Collecting information from church members has always been a resource sink. Church leaders need to gather information from volunteers, visitors, and members signing up for events, but it’s always been more of a necessary evil.
In the past, leaders had to create written forms (which took time) that they printed out (which cost money). If the response level was above average (which is what they hoped for), that meant they had to spend even more time manually typing the information into their data system. Even after churches started to create online forms, leaders had to create them outside their church management software and enter the information manually. Many times, this step was ignored and thus critical information about people got isolated in a data silo.
With the development of church software improving almost daily, church leaders can utilize forms within software to automate and streamline many of the hassles of sign ups, donations, registrations, and events.
Here are 10 reasons why using church software forms can advance ministry at your church:
1) Registration is simple.
If you've ever registered for an event, you know that the process isn't always simple. However, if your church chooses its software wisely, giving people the option to register online can be one of the “least barriers of entry” to getting them involved in church events. Invite a neighbor to VBS via email and include the link to online registration. If they don't have to print a form, fill it in, and mail a check, they are more likely to sign their children up because . . . it was easy.
2) Reduce administrative headaches.
The burden of registration usually fall to the church administrator or secretary. By using simple forms functionality to streamline their job, chances are they will be more apt to help ministries within the church set up donation pages, events listing, and volunteer sign ups. When things are simple to do, we are more interested in doing them, right? A forms platform that is simple to use with drag and drop functionality is a church's best bet to reduce headaches.
3) Automate the process.
Creating a form is just the first step; creating a behind-the-scenes process within the church software is the way to assign follow-up and tasks to the correct ministry so that the appropriate person can handle the volunteers or tally the number of registrations. Help church leaders organize potential volunteers into any number of different processes for specific areas of ministry based on the form responses.
4) Customize email notification.
Utilize email notification so that the person in charge of the event gets an email when someone registers or responds to the form you've set up. Some software systems even allow you to designate more than one person to receive these email notifications. This is very helpful if you have more that none volunteer or staff member handling a particular event or opportunity.
5) Split payments between charts of accounts (COAs).
Since forms are often used to collect money, setting up a form that has the capability for split transactions can be a life-saver. Churches should set up a form with a product question that designates payment to one COA category and a donation amount question that sends gifts to another COA category— or even multiple categories.
6) Make payments/contributions for multiple charts of accounts.
In addition to splitting payments, church members should be able to make payments to multiple accounts in one payment through a form that supports splitting payments. This makes it easier for them to pay everything in full.
7) Event registration for children and student pastors.
Forms that allow for students to register under their profile while payments fall under the parents profiles makes the whole process of registering for the youth retreat that much simpler. Conversely, a forms solution that gives parents the ability to complete a form on behalf of their child ensures that the form response is connected to the right profile in the church database.
8) Utilize File upload.
Whether it’s a waiver form your student ministry needs for camp or images of a recent mission trip, having the ability to upload a file within a form can make it easy for your church members to submit everything at one time and easy for your church staff to keep everything in one place.
9) Install Discount codes.
Whether it’s a summer camp scholarship or discount for a particular event, using a discount code feature with church forms allows church leaders the opportunity to simplify the discount/scholarship process.
10) View a summary all in one place.
Church software that gives churches the ability to see at a glance how many responses they have, how many are matched to a profile, how many are paid, and how much is owed can be extremely helpful.
Using forms to handle and streamline ministry sounds like a good idea, doesn't it?