This is part 7 in the series. See all articles here.
Church member databases provide a growing list of features. These include:
I've shared a more detailed list of features here.
Some of these features are provided by other specialised service providers and you need to determine whether you want to use the features provided within the member database package, our ‘outsource' these to another provider.
Let me give you an example, Elvanto and Church Community Builder (and I'm sure others) provide “worship planning and volunteer scheduling” capabilities. This functionality is provided (in my opinion, to a much more comprehensive and polished way) by Planning Center Online (PCO). This is not to downplay either Elvanto or CCB – it simply recognises that a niche provider is usually more focussed.
Similarly, I'm a huge fan of MailChimp. While many church member database providers the ability to email the church/groups/sub-groups, the functionality of MailChimp (a specialised product) is (again in my opinion) far superior to what is offered as part of these database solutions.
Wufoo is also a superior service for forms and surveys.
This presents your church with 2 options:
Which approach you take is up to your church and its specific needs. I raise this as one of the steps to selecting a church member database because again – you don't want to pay for what you don't need, especially if you are going to pay for other services.
I'd recommend investigating some of the niche providers of services commonly included in church member databases, including service planning (e.g. Planning Center Online), email newsletters (e.g. MailChimp) and forms/surveys (e.g. Wufoo). Chat with other churches to see what online tools they use to help in their ministry. You can then evaluate whether or not your church would benefit from the extra functionality of these tools, and consider whether you've got the time (or inclination) to keep information current across multiple sources.
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