From column and move them into a family in the To column.
- Possible duplicate family report. Run this report to let the system find duplicate families for you.
- Delete empty families. Merging members can leave a family with no members in it. If there's no reason to keep the data for family with no members, delete them by clicking that option under Members / Family Search.
What happens when you Merge?
- Financial Information is combined. No contributions are lost.
- Groups data is combined. All record of group involvement for both records is kept.
- Email addresses. All email address are kept.
- To profile trumps the From profile. Things like names and phone numbers in the From profile are lost in favor of the same information in the To profile.
- Unduplicated information. If the From profile has information that the To profile does not, that information is used to update the To profile.
The simple habits of merging duplicates when you see them and scheduling to run duplicate reports consistently will help you maintain a clean database that people trust, appreciate, and best of all ... use.
We use Google Apps including email, calendar, drive, sheets, and docs; and I recommend Google every time people ask me about a calendar. So, I want to show you how to use Google for your church calendar. Thousands of businesses of every size use them and so do thousands of churches.