A contact management system is used by businesses to store their clients’ information in one place. The primary use of this software in the secular industry is to boost sales through maintaining customer relationships.
Nonetheless, churches can also take advantage of this tool to manage their operations. Companies, such as MobileAxept, have developed software specifically for use in religious organizations to collect and keep their congregation’s data.
Regardless of the size of your church, here are the reasons why you should invest in contact management software for your community:
Collect Data Effortlessly
Technology has allowed religious organizations to gather relevant information from their members with ease. With a church contact management system, you can just send a link to newcomers, and they’ll be directed to a digital form.
You can add or remove fields according to the data that you want to collect from your visitors. You must remember, though, that it’s better to keep the form as concise as possible to increase people’s willingness to spend time providing you with the information you require.
Before you start collecting data, it’s imperative that you think critically about the details that you want to gather from your church visitors. Personal information like the status of their marriage may open up avenues for counseling, but first-time visitors of your church may be uncomfortable sharing such sensitive information.
Each additional field or survey question has an extra cost to your respondent, such as:
- Time Consideration – The primary currency that people will have to spend to answer your form is their time. While you may send the link to them after service, some visitors may have pending appointments right after the church meeting. Keep your survey short and sweet to increase the likelihood that they’ll complete the questionnaire.
- Respondent Fatigue – Another expense that you have to keep in mind when crafting your form is respondent fatigue. A lengthy landing page for your data collection campaign can take its toll on newcomers and may put them off of sharing information with you.
- Data Quality – Basic questions like for the respondent’s name, address, phone number, and email address require pretty straightforward answers, so you can be sure of the integrity of the data you collected. However, once your questionnaire has ventured toward open-ended ones, the veracity of the information may not be as objective.
- Processing Power – Because you’ll be collecting data through digital means, your form will be adding to the processing power load of newcomers’ devices. This may not be as much of a problem for visitors with high-end phones and tablets. However, you must also consider those that have gadgets that are already over two years old.
Eliminate the Need for Paper Cards
In this digital day and age, people prefer going paperless. Not only will it save your church money on printing and purchasing paper, but you also won’t be contributing to the energy waste and carbon footprint that the process entails.
On an individual level, you or your staff won’t be subject to deciphering unintelligible handwriting. You can expect everyone to write clearly. Fortunately, you won’t have to waste minutes or hours in decoding hieroglyphic-like script from newcomers through a digital form.
Plus, since data is sent electronically and directly to your database after a visitor completes the form, there are lesser chances of losing contact information submitted to you. With paper cards, the transfer of hands can increase the likelihood that the physical form will get lost before it’s encoded to the system.
On top of saving money and reducing errors in data collection, these are the other benefits of why your church should go paperless:
- Save Office Space – You won’t only save money on printing costs, but you’ll also save office space. This is particularly advantageous for smaller churches that cannot afford a larger venue for its daily operations.
- Organize Files Easily – Opting to store your files digitally can help your staff pull up the necessary information just by typing in a few keywords. You can also sort through the data and sift through them according to various filters, such as title, year, and other relevant formats.
- Boost Productivity – Because your employees won’t have to manage and maintain hard copies of various files, they can focus on more crucial tasks that add value to your church operations.
Improve Data Management
Aside from the ease by which you can collect data, the management of your members’ information will also be improved by this type of software. This tool serves as a central location for all your organization’s data.
You and your staff no longer need to continually communicate back and forth just to retrieve the file for one of your members. Authorized personnel can access the system and find the information they need.
You can also pull up any file no matter what device you’re using, which makes information more accessible even when you’re not in the office. Don’t worry, though, this tool has security measures in place to prevent identity theft.
Moreover, you reduce errors brought about by manual encoding of the data because visitors’ details are gathered electronically.
Two ways to improve data management for your church are:
- Refining Your Database – As with other organizations, duplicate entries can be a roadblock to communication and collaboration between your staff members. Assign someone to check for this type of issue regularly and to clean up other aspects of your database. You should ensure that you only store relevant information in your system and remove redundancies.
- Keeping Records Updated – This problem is linked to having duplicates in your database. If your staff can’t trust the data in the primary source, then they may likely resort to using their own tools, which can affect the uniformity and integrity of the information that they acquire.
Establish Your Relationship with Church Visitors
A contact management system can also help you boost your church’s relationship with its members, especially with newcomers, by learning more about your congregation. While you may collect necessary information like the name, address, and contact number for newcomers, you can use the software to get to know the people in your community better.
Collect additional information like their age, job, and civil status. Just with these details, you can create personalized church interactions.
For those that fall under the college students category, you can invite them to youth fellowship where they can learn more about the faith and its practical applications for their age group. The same goes for young professionals and couples.
During your weekly gatherings, if you find that there are a lot of members with kids, you can establish a childcare team that will watch over their children while they join in congregational worship. These types of engagements can significantly boost your relationship with individual members of your church, and your organization can help them navigate through life better.
Here are ways to improve engagement with your church members at a general level:
- Send Emails or Texts – Email or text blasts are excellent ways to keep your congregation updated about events that have and will be happening. Make them feel even more special by sending them a greeting during special occasions, like birthdays, wedding milestones, and even baptism anniversaries.
- Upload Service Highlights – Another tactic to keep church members engaged is to post service highlight videos each week. This way, even if they weren’t able to attend one of your gatherings, they can review the preaching and still feel part of the community. They’ll feel as if they didn’t miss out on the week’s proceedings.
- Share a Verse Everyday – Social media is a potent tool for congregation engagement. Set up official accounts on popular sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and use these platforms to start a conversation with your church members. Plus, if you maintain your online presence, you can amass more followers that you can then invite to weekly gatherings.
- Update Your Blog Regularly – A blog is also valuable in engaging with church members. Post relevant content that serves as additional resources for them as they grow more in the faith. You can also use this platform to provide an in-depth discussion of the week’s preaching topic.
Improve Branding through Automation
Your church can benefit from the automation features of contact management software. You can set up the data collection campaign all in the app with ease. After creating the survey, you can then blast it to newcomers and wait for the system to send their responses directly to your database.
Automation can improve your church visitors’ perception of your organization. While other religious bodies may be stuck in the 20th century, they’ll see that you’ve kept up with the times and prioritized the convenience of your congregation through digital tools.
Plus, automating processes can save you from overstretching your human resources. The maintenance and management of hard copies for all your files can take away valuable time from your staff, which could have been used for other tasks that require a higher level of thinking than the tedious job of encoding data manually in the system.
Other areas that your church should automate are:
- Scheduling – The process of scheduling volunteers week after week can be time-consuming. Even if you only allocate one day to put things in order, there’s the risk of having to change the lineup altogether because of conflicts with their personal schedules, which leads to a lot of back and forth from you and the member. You can find software that’s developed specifically for this function, which enables your team to confirm or refuse their appointment for a particular session.
- Tithe Collection – Some tools can help you automate how you collect your tithes. Most people today prefer to pay through cashless methods, like credit or debit cards and electronic wallets. Churches should keep up and enlist the help of a company that specializes in this service. Offering more payment methods can increase the likelihood that your members will fulfill their responsibility of supporting the church financially.
- Social Media Promotion – Secular businesses have taken advantage of social media to advertise their brand and reach their target audience. Again, the church should press on and adopt new technology to broaden their horizons.
Provide Updates on Church Campaigns
As a newcomer in a tight-knit community like those found in religious organizations, it can be easy to feel like an intruder in a family gathering. Church leaders must be aware of this potential loss and do all that they can to avoid this issue.
A contact management system can help prevent this from happening because you can capture church visitors and collect their contact information. After you’ve gathered the necessary information, you can then keep them abreast of what your organization is doing and invite them to weekday fellowships that will further boost their engagement level with your congregation.
Keep Your Church at the Top of Visitors’ Minds
For transient church visitors who are just in the area for special events like conferences or work meetings, you can still collect their contact information. Communicate with them regularly to keep your organization at the top of their minds when they think about your area.
With this, the next time they visit again, they’ll be more likely to join your gathering and reunite with your community. Moreover, when they decide to move to your locality, they can enjoy the benefits of knowing people in the neighborhood, thanks to your church.
Contact management software can help you with church visitor management by collecting data effortlessly while, at the same time, eliminating the need for paper cards. The digitalization of this process can also aid your organization in its data management efforts.
This tool is valuable as the first step in establishing a relationship with newcomers. With this, you can provide them with updates on special events that you have planned to make them feel part of your growing spiritual family. The automation can also boost their perception of your church as a tech-savvy organization that values the convenience of its members.
For visitors who are just passing by your area, a contact management system is still useful in getting their information and communicating with them to keep your church at the top of their minds even when they’ve returned to their homes.