I talk about the use of Notes all the time in these blog posts. However, a few months ago a long time user / friend pointed out that I had never done a blog post on it directly. It's time.
Let me give you an idea of how important this topic is. In my view, getting everyone on your team to use the Notes feature will increase staff use of the software by 200% and make your team as a whole 50% more efficient!
Those numbers are based on my experience and gut feeling. If we were to actually create an experiment to calculate them, those rates of improvement might be low. Imagine that!
What is Notes?
Notes is the feature in the database that lets you track important conversations and interactions with people. Here are some examples:
A guest fills out a paper or digital card asking for a call from the youth pastor. The Ministry Assistant goes to the person's page and creates a Note with all the details. Then she assigns it to the youth pastor for follow up in the next couple of days.
A pastor is talking with a long time member who has scheduled a heart surgery in a few days. Before he forgets, he logs in to the CT App on his phone. On the home page, he clicks Notes in the Create card and enters the person's name. Then, using talk to text he summarizes the conversation. Lastly, he assigns it to himself to follow up in 3 days.
A children's pastor runs into a member at the grocery store. In the conversation, she ends up asking the member to pray about helping with 2nd graders. In the car, she opens the CT App on her phone and does the same thing the pastor did except she assigns follow-up to her elementary director in 2 weeks.
Sometimes people confuse Notes with a text field or attribute. The difference is that Notes have a task management component to them. Also, a new Note does not overwrite an old one. It just adds an entry to the list of Notes.
Why is Notes so important?
Notes gives all your ministry leaders a single place to track their conversations. Here are some of the benefits.
- Automation. The feature automatically notifies people by email that they have a new Follow Up assignment. On the due date it emails and texts a reminder. The assignment shows up on the Home Page when a staff logs in and in the Follow Up section on the Member App for everyone.
- Alignment. This is the biggest pain point for most church staffs. Most staff have other ways they like to manage their tasks. Many pastors prefer delegating their use of software to assistants. The potential impact of doing ministry together can never be fully realized when there is either a lack of ownership or a territorial protection of how communication and Follow-Up is managed.
- Accountability. When you do get everyone on board, all your data is in a single location. Now, it is working together and you can use other features of the software to for additional accountability. The Follow-Up Feature in the App and on the Home Page makes it easy for pastors and staff to see what they need to do in real time. It also makes it easy for their supervisors to recognize the work they've done.
- Shared communication. As pastors and ministry leaders use the Notes feature, the system provides a record of all these interactions. The youth pastor can see that the children's pastor is recruiting a new member and talk to her to learn more about their passion and gifts. The visitation pastor can see the lead pastor's note about yesterday's hospital visit. The small group pastor can see there are secured counseling notes and ask the pastoral care pastor if the person is ready to lead a group.
- Use of other features. As pastors and staff see the value of Notes for helping them manage their Follow-Up tasks and coordinate with other staff, they will become much more comfortable with and curious about other features in the software. Effective use of Notes is a keystone habit that has a ripple affect on harnessing the potential of technology for ministry.
You could probably design a better experiment than this, but what if you talked with your staff and asked them to commit to use Notes to track significant guest, pastoral care, and recruiting conversations for 6 months. Show them how to do it and then each week for the next month have a short conversation about how they used Notes the previous week. Continue to sharpen each other on the use of this feature for your team.
After you have the system down pat and everyone on board, fast forward 4 months and give the team a short quiz to rate how much more they use the software than they did 6 months ago and how much more efficient as a team they feel they are. I would love to hear what you discover.