Selecting a New Church Management System

05-31-2019
ThinkMinistry

Being in church ministry already comes with its own unique set of challenges and potential pain points. Finding a new ChMS (Church Management System) doesn't have to be one of them.

Like anything in life, having a good roadmap will help you.

Now, you might be thinking, "I've seen these roadmaps before. They look like a complex system of dendrites and axons, and I don't have time to assemble something like that, much less follow it ... I work at a church, remember?"

Don't you worry, we've got a simple yet thorough six-step selection process that has helped many churches successfully (and painlessly) make a decision on a new ChMS. We think it can work for just about any church! Let's take a look:

1. Build a selection team

Recruit one executive staff member.

Add power users for any system you might replace.

Include people with specific technical skills or implementation responsibilities.

2. Make a list analyzing your current system

Note whether you want to replace, integrate, or leave alone your current systems.

What functions do those systems accomplish?

What are your pain points within the systems?

3. Make a list of potential replacement solutions

Create a broad list of available solutions (via web searches and similar church contacts).

List costs, features, and customer satisfaction.

Which candidates integrate with the systems you plan to keep?

Interview churches that have implemented the systems on your list.

4. Pick 4-8 systems and schedule demos

What is their approach to explaining their system?

Ask the vendor to walk you through key functions and cover pain points from your list.

Team members should score demos with “better,” “worse,” or “similar.”

Compile scores into your master list.

5. Narrow list to 2-3 finalists

Obtain proposals from each vendor outlining costs and system requirements.

Have your leadership give a tentative approval for the budget needed.

Encourage team members to take each finalist for a test drive.

Engage in “deep dive” demos to clarify concerns.

6. We have a winner!

Invite the winning system for an onsite, staff-wide demo.

Review their implementation and confirm timelines from vendor.

Obtain final proposal with boiler plate documents for review.

Gain final budget approval.

Review and sign the final proposal.

 

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