Tomorrow I'm heading to the Church Leader Insights training on Assimilation. I thought it might be interesting to write something ahead of time about my thoughts about the topic and then follow it up with thoughts on what I learned about assimilation from this excellent training by Nelson Searcy.
When I think about assimilation as it relates to church management software, I think of 4 different parts of the puzzle that have to be addressed:
Onboarding. There are 3 ways that people onboard into the assimilation process from the perspective of church software:
- Website Registration - create a group in Churchteams, then create a registration form like this for the group and place it on your website. You can even email, text, tweet or post this link.
- Data entry of Sunday cards - you can do this through basic member level data entry, but the best way is to create a check-in view that expedites this process.
- Follow up contacts by staff and volunteers - when staff or volunteers make a phone call, they can enter in follow up notes and place people in their next step group right from their phone.
Movement. Essential to assimilation is a clear understanding of the process involved. Some of this is linear, but other parts of the process may happen at the same time. Here's an example of process steps:
- 1st time visitor.
- 2nd time visitor.
- New members class.
- Ready to be baptized / join church.
- Interested in a small group.
- Interested in serving somewhere.
- Leadership development
In Churchteams, you would create a group for each step in the process then transfer people in and out of the groups. These groups become the pool and the dashboard for staff to manage movement.
Benchmarks. As people progress from one step in the process to the next, use member attributes to benchmark significant dates like 1st visit and joined the church. Benchmarking information like Facebook page, spiritual gifts, ministry interests and church background can be helpful for considering a person for a volunteer or leadership position. Notes are more open ended ways to track things like prayer requests, pastoral notes, and guest notes like who they came with and name of their former church. Together all this information provides a nice profile to help people find their best place in ministry.
Measurements. As you put put in pools / groups and benchmark their personal information, you have incredible data to identify things like these.
From a discussion last week with a staff person:
# count per service
# volunteers / adults
# volunteers / teens
70% goal of people handing in connection cards
Other metrics that you can use.
- Weekly worship attendance.
- Weekly groups (education, community) attendance by lifestage.
- Groups attendance / worship attendance
- Weekly giving.
- Giving method - goal of 30% using online giving.
- Giving / attender.
- % 1st time visitors / attendance.
- % 1st time visitors become members.
- New members or baptisms per month
- Group health - consistency rate per group
We have worked hard to give you the best possible system for collecting all this information because the output of a system is only as good as the input. You can customize and save these different reports for quick access each week. We automate creating and sending the weekly giving summary report that includes total giving and breakdown by fund and method each week and fiscal year to date. Our automated monthly group health report shows you the relative health of all your groups.
There is a lot more to be done in this area of reporting. Business intelligence thinking is giving us some great ideas for "Intelligent" development in the future. We are excited about that potential in the coming years.