Church Community Builder has within its core functionality and design the assumption that building community is the most important function of a local church. Community is where we engage others, call people to live out their faith through specific action, and see life change occur right before our eyes. One key ingredient to getting the most out of Church Community Builder is to get as many members of your church as possible using your site once you are ready to roll it out to the entire church. Please hear this however: community adoption is not, by itself, a metric of success. It is incredibly important to define why you want people to log in and what you hope will happen as a result. These goals will change over time and it is best to start with small, incremental goals which then build momentum towards bigger ones.
For example, a church in Kansas started by simply encouraging people to log in and retrieve year-end giving statements. Over time they moved towards a goal where the bulk of all church giving was done via Church Community Builder's online giving tools. As a result of their very purposeful leadership and specific goals, their online giving has increased over 500% in two years! Are you kidding me??? Now there is a metric we can celebrate!! For them, "user adoption" doesn't stop with the number of people logging in. Who cares? It's about what those logins translate to in terms of impact!
It's never as easy as it might seem to get a broad base of interaction and support for any new ChMS. Nevertheless, the more members you have using your site, the more valuable the benefits become.
Here are 10 things we have seen which have helped drive adoption:
- Make sure your senior pastor "signs in" and completes his profile before the site is publicly launched. (Leadership buy-in is a must)
- Encourage your key lay or volunteer leadership base to complete their profiles before the general congregation is asked to.
- Capture testimonies from leaders about how the community-building tools within Church Community Builder overcome key obstacles that were faced with the previous system or processes.
- Invest in ongoing administrator training after implementation is complete to make sure your designated administrators understand the ins and outs of the software. (They are going to be the "go-to" people for your church from day one.)
- Provide an incentive for people to sign up by a certain date such as entering them into a drawing for a prize.
- Reward the small groups who meet certain criteria with a special staff-hosted dinner event.
- Create a "cheat sheet" for users to immediately answer some frequently asked questions. Customize these for your church. There is no one-size-fits-all option.
- Make giving, event promotion and registration exclusive to the site. If people can't sign up any other way, they will learn how to navigate it. (We believe they'll like what they see and want to explore further.)
- Don't call it "CCB"! No one knows what that means outside of the staff. Give it a cool name or simply call it the MyChurchName Online Community. Then, print it in the bulletin, link it to the home page of your Web site, and promote it from the platform on a regular basis.
- Incorporate the delivery of your small group curriculum and Bible Study material within the software to keep your leaders and congregation coming back on a regular basis.
What others ideas should I add to the list? Have you tried something in your church that was a wild success? I want to hear about it.