Is it time to get serious about scheduling? You bet! The Serious Scheduling 2015 Conference is coming soon! Early Bird Discounts – Learn More Now
Discover how online appointment scheduling software can help your church minister to your congregation
It’s a tough question to ask, and not one that any church leader wants to answer with a “yes.” But, the truth is, running a church takes a lot more than just delivering sermons and having choir rehearsal. Not only that—there is more to “going to church” than just attending services and giving when the collection plate is passed.
Realistically, a growing church has multiple ministries, multiple service opportunities, and even multiple campuses. It takes work to keep all that organized. If your church staff is starting to feel the strain of keeping track of all the workshops, services, and volunteer shifts, then it’s time to learn about online appointment scheduling software for churches.
Your leadership has so much responsibility. Not only do you need to make sure that your congregation is able to find the spiritual guidance they need, the Members also need the opportunity to give back through their service and contributions. Orchestrating all those opportunities can be as tricky as navigating the baptismal pool without going under yourself!
So ask yourself, how much time is your church staff focusing on the “how” (as in, How can we get all these initiatives organized)? Is it more time than they spend focusing on the “why” (as in, Why are our Members here in our church)?
If the answer is yes, that’s okay! Many churches, especially growing ones, have loads of fantastic ideas, but not enough staff or volunteers to get them off the ground. So take a few minutes to get acquainted with church scheduling software by AppointmentPlus. You might be surprised to see the many ways that it can reduce the time and staff needed to keep all your ministries and service opportunities organized and fully staffed with volunteers!
Does this sound familiar?
“Now it’s time for announcements. Don’t forget, we have study groups every Tuesday evening for every age group, both singles and couples. Please sign up for your group in the Welcome Center. Also, we need more volunteers for the Nursery on Sunday mornings. Please see Sister Tammy at the front after service if you can help. And we have a big surprise! We are starting a church basketball league on Friday nights! You can pay your registration fee and sign up for our team on the clipboard right outside the fellowship hall. If you have any questions at all, please give me a call – my cell phone number is right there in your bulletin.”
If I were a betting person (which I’m NOT! I promise!), I’d say that Sister Tammy and maybe a handful of other people are responsible for picking up the sign-up sheets, sending out class rosters, scheduling the nursery volunteers, and collecting the basketball league dues.
Odds are (not that I know about betting and odds, I’m just speaking statistically, I promise), your church offers one or more of the following to your Members and Visitors:
And in order to provide these services to your congregation, you need volunteers to staff those positions. You also need help keeping with basic maintenance and overhead of your building. You need:
How do you keep all your volunteers and their shifts organized? And what do you do when someone has to cancel an appointment or needs to reschedule at the last minute?
When you have a church with a large Membership, especially if you have multiple campuses, keeping track of all these ministries and volunteers can be a full-time job. Maybe several full-time jobs! A better use of your income and your congregation’s contributions would be to automate these tasks. This way, your church staff can concentrate on those services that just can’t be handled by software – like ministering to the church’s Members and Visitors.
Simply telling you that your church needs an upgraded scheduling system is one thing. I know your leadership is going to need more than that. But even Moses was hard to convince, so let me break down how AppointmentPlus can help your church. (But don’t break out your fire extinguisher just yet. No burning bushes here.)
Here are three ways your church will improve your operations.
1. You’ll be more efficient
Spending hours each week manually picking up sign-up sheets, entering information into a computer program or spreadsheet, then sending it out to your group leaders isn’t exactly the best use of your time. Not to mention, there’s a lot of room for error.
With online scheduling software for churches, your Members can sign themselves up for classes, volunteer shifts, and even your sports leagues – all by simply clicking a “Book Now” button on your website or Facebook page.
Are you constantly asking for volunteers to fill various spots around the church – like greeters, nursery attendants, and weekly building maintenance? Set up recurring slots for every week and allow your Members to sign up online. This will save your organizers time previously spent calling people and asking them what days they can help.
For those events that require a registration fee, you can collect payments securely while they are booking their tickets online. You can even limit class sizes using the scheduler if you want, so you don’t have to worry about having too many people sign up for a particular class. And, if your Members’ circumstances change, and they can no longer attend – they will be able to cancel their reservation – freeing up a spot for someone else. And you’ll be notified immediately through text and email.
Since everyone’s time is precious, you can reduce the number of class spots that go empty by sending out automatic email and text confirmations and reminders. Studies have shown that the simple step of sending a reminder will reduce your no-show rate by up to 50%!
2. You will improve communication with your congregation
Sometimes people are just not comfortable making the first move. Whether they need help in the form of counseling, or they want to give back by volunteering, taking that first step is a little awkward for some.
So make it easy! You can allow your counselors and clergy to set their own hours for classes, workshops, and one-on-one sessions, and then allow your Members to sign up for an appointment online. For some people, especially those going through hard times, allowing them to book online instead of having to call into your main office to schedule really shows that you respect their privacy, while allowing them to access the services that your church provides.
Does your church have an email newsletter that goes out to your Members? Church scheduling software is able to integrate with email services like Constant Contact and MailChimp to use your member’s profile information to send the right messages to the right people at the right times. Do you have a New Member Class? You can send out emails to your attendees thanking them for signing up, recapping the course materials, and providing learning resources for them – all automatically! You could do the same with your Visitors or any other segment of your congregation.
3. You will improve cash flow
Online appointment scheduling does a lot more than just allow people to manage their appointments. You can collect payments for class registration, course material, and even contributions to your church. AppointmentPlus can be customized through our API, so that you can integrate with any third-party software.
We also play very nicely with accounting tools like QuickBooks, so your appointment data can automatically import into your financial software.
I know I’ve been in those situations before. I’m sitting in church and decide to sign up for a class or donate to a mission trip. I reach for my checkbook, only to realize I’ve left it at home or that I’m out of checks. I’ll be honest, I’m a little embarrassed when this happens. Did Sister Tammy see me and think I did a fake-donation-move with my checkbook? No, Sister Tammy! It was an honest mistake!
When you allow people the option to contribute online, it can really improve your cash flow, as well as enable people to reach their giving goals.
If you’re planning a development initiative to add additional classrooms or acquire new equipment, there’s no better time to begin using church scheduling software. Using the email marketing and online-giving tools available in AppointmentPlus will help you meet and exceed your fundraising goals – efficiently and effectively.
One of the most effective ways for your church to reach a broader audience is though online communication. From streaming your morning services to podcasting to providing downloads of past sermons – you can expand your reach to the thousands of people who can’t make it to your campus.
Your website is often the first impression of your church for many people. So, take a quick peek at your home page. Is it user-friendly and easy to navigate? Can a Visitor find the information that they need quickly?
How about social media? Can people reach your church through Facebook or Twitter?
Did you know that you can post updates to social media directly from your appointment scheduling software? You can also allow people to register for classes or book appointments with your counselors or clergy, right from your website or Facebook page.
And for your administrators, since AppointmentPlus is web-based, you can access your calendar and class schedule from any computer with an Internet connection. You can even access and update your schedule right from your smartphone with our robust mobile apps.
Staying in touch with every segment of your congregation can seem daunting, but when you have a powerful appointment schedule working for you, it’s a snap!
Of course, not the same kind of friend that the old hymn talks about, but hey – we
With AppointmentPlus, you are partnering with a software development company who has helped thousands of companies and non-profit organizations of all sizes with their organizational goals.
Unfortunately, we know that many software companies are only interested in the big sale, and then they leave you with no support to help you if you get stuck. Even though transitioning to AppointmentPlus is a breeze, we are still here to help you!
Your satisfaction with our product is of utmost importance to us. That’s why we offer a chance to try out our church scheduling software before making a decision. That’s right – you get 15 days to try out all the bells and whistles, so that you can get a real feel for how AppointmentPlus works.
Simply select the best option for your needs and get started today!