Saginaw Valley Community Church in Saginaw, Michigan is a thriving non-denominational congregation of 275 members. Church secretary, Darlene Robinson, is responsible for maintaining the church records from accounting to membership management to visitor outreach.church admin

“We use our church software, Roll Call, to keep attendance – once a week our care pastor comes in and marks who has attended and notes those who haven’t been to church recently. This information helps him follow up with them and find out if they have needs the church can attend to.”

Darlene appreciates how user-friendly the church management system is and remarks that keeping track of church life is made simple through this program.

“I keep track of all the personal information – marital status, address, contact info, registration for everything, giving records, changes that happen in their family such as new births and deaths. It’s a one-stop shop for every part of our church’s life.”

Effective Follow up
Saginaw Valley Community Church has a detailed visitor follow-up procedure to ensure that visitors feel welcome and have a desire to return. When someone new visits the church, they are invited to coffee with the pastors after the service where they visit and fill out an information card. They are sent away with information about the church, a bag of cookies, and lots of personal attention.

Once the visitor information is collected, Darlene enters these details into Roll Call. “I carbon copy the visitor list I create to our care and senior pastors so that they can send a personal letter and/or make a phone call depending on the visitor’s interest level.”

Event Attendance
The church holds a number of conferences each year—some of which draw people from the community who haven’t visited their church yet. When people register for these conferences through the church’s website, Darlene is able to import the contact information into her church software and create lists of those who attend in order to notify them of upcoming events.

“Someone who only comes to a conference can be designated in a group so that they don’t receive all church communication. Also, once a year we have a dinner for all visitors—I can go in and print out this list of people to send an invitation,” adds Darlene.

Contributions
Each week, the church conducts a money count. This information is then entered by Darlene into Roll Call. “When I go to enter the envelopes, I note what they gave, how they gave, and what fund it goes to. At the end of the year, I print out contribution reports for each contributor.”

When asked about By the Book’s support and customer service, Darlene notes that “the customer service compares to none—they are always available and answer with a smile. I’m not computer savvy, and they are so good with me. I’ll let them hop on my computer virtually to help me through a problem. When I get an update, I call By the Book to make sure my info is backed up so that I don’t lose my information. Top notch help from them. I can’t say enough good things.”

[Full disclosure: By the Book is one of CTT’s site sponsors. For more information on their church software, visit http://www.bythebook.com.]

Lauren Hunter is a freelance writer, church technology PR consultant (http://lhpr.net) and founder of the blog ChurchTechToday (http://ChurchTechToday.com), Technology for Today’s Church.