I have recently been asked to serve on a task force at Lawrence First that will assess the church’s needs/wants for Church Management Software and propose a plan for acquiring and implementing something that best meets those needs/wants. In a preliminary proposal to Ad. Board regarding the task force, the following was noted:
Our church has used Shelby for many years. It is a stable product that does a good job of tracking membership and finances. However, it is clunky, isolated, and not user friendly in some certain areas.
- Easy access to an online membership directory
- Web access for staff – ability to work offsite
- Web access for church members – ability to review their membership information, church directory, pledge, etc.
- Ability to sign up for events online
- Ability to contribute and track personal giving online
- Calendar that integrates with the website. (Currently we’re entering all calendar data twice!)
- Online event/room sign-up
- An intuitive, easy to use interface
- Easy e-mail to groups
- Phone tree functionality
- Texting ability
- Share documents
- Easy Reports
- Membership and Financial needs (we currently have this with Shelby)
- Skill inventory
- Something we can afford (but keep in mind, any new options will be $$$)
- Something that will integrate with our current information database, or that can migrate
Best Case Scenarios
- Investigate what we have. Are we using Shelby as fully as we can?
- Add on to Shelby. There are modules and programs (Arena) that may serve most of our needs, but they’re $$$! This would be the least disruptive.
- Find a communication database program that can run parallel to Shelby, and use each system, sharing info between the two.
- Make do with what we have. That’s what we’ve been doing. Several groups have created their own separate spreadsheets and databases because Shelby isn’t helpful.
- Bite the bullet and start over with a new program. Find something more up-to-date and easy to use, with a stable platform and great training/customer service.
I would love to hear what other churches are using (or have used) and what those experiences are (or have been) like. Please comment below and share this with any of your networks you believe might include helpful contributors to the conversation.