Pledge Campaign Video Tutorial

This is an overview of how to use pledge campaign management features in Church Membership Online.

4/23/2011 11:16:00 AM

Announcing New Church Support Features

Great Support Just Got Better

Church Office Online is committed to providing the best in support at NO cost to you. We believe great church management tools must be backed by great support. Take a look at our support life lines below.

Phone Support

  • Toll Free Support 1 (800) 220-2402
  • Monday - Friday 8am-5pm. Pacific Time

Online Knowledge Base, Issue Tracking and Feature Requests

  • Every page in Church Membership Online has a "Feedback and Support" quick link located in the bottom right of the page.
  • Issue tracking allows you to submit a service ticket for any issue and receive instant email follow-up and progress.
  • Instant answers are provided while you type your issue, providing you with instant solutions to your questions.
  • Feature requests allow you to submit suggestions and follow up with status, vote and popularity results.

Video Tutorials

  • Growing collection of step by step video tutorials.
  • New tutorials added frequently.

Click here to learn more.


Church Office Online

4/11/2011 5:01:00 PM

New Feature - MailChimp Mass Email Integration for Churches

We have released a major new feature in Church Membership Online that integrates your church database with MailChimp. You can now synchronize all of your Church Membership Online email addresses into MailChimp and create E-Newsletters, announcements and improve your overall church communication.

This integration is free with your Church Membership Online account. In addition, MailChimp offers a completely free account for up to 2,000 email addresses.

This means you can take advantage of mass email communication for your church at no cost!

WWe have posted the following information to help you get started using MailChimp with your Church Membership Online account.

Video Tutorial


Step by Step Getting Started Guide


MailChimp Review for Churches



Church Office Online

4/3/2011 3:56:00 AM

MailChimp Video Tutorial

This is a step by step video that walks you through using MailChimp with your Church Membership Online account.

4/2/2011 4:23:00 PM

Review of MailChimp for Churches

The first thing you should know is that this review was unsolicited by MailChimp (a web-based mass emailing service). Secondly, we have been a client of MailChimp for over a year. Lastly, as an online church management software service ( we have a lot of experience and expertise in web applications.

The Service

MailChimp’s online service has seven basic features: Design, Publish, Share, Track, Manage, Integration, and Mobile connectivity. Together the features provide a robust email communication/marketing program. While business marketing is the primary client target, churches can also uses its features to vastly improve their communications to members and attendees. Effective communication is the greatest challenge and need in church management today.

For an online program to be effective I believe it must have needed features with a clean and simple user interface (U.I.). From the moment you login you will discover that MailChimp has both. It is very Ipodic in that its design is simple but the technology is solid and deep. It also has a fun personality about it with its monkey insights and feedback. As one who borders more on the serious side, I never found it to be disruptive or tasteless (I do monkey around sometimes).

Learning about MailChimp and setting up your account is easy and supported with text and short video tutorials as well as all other features. After your account is set up you can start designing an email newsletter or campaign by using the one of the many provided templates or design one yourself. The templates are a good place to start and it still provides you with flexibility you need.

With an online email program churches will appreciate the following advantages:

Web Based Mass Email Communications

From start to finish all the programs and utilities you need are provided. No longer will you need to purchase desktop based programs for each entry user.

Empowers Your Ministries

It allows you involve multiple people in the design, graphics, content and publication of the program. Do you have a missionary that sends you a newsletter? Now they can simply be given access to your MailChimp service.

Powerful Analytics

Unlike traditional church communications we seldom find out if people are getting them. With MailChimp it will report back to you how many opened the email and clicked through to other links provided. It even tells you how well you did over the last email letter you sent. Nothing can improve communication more than real-time feedback.


MailChimp also can be integrated into other online applications. This feature will upload to your MailChimp account with current email addresses of your total church or group/s within your church. Our church management software, Church Membership Online, has been fully integrated with MailChimp . Many other services from billing to online contact services have done the same.

It's FREE!!!

Oh I almost forgot that for most churches who have less than 2000 deliverable email addresses in their database… the service is free. Yes, free. I hesitate to say that now as most are sold on it for that fact… I implore you to read on though.


When you finally finish designing your email and building your email list it has a nice feature that lets you test your email campaigns before you send them to everyone. In fact it will let you send a tested email to several people (say your communication team).

After you send your email out to everyone or a group it will track how your email campaign went with a report pie chart giving the percentage of your opens, bounced, unopened and click through rates. It also compares your results to industry benchmarks and previous campaign results. It will tell you who looked at it, and those who never want you to send them an email again.

One note of caution: this program does not take kindly to you sending emails to people who are not members/attendees/subscribers. If you get too many “Unsubscribe” or worse yet the dreaded “Abuse Complaint” you could be dropped. “Spam” is classified as unsolicited, unwanted emails sent to an email address or addresses. This program should be used to communicate to those who by default are members/attendees or requested to be added to your mailing.

I strongly recommend MailChimp for your church or non-profit. If you care about effective communication you need to consider this as a tool which will help you to that end.

Mike Smith, COO

4/2/2011 4:00:00 PM

How to Do Church Payroll

Introduction to Church Payroll

I challenge you to find a more difficult and frightening task for any church clerk/financial secretary to undertake then that of Payroll. I have seen the best of the best break under the weight of this task. Clergy often have very little choice but to go with the flow and hope the church doesn’t get called in by the IRS. So it’s with compassion on my fellow clergy and the scores of financial secretaries that are frightened to death that I submit the following.

First, please note that this should be thought of as experienced suggestions of things to consider regarding Payroll; I spent 27 years in ministry with half of those years as an administrative/executive pastor. I am also the co-founder of Church Office Online ( an online church management program.

Secondly, what you will find in this “How To” document are brief outlined directions with links to explore more, I will try to KISS (Keep It Simple Saint).

In-House or Out-Sourcing, that is the question

How do you choose between the two? You might already be at the point of decision, but before you take that leap of faith let me point out an important fact. Church boards, clergy and staff need to be educated on both options. More problems happen as a result of those who choose one over the other in an attempt to escape what they are unwilling to learn. I’m not suggesting you go back to college and take accounting, but what I am suggesting is that you put forth some effort to make sure that you’re making an intelligent decision. I would also suggest talking to those in your church who have a business and have had to deal with the general questions about payroll.

There are two directions In-House or Out-Sourcing for Payroll

In-House Payroll (i.e. Your Financial Secretary does the payroll)

Payroll Financial Secretary /Clerk Guidelines

  1. “Willing to do it” should not be the only qualification. (Remember you are putting your church and staff at risk).
  2. “Background Checks are a must” Don’t make me tell you one of my horror stories!
  3. “Proven knowledge of basic accounting must be required.”
  4. “Yearly Audit Review for the first year and every other year thereafter.”

Payroll Software

You would think that as a co-founder of a software company you would be expecting a sales pitch about now… not going to give you one. We decided that there was a vast quantity of great payroll software and services already out there.

Payroll Software is divided up into three categories:

  1. Desktop
    Pros: Most see it as a cheaper option initially.
    Cons: Most find out that new versions come at a cost and sadly they usually don’t come when you need it.
  2. Desktop w/Online Updating and Services
    Pros: It would seem that you have the best of both worlds
    Cons: Expensive Updates and new Versions, with great difficulty in maintaining system and browser compatibility.
  3. Online Software Service
    Pros: Accessibility from Home or Office
    Cons: Accessibility from Outside the Office

Out-Sourcing Payroll Services

  1. Local
    Pros: Local Support, Community Connection
    Cons: Generally More Costly
  2. Online
    Pros: Accessibility from Home or Office, Less Expensive
    Cons: Support not always easy to get through to


Church Office Online

1/24/2011 12:26:00 PM

Cloud Computing and the Church

Introduction to Cloud Computing

Let's say you're an administrative pastor in a new church. One of your responsibilities include making sure that all of the staff have the right hardware and software they need to do their jobs. Buying computers and purchasing software would be easy if it worked the way everyone thought it would. Soon you become overwhelmed with office networking issues, keeping up with constant required updates, downloads and spending more money for the latest and greatest versions.

There is now an alternative. Instead of installing a suite of software for each computer, you'd only have to have one service application. A Web-based service like Church Office Online is now taking the burden off the client and upon themselves to maintain compatibility and accessibility for a variety of systems and devices. Cloud Services can provide everything from e-mail, word processing programs and specific ministry applications for a church (i.e. Church Office Online). Software services offered in the cloud are termed "Software as a Service" or "SaaS", which basically means that you use the application without the worry of installation, maintenance or operating system.

Cloud computing takes the workload off your system or device. Your computer systems and mobile devices no longer have to do the more intensive processing that applications demand. The cloud consists of a vast array of computers/servers that handles them instead. Because the Cloud will do the heaver work it frees the end user/client to purchase lighter and more mobile devices that only needs to access the Web and wireless support devices like printers and other mobile devices.

Most of you have already used cloud computing and didn’t even know it. Do you have an e-mail account with Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo? If you have then you’ve experienced cloud computing.

So what does this mean for churches?

Greater mobility, with mobile web computer tools that will help you to know who you’re going to visit, where they live, and a host of ministry resources you have access to without confining you to your desk.

More time to minister by not having to maintain updates and downloads, and most programs are more user friendlier than desktop based versions.

Cloud based software services (SaaS) are generally less expensive than buying software licences, installing it yourself, maintaining it and of course purchasing the computing hardware to run it.

You have greater options to purchase devices and applications and spend less for them.

Some recommended Cloud software (SaaS)


Church Office Online

1/24/2011 12:25:00 PM

Video Tutorial - CMO Billing

This is a step by step church management tutorial that will guide you through managing your account subscription billing in Church Membership Online. This includes an overview of viewing your billing portal, which allows you to access all previous invoices, print invoices and manage billing account settings.

11/29/2010 5:39:00 PM

Video Tutorial - Contributions Tutorial

This is a step by step church management tutorial that will guide you through entering contributions in Church Membership Online.

11/29/2010 5:37:00 PM

Church Membership Online Active Records

A Tutorial On Member Types and How to Keep Your Account Accurate

When you signed up for a Church Membership Online Account through Church Office Online you selected what Account Level best suited your needs. For the purpose of this tutorial let’s say you selected a Level 3 with (1-275) active records. We use certain “Member Type” classifications in Individual records that you select to determine how many active records you have ( see picture below).

Member Type

Those “Member Types” that count toward your billing are...

Attender, Dependent, Member, Missionary, Non-Attending, Non-Voting Member, Pastor, Return Visitor, Staff, Uncertain and Voting Member.

Those which do NOT count toward your account are...

Archived and First Time Visitors

Note: Archived records are preferred over deletion in that you can un-Archive them at anytime. When you archive a record they will not come up in Contribution reports, so make a copy of the individual’s contribution report before archiving.

Member Type Dropdown

Thank you and please contact us if you have any further questions.

Mike Smith, CMO Ministry Support

11/29/2010 5:27:00 PM
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