For our purposes assimilation is the process of intentionally helping first time guests become fully engaged members of your local church. This is the first of eight blog posts on how church management software, specifically Churchteams, can help you manage this process. Not just once, not just occassionally, but every time over the long haul.
In the past several weeks I’ve been working with an Executive Admin of a large church to reorganize their data structure for effective assimilation. You could tell by the different fragments of data that several different approaches to assimilation had been implemented through the years. Usually this happens when different church staff use different fields to track the same information. Or sometimes there are different perceptions of what the assimilation process actually is.
We are upgrading things in the software all the time. Most of the upgrades are subtle and obvious. Others are much more significant. Here is a list of upgrades since March followed by an explanation and illustration in the same order.
- Communication - Mail Merge For Email
- Registration - Confirmation Emails Exclude Group Info
- Volunteer Scheduling - Optional Description For Each Assignment.
- Reports - Recurring Online Giving
- Contribution Statements - Address To Include Non-Donating Adults
- Fundraising - Pay button changed to Give
- Membership - Custom Attribute Values
- Member Profile - Rotate Photo
1. Communication - Mail Merge For Email. With a recent improvement to an older feature you can now send personalized emails to any group of people you choose. The Email Request For Updated Information option under Communication reports is unique because it creates an individualized email for every user that it is sent to. We recently added a feature that automatically puts the person's first name and a comma at the top of the email. There is now a Custom Message that highlights this and gives you other options for locating the first name.
By default, the person's unique link to update their information is at the bottom of the email. Underneath the email message box, there are now instructions on how to put the "update your information" link somewhere else in the email.
By choosing the report "Email request for updated information" you can use the combination of these two upgrades to send out a personalized email to anyone and have the advantage of an option for them to update their information at the bottom of the email whether that is the point of the email or not.
2. Registration - Confirmation Emails Exclue Group Info. Our registration response emails (within a group click Registration then Settings) were originally designed to connect people to small groups and thus included the circled information on the bottom of the email sent to the registrant:
This is helpful for people joining groups, but too much information and unnecessary when people register for many events or other purposes. So, we added the following on the Registration Settings page.
Simply uncheck the box for those registrations that you don't want all that additional information included in the confirmation email.
3. Volunteer Scheduling - Optional Description For Each Assignment. Example: You need a worship team to play for a men's event. With this addition, you can go to the worship team group click the Volunteer button and when you schedule team for a Friday night add the description "Men's Retreat".
You'll explain it in your cover email, but this description is used in several places including the text message invitation. Here's what it looks like in both the text and email invitation.
Another common use of this is for scheduling a security team for different events.
4. Reports - Recurring Online Giving. Want to do a report of future projected income based on recurring gifts? Go to Reports / Financial / Recurring Giving. You have two options for this report.
1. Create a list of the currently active recurring gifts along with a 365 day projected income based on these.
2. Create a projection of recurring giving based upon a date range you enter.
We are not able to go back in time to capture the level of information we would need for past recurring giving, so both of these reports will be limited to current date and then going into the future.
5. Contribution Statements - Address To Include Non-Donating Adults. Often donations from a family are tracked in the name of just one adult for example husband. We added options to include names of other adults in the family and even an option to add a title like Mr. & Mrs. on the address line. Under Settings / Contributions / Other Options, you'll find these options. Note: the Custom Name/Address 1 Field to the left of the arrow will still over-ride these new options.
6. Fundraising - Pay button changed to Give. When a registration is set up for raising funds, the system changes the pay button to Give to better reflect the interaction. This records the amount as both a registration and a donation immediately posted to the donor's giving record.
Tags: New Release
Just as Sunday comes every week, so does Monday and with it the responsibility to compile and act on every response people submitted the day before. This can be tedious work, but we've automated a lot of it for you. Here's how to set up this automation.
In my last blog I showed you how to use a single registration to place people into a group related to each response. It is a new feature called Automated Group Registration.
- Uniform branding. Consistency in the look and feel of all emails that officially go out from the church helps build familiarity and confidence in church communication.
- Staff time savings. Staff save time by creating templates for regularly used emails like follow up from connection cards. These can be set up to contain all the responses needed so that staff just edit out unneeded information.
If you've never thought about developing a communication strategy, here's a blog post from Orange that might be a good launching point.
Those of us who deal with database maintenance at all share the headache of discovering and merging duplicates. The best practice for keeping a clean database in our church software is to schedule a monthly event or task to run merge reports for members and families. We've added and detailed several options for both types of merge reports under the Members button then click Merge. This is your foundational task for maintaining your database.