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Pastor uses CRM system to track congregation contacts

Imagine empowering your pastors and lay ministers with the ability to leverage their cell phones, home computers and/or office email to track follow-ups with visitors, schedule visits with members in the hospital, track prayer requests and other contact-centric information from anywhere about town, or even around the globe. Such pipe-dream functionality is now an every-day reality as several software as a service (SaaS) are now offering affordable web-based customer relationship management (CRM) system.

Case in point: Highrise

“I am [now] able to care for the congregation. No longer do I have to worry about someone ‘falling through the cracks.’ I am able to log all my interactions – email, phone, appointments in one place and create a reminder for appropriate follow up.” – Rev. Andrew Conard, Pastor of Congregational Care at The United Methodist Church of Leawood, KS

The following quote comes from the a post on the 37 Signals product blog entitled ‘Pastor uses Highrise to keep track of interactions with his congregation.’
In this article, we’re offered screenshots and descriptions of how Pastor Conard has incorporated Highrise an integral part providing the best possible care for each person by tracking conversations, visits and thoughts.

Case in point: Plaid

“People in ministry meet lots and lots of people. And every single one is important. Unlike business, ministries serve everyone … make sure you enter that name into a database.” – Remember and track names in ministry

The above paraphrase is from Tim Bednar, Web designer and creator of Plaid, a shared communications and tracking application that can be used by small teams to collaborate their contact information, reminders and comments. Or as Tim puts it:

“You deserve better tools than a spreadsheet or dog-eared church directory. And traditional church management software (ChMS) is too complicated. Plaid is a shared communication and tracking tool used by innovative ministry teams. It will keep you on track, grow your ministry and eliminate stress.”

Amen to that!

Case in point: SugarCRM

SugarCRM is an open-source (OS) customer relationship management (CRM) package …
What I realized after looking at this is that Fellowship One has more in common with a CRM package than it does with most church database software I’ve seen. It is designed to manage communication between church leaders and individuals, be they first-time visitors, or core team members.

So why not just use SugarCRM instead of Fellowship One? Because Fellowship One has all these features in addition to everything you’d expect in a church database plus some …” – Brian Glass blog

Of course, Brian does warn that because SugarCRM is geared at business. And like similar SaaS CRMs, it may not have some of the features found in church-centric CRM services.

Case in point: SalesForce.com

“The vision of the Salesforce.com Foundation is to use salesforce.com’s people, technology and relationships to improve our communities, inspire youth to be more successful, support the world during times of extreme need, and promote compassionate capitalism.”

The above quote comes via the SalesForce Foundation web site, which extends its market-leading Sales Force’s enterprise, software as a service CRM to nonprofit organizations.

The point is:

Whether or not you are involved in full time, part time or lay ministry, it may be to your benefit to check out employing a web-based customer relationship management to help you feed the hungry, tend to the widow and orphan, visit the infirmed and/or imprisoned … and of course to track down them donors whose charity helps keep your ministries rolling.

Personally I think I’d start with Plaid and work out from there. Mostly because Tim Bednar has both the ministerial and technical background to make it work in a manner that’s more suited towards your ministry’s needs than say SalesForce or SugarCRM.

And yes, you can quote me on that!-)