One of the most important capabilities of your church management software is the ability to collect member information and sync it with your database. Ideally you want a system that is flexible and customizable to meet your needs—both today and in the future. But you also want a system that you can put to work immediately.
A modern ChMS should be able to track the following information from day one
Here are a few key areas of data your church management system should be able to start tracking as soon as it goes online:
1. Member Information
This is typically simple demographic information. On a person’s record you should be able to get answers to common questions like: Who is this person? What is their name? Who are they related to? Where do they live? Beyond the personal information, you should also be able to see what activities, classes, and events the person is involved in, what they like to do, preferences, personality traits, spiritual gifts, and registration information.
2. Attendance History
A modern ChMS should have multiple avenues for taking attendance, including: Volunteers taking attendance with a mobile device, check-in for children, adults, and volunteers, roll sheet attendance, and some form of mobile self check-in. Attendance history should be quickly accessible for any staff member on an individual’s record as well as easy to find and read reports.
The system should also provide an avenue for understanding what type of attendance this was. Was this person attending a Bible Fellowship class or a Volunteer Opportunity? Were they attending a class as a member or an outreach leader? The different attendance types should be easily defined, found, and included in reports.
3. Giving History
Members should be able to give to the church directly from the ChMS or an integrated third-party product. This giving information should then be stored on the record and easily accessible by the giver and qualified personnel on church staff. Most donors prefer to give to multiple funds on a single check or transaction, so it’s important that a ChMS can accommodate multiple funds and transaction types.
It’s becoming increasingly common for people to give beyond the bank account. Churches have received everything from trucks to stocks to palm trees as donations. A ChMS must have a method for accounting for this to ensure good record keeping.
The more you know about your members, the better you can meet their needs
While there are a lot of valuable data points your ChMS can help you track, having these core areas in place from the start will put you in good position to better serve your congregation. Ultimately, it’s about giving your ministry the best opportunity to build meaningful connections with members (both new and old) and grow your community of believers.