Do you want to help your church to grow?
Do you want people to feel connected to your church?
Let me explain how Church Management Software (ChMS) can help you. You may be at a church and just using Excel and Word for some basic office functions. You may be thinking to yourself that you don’t need anything else. There are many things you could do that would benefit your church and, in the long run, help it to grow. These things are basically impractical to do by hand but, with the help of the right software, become easy.
Software can speed up almost any activity – that is why we use it in the first place.
I want to focus on just one such task – communicating with those that attend your church, both long time members and those new to your church.
Let’s say you wanted to send some emails out to various groups of people and all you had was your basic email. Here is what you would need to do:
- Decide what you are going to say to each group, or work with others to draft it
- Write each email and get approval if necessary
- Find the email addresses for each person in the group
- Copy and paste the email addresses into the BCC field of each email
- Send the emails
Steps 3) and 4) could take a few hours, especially if you were going to send out 100 or more emails. Having the right software will cut that down to a few minutes. I’m sure you are aware of how much it takes to do things this way. You would basically be doing things by hand and it is not practical. Because it’s so time consuming, you probably just don’t do it at all. However, you are then missing out on many benefits.
Here are some things you could be doing:
Creating Connections Between People
Communication is the lifeblood of any relationship. The church is supposed to be like a family but if they don’t talk to each other it won’t feel like a family. So obviously people need to meet face-to-face. Email can supplement this. It will keep members informed about what is happening so they feel a part of the church. This is especially good for those new to your church. Imagine someone just got diagnosed with cancer and wanted people to pray for them. So you send out an email, explaining what happened and ask each person to pray for the sick person. You have begun to create a bond between them.
Or consider someone who is unable to drive and needs a ride. You send out an email to anyone within a certain distance from that person’s house asking if they can help. When someone responds that person will feel cared for. Also, what if someone lost their job, and an email was sent out giving the person’s qualifications. That person may have soon a another job or at least some leads and you have again created a connection between two people. These types of connections often help people to feel more a part of the church community and usually help your church to grow.
Generating Interest in Upcoming Events
Most churches have a weekly bulletin to announce upcoming events but very few people read it cover to cover. And public announcements are made during worship services but time for those is usually at a premium – there is not enough time for all the announcements you would like to make. Email can supplement this to make more people aware of an event so that more would attend. Email also lets you explain the event in greater detail.
Personalizing the Emails
When emails are sent out from a good system, they appear to be directed just to that one person. This will result in a greater impact. Rather than sending a mass email that just says “Dear Friend,” it would have each person’s first name. You can also include the person’s first name in the subject so they are more likely to open it. When you send an email you want it to go only to a specific group that meets a certain set of criteria. For example, you would send an email about Sunday School only to those families with children.
Most email systems will let you change the text of each email depending on certain conditions. For example, in an email about an upcoming event, you could have a different message depending on whether or not the person attended a similar event in the past. The text would be changed automatically when the email was generated. You can also tailor the message according to the age of the person. Another example, is to include an attachment only for those who would be interested.
People who donate to the church usually want to receive quarterly statements and they all want a yearly receipt to use on their income tax. These are often printed and given out or mailed to each donor. Church management software will enable you send each of these as an attached PDF file. The software automatically creates each PDF and attaches it to the email for the donor. This will save you paper, envelopes, ink/toner and stamps as well as your time. In the long run these savings could pay for the software.
Not all church management software has all of these features but this is what you want in order to get the most benefits. Your next step would be to download some demo versions and try it out for yourself.