The nonprofit and secular industries are no stranger to project management software, but until now, church project management software hasn't been on anyone's radar. Churches simply muddled through with systems in place either cobbling together church management software alongside emails, spreadsheets, and perhaps a Google Group or some other free software that allowed them to coordinate large projects involving staff and volunteers.
That is until RocoCPM was developed.
Get ready for a new acronym, Church Project Management, or “CPM.”
“I grew up in church, was a volunteer, then became an ordained pastor. I've seen different tools over the years and at the end of the day the communication was always a problem. I wanted to focus on the communication and effectiveness of communication within the church. The tools available to churches were bloated. I wanted to fuel this without churches having to stretch. Especially church plants who don't have resources,” remarks Peter Berthold, Founder of Roco12, developer of RocoCPM.
The company's name was taken from Romans 12 and Corinthians 12, hence Roco12, where both chapters talk about the body and the gifts that are available in the body.
RocoCPM has just finished its beta test phase with 20 churches and is now launching the software to a wider church audience.
As I personally dove into the cloud-based software, I was impressed with the ease of use and intuitiveness of the feel. The options are numerous and they seem to have thought of many of the details of day-to-day operations that churches must manage. There are multiple user options and rights so that both church pastors, executives, creatives, administrative staff such as bookkeepers and accountants, and even volunteers can use the software and be involved in projects on a team.
The left vertical navigation of the software offers Dashboard, Projects, Vendors, Items, Purchase Orders, Budgets, and Calendar views, each with their own purpose and functionality. If you're into communication, efficiency, and staying on track with projects and church budgets, you will be salivating when you see all the options and how simple it is to use this software.
The company plans to partner with vendors in the Christian market to advertise within the Vendors module similar to how Mint.com partners with financial providers on their website to offset the cost and make this software absolutely free to churches. In the secular world, similar software for nonprofit management such as Asana or Basecamp is anything but free, so it will be really interesting to see how Roco12 balances features, usability, and support with maintaining the free-to-the-church pricetag.
That's right, I said free. I'm going to say it again: FREE. This software is totally free.
There's a lot to be said for harnessing the internet for team collaboration. All records and projects are updated online in real-time, making it a great solution for churches who have remote or work-at-home pastors; it also seems to be built to handle very large budgets with the helpful budget section and purchase order options.
I wasn't able to try it out, but Roco12 says that there's also a built-in chat system which would make working on projects remotely or in separate offices really nice.
Peter adds, “We found that every church had a format or workflow, plus often people within the church didn't know where everything was purchased. Communication between church staff was inefficient and complicated.”
The company's goal is to alleviate this communication and streamline the process.
When I asked about how RocoCPM will work alongside church management software (ChMS), they company noted that their software will not replace traditional membership management features. It does not offer membership communication functionality or church accounting, the system is primarily for helping church teams executive multi-stage projects such as new sermon series, church website updates, church communication projects such as handling the bulletin, and much, much more.
Overall, the role of CPM is to help unify staff and leaders with efficient workflow, set priorities, dates, build communication inside your staff so that you can have a better pulse on your staff.
This solution is a great option for all the church planters out there who might be assembling a team and need to communicate and stay on track with volunteers and staff who don't yet have a physical building. I would imagine that having to take down and set up church in remote location each week could bettered by this project management software in a big way.
Overall, I feel that Roco12 is on to something big that the church market has lacked for some time. While some ChMS solutions offer a smattering of project management features, no one to date is focusing on this area solely. It's exciting and is sure to bless many, many churches in the future.
[Editor's Note: While Roco12 has been a site sponsor, this was not a paid review.]