It can be surprising how much information and scattered details a church needs to keep track of on a weekly and even daily basis.
The wise church administrator knows the best way to stay organized and efficient is by using church database software. A database gives you one common point of information for everything you need. Everyone on staff knows where to go to get a phone number, address, or even statistics and other reports.
Most important areas that a church database solution should manage:
- New visitors and follow-up
One of our most important tasks as church leaders is to take good care of the new visitors God brings to us. Our church database should record information about new visitors including contact information and demographics. We can then use that information to assign the best person to follow-up with them, because we know this will greatly increase the chances of them returning and eventually getting involved. Our database should also allow us to track our follow-up efforts so we can measure our success.
- Member information
Equally important is our ability to be good stewards of our existing members. Obviously there are many ways that we steward well, including keeping in touch, meeting needs, encouraging growth, etc… but they all depend on our having good and accurate information in our database about the people we minister to. Basic family information is a must, but we can be even more effective when we know member’s involvement history, giftings, talent, hobbies, etc… Counseling notes and prayer request also help us ministering to the specific needs of each member.
- Classes – historical and future
Growing churches have clear pathways to growth for their members. These can be spiritual foundation classes, leader development classes and ministry preparation classes. These pathways not only help members grow individually, but propels the church as a whole in maturity and effectiveness in changing the world. The church database should not only keep records of past class involvement, but should help in proactively encouraging attendance in future classes. The software should identify people who have completed one class, and should be contacted about signing up for the next one.
- Small Groups
Small groups have proven to be a great way to help people connect regardless of the size of the church, yet small group administration can be overwhelming. You should be able to count on your church database software to help you manage your groups, their structure and leadership, weekly meeting statistics, and more. Monitoring your small groups will ensure that they are healthy, are carrying the vision of the church, and can even help you identify great leaders and potential future staff members.
- Organizations / Teams
Churches have all different kinds of organizations, committees or teams. These could be mission trips, event attendees, or volunteer teams. Our database should be able to track these team members, leaders, and other details. We should be able to quickly pull up a list of members for a mailing, or email blast, etc…
- Contributions / Pledges
Accurate tracking of contributions is critical to a church, and church database software really excels at this. At any time, you should be able to see exactly who has given, how much, and to what fund. You should also be able to monitor and manage amounts pledged toward a campaign. Of course the software must quickly and easily produce the year-end giving statements for your members.
This is probably the most important, yet underrated feature of a good church database system. Reporting is usually the ultimate outcome of entering and tracking all of your information in the first place. Reporting answers all the questions asked by pastors and staff – “How many visitors did we have on Sunday?”, “How many small group opportunities do we have?”, “How much can we invest into the community next year?”, etc.. The secret to successfully reporting from your database, is the ability to create new custom reports. It’s impossible to pre-design every possible report a church will need, because every church is unique, and their needs continually change. So it’s critical that your software allows you to create new custom reports as your needs require them.
If your church database software tracks all of this information with ease, then you’re in good shape. If you find your current software lacking from anything listed above, you may want to look around at some other options. Excellerate Church Management can track all this information and more!