How to Use Bulk Emailing Services to Help Church Communications

What Is Bulk Emailing?

"Bulk Emailing Services allows you to send email messages, newsletters, invitations with attachments ranging from documents to pictures to as many email addresses you have. With a bulk email service it will use its program to create, format, test and send the email for you. It will also post the results as to how many received, opened, clicked through or unsubscribed to the email. It will also allow you to upload email list, identify undeliverable addresses and unsubscribe those who elect to do so.

Emailing an e-newsletter can drastically cut down on publications cost and increase collective involvement. Most Bulk Emailing Services allow for multiple user access. They are also template based with easy upload utilities for pictures. Because the templates are web based they have less problems with being emailed than converted published in-house to html documents.

How Does It Work?

Bulk Emailing is done using names and email addresses you upload with completed templates they provide. Most services use excel or access data base files for name and address import. The service gives you choices of pre-designed templates and you fill in the content. You can upload your art and pictures into your gallery which can be used now and for future emails. When you are finished with your completed email it will allow you to view it before you send it. Some services will show you the results your email received and compare it with the results from your last email sent.

What Can A Bulk Emailing Service Do for Your Church?

It can lower your cost of publications and increase your readability/communications. The cost of these programs are easy on the budget. One such program that our company recommends is Mail Chimp (check it out on the links below). They offer a fantastic price for non-profits who send out to less than 500 emails a month, FREE, last time I checked.

With a web-based template email program you can bring several individuals in on the construction of the e-newsletter. Because they can work from their home or coffee shop you can involve those who otherwise would not be able to.

Example Applications of a Bulk Email Service for Churches

  1. E-Newsletters
  2. E-Meeting Agendas
  3. E-Sermon Notes
  4. E-Registration Forms
  5. E-Event Invitations

Suggested Links

Bulk Emailing Services
Mail Chimp: http://www.mailchimp.com
Constant Contact: http://www.constantcontact.com


Thanks,

Church Office Online

10/3/2010 5:50:00 AM

Three Important Facts about Exporting Data from One Church Database Program to Another

FACT ONE: Most CMS programs will allow you to Export your data which can be imported into another CMS.

It’s now easier than ever to make a switch to a new church data base program. Most Church Membership Programs (CMS’s) now have a data export option which will allow you to save your data to an Excel or Data Base file. While the feature was intended to allow churches the opportunity to export data for mail merges or custom reports by using their Word or Excel processing programs, the opportunity also exist to export their data for import into a new CMS program.
As a partner in a CMS online service we knew that offering the export in our own program could make it easy for clients to switch but we were willing to forgo the negative due to the greater benefit that this feature provides for our clients.

FACT TWO: A Data Import Can Save You Valuable Time and Records

First let me explain what you need to understand about exporting data from one CMS and then importing it into another CMS.
Data Base programs in general use fields or cells to store data. Data is placed in a field or a cell in a column that has a name at the top of the column defining the type of data listed in the column. See below:


First Name Last Name
Mike Smith
Don Lewis
Stan Jones
Sue David

When a Data Export is performed the information you entered into your CMS is exported into a viewable document (most likely Excel). This document is also known as a spreadsheet. The information can be used in a number of ways: like mail merge letters or reports.
As mentioned before, you can use this exported data to switch over to another program if that program has a Data Import service or feature.
Your exported data is then matched up with like fields in your new CMS and then uploaded. This transfer or data import allows you to get up and running much faster than re-entering the data again for each person. Thus, saving you time in re entering the data.

FACT THREE: A Service Import Provides Better Data Import Results

We at Church Office Online use a “Service Import ” as opposed to a “Program Feature Import”. Simply defined: A Service Import is “we do it”, as opposed to a Program Feature Import where “you do it”.

The reason we chose providing it as a “Service Import” is twofold;

  1. We are experienced in Data Export and Import and can accomplish the service with ease and accuracy.

    A program feature places the task on the client who is not as informed about data export and import.
  2. As a service, we make sure the exported data in NOT corrupted and will cause no conflicts or errors when it is imported into your CMS and stored on our secure servers.

    A program feature export/import can and does corrupt CMS fields. It also puts at risk not only your data stored on the servers but the data of other clients as well.

Finally I would encourage you to consider the cost of the Import Service. The service can range from the low $40’s and on into the hundreds. However, because it is a one-time-fee you won’t be seeing it each month.


Mike Smith, CMO Ministry Support
Church Office Online

7/12/2010 2:00:00 AM

Free Microsoft Office For Churches

We have some exciting news for churches, Microsoft now has a free Office Suite available online!

Microsoft has created online versions of its most popular Office applications, including Microsoft Word online, Microsoft Excel online, Microsoft Powerpoint online and Microsoft OneNote online; all for FREE! Although the licensed versions of the software have a few more features, the basic Microsoft Office functionality is available for free. This also gives you the ability to edit existing Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents for free!


Free Microsoft Office Can Save Your Church Big Money

Microsoft Office is an essential application for getting work done. However, up until now using Microsoft Office has been a huge expense for churches. Now, with access to Microsoft Office Online for free, churches can save thousands of dollars in licensing!


How To Use Microsoft Office Online

  1. Go to http://office.live.com
  2. Sign in with your Windows Live ID account. (if you don't have one, can sign up for free).

Tell Other Churches

Please send a link to this page to pastors and church volunteers you know to spread the word, this is a huge cost savings for churches!


Thanks!
The Church Office Online Team

7/4/2010 7:58:00 AM

Great Ideas On How To Take Church Attendance

Having served as a pastor for 27 years in young and old churches, large and small, I understand the importance of taking attendance and the difficulty that goes with it. I can offer you several suggestions some will be easier to implement based on your attendance others on the age of your church. I have also included attachments of support materials, i.e. cards, list and links which you may use free with our permission.

  1. Card Pew Attendance

    Place cards in the pews that both visitors and attendees are instructed to place in the offering. Visitors fill out their contact information; Members fill out names of those in the household attending only or check a box for household attendance. (See Attachment Card 1)

  2. Group Attendance

    Divide up your congregation into groups (5-10 families per group). Have individuals or couples designated with the task of seeking out those individuals/families each service and record their attendance on a service attendance sheet. This method works great because it strengthens the church community.

  3. Drop Card Tree

    For your members, have cards (heavy card stock) made up for each family that list their names and address. Have them available in three or more areas in the foyer (punch-card holder racks work great). They simply pick up their card and place it in the attendance box in the foyer or place in the offering. This is very green as you are using the cards over and over.

  4. Name Badge Tree

    They simply pick up their name badge and at the end of the service they drop it in the badge return box at the door. They are picked up and marked off in CMO attendance and then placed back on the Badge Tree.

  5. Pew List Attendance

    Have a clip board in each pew that has a copy of your member’s names which they can check off and pass down their isle. Limit the list to one isle if at all possible as more isles will create a disruption. A designated person/s will collect the clip boards and record them online.
    (See Attachment 2)

Hi-Tech Attendance Solutions

  1. Computer Entry Attendance

    Some churches have placed laptops at various places in the foyer using the check box attendance in our program. This can be done by an attendant or not. Visitor cards would be recommended as it reduces both traffic and confusion. Some systems allow for touch screen entry.
    (See Attachment CMO Check List)


Thanks,

Church Office Online

5/24/2010 9:01:00 PM

Video Tutorial - 102 Getting Started

102 Getting Started With Church Membership Online

Tutorial for all users new to Church Membership Online: Ministries, Email, Attendance, Calendar and Reports.

3/28/2010 8:44:00 AM

Video Tutorial - ADMIN 101

Church Membership Online New Account Setup for Administrators

How to Edit Church Settings, Account Management, Add Users, Services, Development Categories, Contribution Categories, Custom Fields, Web Site Plug-Ins and Data Export.

3/28/2010 8:32:00 AM

Keeping Church Records Current Just Got Easier

Did you know that you have a new program to help keep your church records current?

It’s called Me.Churchmembershiponline.com (or Me.Church…).

In the high tech Internet world it is referred to as “Individual Member Access”.

Once logged into Me.Church… individuals can securely view or edit their contact information, i.e. name, address, email, phone, and household contact information. Changes will instantly update their records in Church Membership Online. They can also view their contributions and print a giving report for taxes and personal records.

Me.Church… is designed to be a no load to load reducing feature.

Administrators will not have to create the individual login and passwords as the program will do it for you. A tutorial can be viewed on the link below.

Visit your new program at: https://me.churchmembershiponline.com

*me.churchofficeonline.com is a feature of Church Membership Online, a service program of Church Office Online and provided free to all subscribers.


Thanks,

Church Office Online

3/5/2010 8:23:00 PM

Church Membership Online Update - New User Role & Reporting Features

We have updated Church Membership Online to include the following new features and enhancements.

  • New User Role "Pastor No Contributions - Admin". This allows users to be created in the Pastor role that don't have access to Contribution or Admin information & features.
  • New Individual Contributions Report & Household Contributions Report Category filter. These reports can now be filtered by a specific category.
  • Enhancements to Contribution report sorting & layout.

We hope the updates are useful.


Aaron

The Church Office Online Team

1/22/2010 11:19:00 PM

Is Taking Church Attendance Important?

I remember when my senior pastor said: “I’m not into numbers”. At first I understood it as a statement suggesting priority on spiritual growth over numerical. As a compliant and zealous youth pastor I took the statement and quickly put it into practice. No attendance was to be taken, no heads counted… no numbers, it was easy to apply. However, the problem came when the elders asked why my year end report contained no numbers but only general statements about growth.

Biblically: “Numbers” does not have the negative connotation that my fellow pastor asserted. If one looks into the Bible you will see a book named Numbers. My first read through it was like reading the parts list for a Boeing 747. It was hard for me to keep interested and awake. Later as an administrative pastor, one thing impressed me about Numbers was that they kept track of their people. They knew who, where and how many. The early church also kept track as recorded in Acts. Even Jesus’ parable of the 99 sheep represented the value of each individual to him. Jesus makes it a point to know the “who, where and how many”.

Professionally: Accountability is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of attendance. When we know the “who, where and how many” we become accountable to those who are represented by those numbers. If I take a van load of teens to Mexico on a short term mission trip and pay attention only to their growth experience and not notice that I went down with twenty and came back with nineteen; do you think the parents of the missing teen will not hold me accountable? As leaders we must be diligent to keep the attendance of those that God entrust to us.

Secondly, keeping track of the numbers should speak more to the leadership than the congregation. When I see an Individual not attending each Sunday, I don’t write a letter and ask “What’s your problem?” instead I ask, “What’s our expectation, is it Biblical and what are we doing ?” Other questions you can ask are: “Is their lack of attendance systematic of: no follow-up, ministry done poorly or a misfit ministry.”

I am thankful to our LORD for allowing me the opportunity to help churches in the care and growth of their church through the service of ChurchOfficeOnline.com. When we began development of the Church Membership Online Program we began with the conviction that attendance was not just an added feature but central to the program. Numbers do count when you are feeding and caring for the flock. The best way to know the "who, what and where' is to take individual attendance, doing so can lead to a healthier church.


Pastor Mike Smith, CMO Ministry Support

Church Office Online

1/14/2010 5:47:00 PM

Church Membership Online Update - Non-Deductible Contributions

We released a new version of Church Membership Online that includes a feature requested by our customers. You can now specify a Contribution Category as Non-Deductible for tax purposes. All existing contributions categories will be left as tax deductible by default.

To view this change:

  • Log into your Church Membership Online account
  • Go to the Admin section
  • Click on Contribution Categories
  • Notice that you now have the option of setting new and existing categories as "Non-Deductible"
  • This setting is reflected in the contribution related reports

We hope you enjoy the new features.

The Church Office Online Team

1/9/2010 5:10:00 AM
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