How to keep your staff aligned and your data clean. Church missions software.

Posted by Boyd Pelley on 4/2/24 1:45 PM
Boyd Pelley
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stafftogetherNow that Easter is over, pastors and church staff are turning their attention to planning and preparing for summer events.  In fact, a good friend, an elder at his church, recently asked me about using Churchteams for managing their church's mission trips. 

There are software solutions built specifically to solve this problem for churches.  But, he has been around the software world for decades and knew it would be better to use Churchteams if possible than to purchase another software.  The cost of another software is a factor, but the bigger issues are staff and data alignment.

When staff use secondary software to accomplish tasks that their primary software can do, they miss an opportunity to mature as users of the church's software of choice.  Mastery of one feature in a software application creates confidence and a greater motivation to use other features.  And, the more other features staff use, the more aligned they are as a single team working collaboratively. 

On the other hand, the more fragmented staff are with software, the greater they are misaligned.  This even leads to software wars that remind me of the worship wars of 30 years ago.  Here is another business consulting resource with 13 reasons why businesses need to standardize their technology stack in 2023.  It expands on this idea significantly.

Just as staff using different software creates problems, so the same data stored in different silos creates problems.  Of course, the first solution people think of is to find out if the two different systems (or modules even) can share data.  Often this is the case.  But, when you actually look at what data is shared you discover that not ALL the data is shared. 

One module or application stores all the data of a certain type and only shares generic stuff like name and contact information with the others.  Even with shared data like mobile phone number, the more features you add to your software package, the more different places that same number is stored.  Linking 2 or 3 different fields is one thing, but linking 4, 5 or more is significantly more complex.  It's way cleaner and more logical to keep that information in just one place. 

Spread out data also makes reporting more difficult and in many cases impossible apart from exporting and patching data together.  For instance, let's say a leadership development team wants to know what percentage of adults who've been members 3 or more years have been on a mission trip.  If all your missions training and participation information is in a secondary database, you will have to export the data from both databases and either use advanced Excel (or Power BI) skills or manually count to get your answer.  And, that's a pain.  (Actually, I know Business Intelligence software nerds who love that, so it's only a pain for some of us.)

At this point, you might be a client wondering how to use Churchteams for Mission trips.  If so, check out our Knowledge Base article on How do I set up registration for Mission Trips and Fundraising

There are three parts to this article:  staff set up, participant directions, and donor experience.  In addition there are email templates for mission participants explaining how to use the software to create their list of supporters, write their support request email and web page, and communicate by email and text.

I didn't hear back from my friend and just texted to find out what their church decided.  They just got approval for a secondary software, but he hasn't pulled the trigger yet.  He totally agrees with my argument above and even added that he dreads the idea of importing donations from a third party software if they make that choice.

That motivated me to hyper-focus on reviewing our whole process for helping churches with their missions projects.  I seriously updated the article above to get it in line with our updates the last few years and where we are currently.  It's a pretty impressive missions solution by any standards.  I look forward to hearing back from my friend after he and his team review it.

Not a client, but interested in learning more?  Join me for Meet The Software.  It's an informal Zoom webinar I do live every week. 

Tags: Church Management Software, Best Practices

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