It’s not uncommon for churches to “patch” their technology together as they grow. And for many churches in the initial stabilization process, the “patch” solution may be the direction you choose to head. It offers you the chance to tack on additional pieces along the way without much disruption and often at minimal upfront cost.
However, there comes a point when someone on staff realizes that they need information they can’t get. That usually leads to a quick evaluation where someone admits that we’re spending way too much time duplicating data entry without a way for the data to interact. And that’s usually when we get a call.
I’ve had this conversation with a lot of churches recently who are raising their ChMS expectations and realizing their current solutions aren’t working in the way they need them to. Here are five advantages of having a single, shared database of information:
- One point of entry. No need to duplicate the entry in another system that another part of the ministry is using that is specific to what their doing.
- More comprehensive cataloging of membership activity. Too often we “think” of “feel” like everything is going OK. What we need to do is validate our thinking with some objective data. That's hard to do when the data is scattered in multiple "silos".
- Better reporting. Accuracy is key. When you are pulling different information from different systems, the risk of error multiplies. Strategic decision making only works when your strategy is informed with complete, trustworthy data.
- Broader buy-in from leadership staff. Providing a complete solution gives front-line ministry staff a reason to leverage the ChMS in the specific ways that can improve their ministry effectiveness. The more staff and lay leadership leveraging the ChMS solution, the more valuable it is to the church.
- Less expensive to support in time and money. When you have multiple solutions from multiple providers, that means you likely have multiple support agreements and probably some customization of software in order to make all the pieces fit. Together, these costs can amount to thousands more than you need to pay which takes money away from ministry.
How have you assembled your ChMS solution? Is it one, complete piece of technology, or is it a series of individual solutions that you’ve assembled over time?