A Church Management System (CMS) is the administrative hub of a church. It stores pertinent information, including membership data, attendance trends, group health, and giving records. Today, there are more options than ever for church leaders to choose from. Here are six questions to ask when looking for a Church Management System for your church.
1. Is It Cloud Ready?
When choosing a CMS, the ability to have your database in the cloud is an important feature to consider. Without cloud services, you can only access your CMS at the physical site of the church. A cloud-based CMS allows you to put information in the hands of key leaders whether they are on site at the church, at home, or half-way around the world.
2. Is It Mobile Ready?
Ask if the CMS has mobile apps developed that are actively supported. Apps allow church leaders to reach into their pockets and with a few taps get the data that they need.
3. Is It User Friendly?
Is the interface cumbersome and difficult? Is it confusing and overwhelming? Is it frustrating and off-putting? Many companies allow you to trial their apps and programs for a period of time, which allows you to assess whether the CMS is user-friendly for your volunteers and leaders.
4. Is It Full of Features?
What are your needs as a church? Find a CMS that matches your church’s needs, but also one that your church can grow into as well. Does the developer regularly update the apps with new features? Do you need a CMS that manages group communication and attendance? What about children’s check-in? Online giving? Know the features you need before you go CMS shopping.
5. Is It Reasonably Priced?
An expensive CMS that is used is better than a cheap CMS that isn’t used. Check the pricing structure of each CMS you are considering. Many companies now offer a monthly service fee, which allows you to jump into the CMS with minimal upfront investment. In addition, most developers offer a scalable pricing model depending on the volume of your church’s needs.
6. Is It Actively Supported?
If you have problems with the CMS, how will those problems be fixed? How is their customer support? Does the developer offer any types of training that will help you educate staff and volunteers on how to use it? Everyone encounters snags at some point. When you do, you'll want a company that's quick to respond and help you in your moment of need.
For information on church IT strategies and solutions, check out Church IT by Nick B. Nicholaou.
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