After a church signs on with CCB, the first thing we have to do is a database conversation. That’s a fancy phrase that really means we need to map one set of data from an existing database to our database structure. Most of the time, this is an easy process. (Admittedly, this is always the part that scares me. When you start manipulating a lot of data anything can--and does--happen.)
What makes conversions complex is often a lack of:
- Standardization. (Using data in the same way every time.)
- Unique structure. (Homegrown systems or pieced together software from multiple providers often create unexpected roadblocks and obstacles.)
- Data Integrity. (Databases are only as good as the data entered into them.)
But once the conversation is complete, the work is not done. We strongly encourage churches to take the opportunity to do two things as it relates to database conversations and maintenance:
- Make sure as many people as possible sign into CCB as soon as possible. Part of what makes CCB different is our focus on community engagement. The more people using your system, the better. And I’m not talking only to the church staff. We want the average person in the pew to use CCB as the primary way they interact with your church outside your church’s Web site. Use the conversion process as an “excuse” to ask people to sign up and log in. You’ll be amazed at how many people will take you up on that.
- Let people update and correct their information. Once they sign in, we want them to review or enter all their contact information and other related information. The more accurate this data is, the more opportunities you’ll have to use it in the future for reporting and strategic planning. Some church have been so bold as to initially wipe the slate clean and make everyone sign up as if they were new. Others prefer a much “softer” approach of positive encouragement. Whatever you choose, getting people to enter their personal contact data will save you time and money in things like data entry, returned postage, undeliverable emails, etc.
I’m curious: Have you done anything unique when you switched to your current ChMS that was helpful in getting more people connected and using the new system?