With so many ChMS tools on the market, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with all the choices. To help church leaders compare the options available, we’re continuing to add to our series of ChMS reviews. In this review, we take a look at TouchPoint Software and what this tool has to offer.
Overview of TouchPoint Software
TouchPoint launched in 2008 at Bellevue Baptist Church. Unhappy with the system they were using, they decided to build their own using developers on staff. Over time, other church leaders heard about their software and became interested in it. In 2015, they rebranded as TouchPoint and looked for a buyer to take on this business that the church never intended to start in the first place. The church wanted a company to purchase the software that would serve churches well. In 2017, The Pursuant Group bought TouchPoint Software. Since then, TouchPoint’s user base has tripled in size.
TouchPoint is an open-source, hosted solution. It’s fully customizable, so users aren’t limited to just the standard functionality.
TouchPoint currently hosts 3.1 million names across all instances of the database. It also includes a fully customizable mobile app (everything that happens in the database happens in the app and vice versa).
Even though TouchPoint originated in a Baptist church, the software serves all denominations including catholic parishes.
Benefits and Features of TouchPoint Software
Once a user logs into the system, they’ll see their customized dashboard. This screen is widget-based, so users can determine what they want to see first when they access the system. This could include information about new TouchPoint features and webinars, tasks assigned to the user, small group information, volunteer roles, and more.
The Membership/People aspect of Touchpoint is the central point of the database. This is where you can view the profile of anyone within the system. An individual’s profile can include basic contact information, special dates (birthday, wedding date, etc.), communication preferences, volunteer roles, system access, communication notes, giving records, and more.
Members can access their profile page from any web-enabled device or from the mobile app. They can view their giving history, update their profile (such as change their address), etc.
There are several tabs within a member’s record:
- Personal – This includes contact information, important dates, and any custom fields you want to include.
- Involvement – In this tab, you can see this individual’s involvement in various church activities (small groups, attendance, registration for a summer camp, etc.).
- Profile – This includes information regarding the individual’s church membership status. From here, a church can use what are called “Extra Values.” These are fields they can customize to handle information such as spiritual gift test results, volunteer training steps, discipleship steps, personality profiles, etc.
- Ministry – This tab is likely only viewed by certain staff members as it contains notes about the individual (usually notes about communications with this member).
- Giving – This is the individual’s giving history.
- Communications – Here you can see all the emails the member has received or sent (if he/she has access to do so). You can also view all text messages sent to that individual.
- Resources – Within this tab are any files a leader has posted for this member to view. This could be anything from a small group leader PDF to a welcome video.
- System – This is where certain roles can see the role assigned to an individual (their access role within the system).
TouchPoint enables churches to use what they call “badges” which are tied to “status flags.” You can customize what these are labeled and use them however works best for your church. Also, you can run a report on anything with a status flag. One way to use these tools is for follow-up purposes. For example, a church can track those who are connected to the church (however your church defines connected), then run reports to see who was connected but now isn’t. From there, you could assign tasks to have people contact these newly “not connected” individuals to see if they’re okay, why they haven’t attended in a while, etc. You can also use these to define your church’s discipleship process and more.
Contributions are entered into and maintained within the system. Individuals can make a one-time gift, set up recurring giving, manage pledges, and print off annual giving statements from within the system.
Users can assign tasks to another user from within the system. The assignee will receive a notification that they’ve been assigned a task. Once the task is complete, the assignee can go into the task and update it with notes or mark it complete. You can limit notes to staff or pastoral care.
Churches can add their small groups to the system to track and organize them. Leaders can take attendance on their mobile device and even assign a task to follow-up with someone who hasn’t attended a small group in a while. Members can use the small group finder to locate a group based on various criteria such as meeting day/time, location, and childcare options.
Small group leaders can have access to their groups within TouchPoint so they can send Resources, track attendance, add tasks for follow-up, and more.
Volunteer Coordinators can create the roles needed and schedule volunteers. One feature that stands out is the ability to request substitutes from other volunteers within the system. Once the message goes out and a volunteer offers to take that slot, a follow-up note goes to the other volunteers who received the original request that this assignment was filled. In addition, volunteers can sign up and check-in using the system.
In addition to scheduling volunteers, you can also handle all electronic communications with them from TouchPoint. You can send email reminders to volunteers about upcoming assignments and schedule messages to go out to all volunteers or a defined group of volunteers.
TouchPoint has a standard set of reports available, plus users can create their own. Users who are familiar with SQL and Python can create the most robust customized reports. TouchPoint also accepts requests for new reports and may make those available for all users.
Reports include various statistics, attendance summaries, and more.
The mobile app is fully customizable and TouchPoint offers training on how to customize the app. Everything that happens within the app flows to the database and vice versa.
Workflow and Usability of TouchPoint Software
Overall, the user interface is easy to navigate and fairly self-explanatory. Terms such as “status flags” and “badges” require some explanation, but that’s not uncommon. The extra values fields are helpful for handling data elements that might be unique to a church (or for putting legacy data into a field in TouchPoint). Since the system is customizable, having someone who’s familiar with SQL or Python would be helpful for creating more complex reports. Otherwise, churches can request customizations from TouchPoint as needed.
User Satisfaction & Comments
TouchPoint Software has an overall 4.3 out of 5-star rating at Capterra. Reviews include positive comments about the knowledge and helpfulness of TouchPoint staff. Reviewers also found the software to be intuitive to use with plenty of features.
“This software made actually doing ministry awesome! When a church member told me about a move after a service, I was able to update their contact information directly from my phone rather than making a note and doing it at my computer! It helped our entire team stay on track too!” – Lily M., Administrative Assistant
All training is done live either in-person or on Zoom for every church. These sessions are recorded and provided to the church to share with new users. Churches also receive a handful of free courses. Most churches purchase about 20 hours of training. TouchPoint also has a consulting team that will work with church leaders one-on-one.
All tech support originates via email within the system. Mon-Fri business hours (often end up responding over the weekend regardless).
Something that seems fairly unique to TouchPoint is how they handle requests for new functionality or features. During a demo with their team, they mentioned how church leaders have asked for new widgets for the dashboard, reports, and other functionality. In some cases, TouchPoint is able to implement those changes fairly quickly (sometimes in less than a week). For changes that are more time-consuming to make, TouchPoint may work with churches who’ve asked for a new feature to share in the cost of developing that functionality. Additionally, TouchPoint hosts roundtable discussions with member churches each week. During these sessions, they answer questions and field requests for additional features.
Additionally, TouchPoint hosts monthly webinars during which they dive into something related to the technology. They also host a weekly roundtable that’s open to all church partners to share best practices and offer feedback. Finally, they have an annual summit for their partner churches.
Technology Details / Specifications
Since TouchPoint is online, there’s no software to install on a computer. However, for certain functions, there are items a church will need to have to fully use:
- To speed up the process of recording check donations, a check scanner would be useful.
- You’ll need web-enabled devices such as iPads, Kindle Fires, etc. to use for check-in purposes. QR scanners are necessary if you want to use remote kids check-in.
TouchPoint integrates with the following:
Note: The Twillio integration enables churches to send SMS text messages to people within the database. They can also receive reply messages, such as “HERE” from someone who’s replying to a text message asking for attendance confirmation.
SendGrid handles the email sent through the system. Every email sent/received is tracked within the system.
TouchPoint bases its pricing on how many people are active within a church’s database (not simply how many records are within the database). “Active” is defined as an individual who has given once or attended twice in a calendar year.
The basic pricing is $3 per active record per year. Training, setup, and mobile app setup are additional fees.
The email service is built into the system, so there is no additional charge for that functionality.
Overall, TouchPoint is one of those ChMS tools that seems to fly under the radar. They’re not as well-known as some of the other ChMS players in the market. However, a key differentiator may be the ability to customize the tool more than a standard ChMS…without needing a full-time developer as you might need with a tool like The Rock.
Additionally, TouchPoint doesn’t publish a development roadmap other than at their annual Summit for partner churches. Instead, they state that they work to be responsive to requests they receive and provide that new development as quickly as possible.
TouchPoint is a system worth looking into for its current functionality, integrations, and the ability to customize.