The heart of our calling as church staff and pastors is to provide the tools to make sure people are connected, cared for, discipled and launched into ministry. Intrinsically, we know that technology ought to be able to help us accomplish this. Here are 2 ways automation through technology can serve your ministry.
Last week we released the Workflow feature and blogged on the details of that release. In this post, we'll show you how to build a Workflow in four steps. Give it a try and then, if it's helpful, share this post with fellow staff members and others.
Ready to automate some of those important but repetitious communication and follow-up tasks? Workflows are here and just released! Read this post carefully to get the details.
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.
The best place to connect with parents on Sunday morning is when they check-in their kids. This is just as true for your members and regular attenders as it is for your guests. You may already be using that time to start the follow-up process. If not, see section D in the check-in view. But, why not use the same opportunity to capture attendance for everything everyone in the family is attending or serving in that morning?
Helping people connect to groups has been a core feature in Churchteams since the beginning. We started using the term Groupfinder for this feature back in 2001. You customize the search options to fit your church and the questions you would ask to help someone find a group. Then categorize the groups accordingly and people looking for groups can find a match themselves. This removes staff from being the bottleneck for connection, but notifies staff when connections are made to keep them in the loop.
Many churches that receive hundreds of checks every week use check readers and scanners to help with data entry. We recently did some research on these systems and built then released what we believe is a much more streamlined approach. Here is what we learned and our application.