In the previous blog, we talked about what the successful use of church software looks like. But, once you've defined success, how do you measure it?
One principle we've learned coaching churches on the use of church management software is that what people will do is more important that what software can do. The corollary to this principle is that it is more important to focus on input than output. Output or reporting on measures is really the passive result of the intentional collection of information. So, begin measuring success with your software by building a system to measure the use of or input into your database. Here are two ideas on how to do this:
Missing data is the most obvious and detailed way to measure input. Often times, however, you don't realize data is missing until the time you need it the most. This puts everyone involved into stress mode. So, we recommend that you create a system to review the data before it is needed. For instance, if you need a monthly report on small group attendance, create a reminder to review the data several days before the date the report is actually due. This will give you time to fill in the gaps.
The second way to measure input into your database is by looking at hit reports for the database. Your software's security system should give you feedback on the hits into the software at each level of access. Hit reports can tell you who is using the software and at what level. Overall, Churchteams sees staff use the software 65 to 70% of the time while members and attenders use the software 30-35% of the time.
You didn't invest in church management software to fail, but if you haven't thought through how to measure the successful usage of the software, you are not going to have the ability to improve it. That may be fine for you, but if it's not and you wish you could do more, take a minute to define success at the input level. Then measure it to establish a benchmark from which you can build.