New Feature - Absentee Tracking

We are pleased to announce the availability of an all new “Absentee Tracking” feature in Church Membership Online. We redesigned “Absentee Tracking” from the ground up based on your feedback to make the tool more comprehensive and useful.

Using the fully redesigned Absentee Tracking tool, you can quickly and easily identify individual(s) who have missed one or more services, events or meetings. You can target individuals by almost any filter criteria (member type, age category, ministry, gender, etc.) and view how many times they have been absent.

You can find the redesigned Absentee Tracking feature under the “Attendance” menu in Church Membership Online.

How to Use Absentee Tracking Video Tutorial

Click here to watch a video tutorial of our new Absentee Tracking feature.

Absentee Tracking Features

  • Find individuals who were absent from services, events or meetings
  • Specify a custom date range for tracking absentees
  • Define your own “absentee threshold”; for example to see individuals who have missed 3 or more services
  • Generate an absentee report with individual contact information to follow up
  • Create mailing labels for absent individuals

Other Enhancements

  • Notes can now be included on the “Contributions Report”
  • Notes can now be included on the “Contributions Batch Report”
  • Individuals with empty street addresses are now automatically excluded from mailing labels
  • Individual Access contributions now includes check number and notes information
 

Thanks

Church Office Online

11/5/2013 12:10:00 PM

New Ministry and Group Management Features

We are pleased to announce the release (availability) of new ministry and group management features in Church Membership Online. We have streamlined ministry and group creation and added powerful individual filtering functionality to make managing ministries and groups easier than ever before.

Streamlined Ministry and Group Management

Our new add / manage ministries and groups feature offers a number of improvements:

  • Easier to read interface

  • Powerful individual filtering

  • Quick selection of one or more individuals

  • Improved management of existing ministry or group members

Video Tutorial Click here to watch a video tutorial overview of the new features

Other Enhancements

  • Anonymous contributions entry provides better feedback when required fields aren’t selected

  • Bug fixes when adding event and meeting attendance

We hope you enjoy these new features and enhancements!


Thanks

Church Office Online

10/3/2013 12:05:00 AM

Church Data Entry Best Practices

For any church or non-profit organization new to Church Office Online (COO), the first step to building a useful, informational, and reliable data base is to establish consistent best practices for entering data. Each entry should be done exactly the same for each individual and family based on their unique characteristics, family structure, and member types.

Step One: Establish Goals and Guidelines

Each church must first decide what information and functionality they most wish to gain from their data and member tracking. Once these goals are established, member types, age/grade categories, ministries, and custom fields can be defined. Often a church will need to work with the information they have to determine exactly how they want to track it.

To provide the flexibility to change direction at a later time, all data should be entered in the same manner each time keeping in mind the ability you have with Church Office Online to mass edit and customize your information. This means every first time visitor would be entered exactly the same as all the other first time visitors and that all the information you gather is entered in the same format, using the same filters, or custom fields.

As a Church Office Online client and user, below are my recommendations for making sure your data is reliable and easily adapted as your church grows.


Step Two: Determine Your "Member Types"

COO has a set of default types for your use, but you can add any you would like to use. Below are the types we use. Defining each of these categories and then making sure each person entered is correctly labeled saves lots of headaches later.

“Member Types” can be managed under the “Admin” menu by selecting the "Manage Member Types" link.

Church Office Online Member Types


Step Three: Define How You Will Use "Age Categories"

Next, determine which “Age Categories” you will use. Because we use the “School Year/Grade” filter, we do not use many of the categories available. All our children infants to 5th grade are listed as “child.” We do use the “Middle School” and High School” so we can track our youth. This eliminates the need to keep updating this field as your children grow and move from grade to grade. When it is time to move your children up a grade, the “School Year/Grade” allows each category to be mass edited which makes it very quick to promote. We also use the “Adult” and “College” categories.

“Age Categories” cannot be edited, so you will need to determine how you will use the default categories for your church.


Step Four: Create Ministries and Groups

Define your ministries. In my church these include all our volunteer teams from Ushers to Kids Ministry workers. Our children’s ministry is Tots and Kids. I entered a separate ministry for each. This is the ministry heading for the actual children who attend. I have then created a heading for the adult volunteers in each of those areas. I then added another ministry for each team we have in our church. I also added a “Volunteer” ministry which includes all our volunteers from every ministry. This allows me to text or email all our volunteers with one click.

"Ministries and Groups" can be managed under the "Church" menu by selecting the "Manage Ministries and Groups" link.

Church Office Online Ministries and Groups


Step Five: Determine Your School Age / Grade Categories

Once you have your ministries established, then you can enter your preferred “Age/Grade” categories. We define this using the ages in each class for our younger children and then defined by grade for our elementary age children.

“School Years / Grades” can be managed under the “Admin” menu by selecting the "Manage School Years / Grades" link.

Church Office Online School Years and Grades


Step Six: Setup "Spiritual Development" Categories

Next, set up your “Spiritual Development” categories. This is also located under the “Admin” tab. We have set up Baptism, Volunteer Team, and if you offer membership classes, that could be included as well. Whatever your church uses to define the spiritual growth of its members can be entered in to this field.

“Spiritual Development” categories can be managed under the “Admin” menu by selecting the "Manage Categories" link.

Church Office Online Spiritual Development


Step Seven: Determine "Custom Fields"

Last, is to determine what other types of data you would like to maintain. We use this feature to track our background checks, how visitors learned about our church and many other pieces of information we find valuable to our church.

“Custom Fields” can be managed under the “Admin” menu by selecting the "Custom Fields" link.

Church Office Online Custom Fields

All of this information can be added it a later time, but it is good to be thinking about it as you enter your data.


Step Eight: Add Individuals and Households

You can add new individuals by selecting the "Add Inidividual" link under the "Church" menu.

Church Office Online Add Individual

  1. Begin data entry with the head of each household.

    Using the “Add Individual” feature is a very streamlined data entry process that enables you to enter individuals and add them to, or create, households on the fly. Entering families and singles in this manner allows you to add all the data, from which ministry they participate in to grade etc., all at the same time rather than having to save the household and then going back to each individual and adding the information. Even a single adolt shoold be entered this way and saved as a household.

  2. Enter the data for the head of household. Include as much data as you can to include home phone, cell phone, email address, etc. If you have already defined your ministries, spiritual development, etc., enter this data now as well. This data can be entered under the tabs at the bottom of the screen.

  3. Once you have entered as much data as you would like, check the box: "Create New Household"

    Individual last name, address and phone number information will be used to populate household name and contact information.

  4. Click "Save"

  5. If there are more family members to enter for this household, scroll down to “Add more individuals to this household" and check the box.

  6. Click "Save"

Continuing entering each individual in this household, entering as much data as possible and clicking save after each entry.

Repeat this for each household you enter. I have changed, modified, deleted, and edited numerous times to get my data set up the way it works best for us.

This has been made much easier by entering each person in the same manner each time. Be meticulous about how you enter your information. If you have volunteers helping with this, be sure they know exactly how you need the information entered. It is time-consuming but well worth it in the long run.


Guest post by Nancy Wall
Office Administrator - Next Level Church - Yorktown, VA

9/27/2013 9:03:00 PM

Batch Contributions Released

We are pleased to announce the release of batch contribution functionality. You can now manage batches of contributions in Church Membership Online. Batches promote strong accounting practices when dealing with donations and also make it easier to find entry mistakes.

What Are Contribution Batches?

A batch is a group of contributions. You can enter a total amount for the batch and then match the accumulated total of all of the contributions in the batch with the batch total. This enables you to determine the total amount for a batch of contributions using a calculator and then match the total of the contributions entered into your church management software to the batch total to make sure the data entry is accurate.


Benefits

  • Promotes solid accounting practices
  • Differentiate same day collections
  • Contributions data entry in multiple segments
  • Easy batch reporting
  • Find contribution data entry mistakes easier

Video Tutorial

A video is worth a thousand words... Click here to view our contribution batch video tutorial.


New Features

Church Membership Online has been updated with the following features to support batches.

  • Add, edit and delete batches. Found in the “Contributions” menu and under the “Manage Batches” link.
  • Batch selection while entering individual contributions.
  • Batch selection while entering envelope contributions.
  • Batch selection while entering anonymous contributions.
  • Running totals displayed while entering contributions.
  • Batch reporting. Found in the “Reports” menu and then under the “Contribution Batches” link.

Other Enhancements

  • New individual picture directory option when generating church directory.
  • Streamlined anonymous contributions entry and management interface.
  • Several bug fixes.

We hope you enjoy the new features!
Church Office Online

9/18/2013 12:48:00 AM

How to Use Church Office Online to Build Connections in Your Church

Get To Know The Features

First, become acquainted with how to use the following connection features in your Church Membership Online church management software.

Ministries

(also referred to as groups or small groups) This feature will allow you to add as many connection interest groups as you need. By adding them it will allow you to schedule, track, report and email and text your members.

Custom Fields

This feature will allow you to add text fields, date fields and value list fields which can be used to identify individual interest, skills, jobs, concerns, etc… and then produce a list (report) of those who share the same interest.

Mass Email with MailChimp

Use this great feature to create professional email newsletters on connection happenings, news and events.

Text Messaging

This quick notification tool can be used to send to the mobile phones of a connect group to remind them of the event or a change which is important for a successful turnout.

Individual Member Access & Directory Links

This feature empowers your members to maintain their own contact information, access their churches real-time calendar, connect with other members, and track their contributions


Involve Members Of Your Congregation

Second, promote the following features to your church members:

Individual Member Access

Church Office Online provides free brochures customized with your church name, address and contacts. The brochures are emailed to you and can be further customized. Run off Copy as many as you need and hand them out to your church members. Let your members know that emailing a person in the church is very easy, just click on the email address in the Individual Access Member Directory and it will bring up their email program.

Demonstrate to your church how easy it is to use Individual Access and how important it is to help the church have current information to connect with other members.

Text Message Notifications

Use Church Membership Online text messaging to send “connection alerts” for events aimed at members with a certain small group interest.

Connection Email Forwarding

Email forwarding is possible by clicking on a link at the bottom of each MailChimp newsletter “Forward to a Friend”.

Create a “Connection Central” Ministry

A "Connection Central" ministry is a connection team who creates post connection opportunities. Go to “Add a Ministry” in the “Church” menu of Church Membership Online add “Connection Central Team”. Invite people in your church who are good at building relationships and who want to join in the fun of helping people to connect. This team will be responsible to create, plan, provide and promote connection events.

Check back next week for a new article on how to build connection, family and community in Your church.


Mike Smith

Church Office Online - Church Management Software

9/2/2013 6:59:00 PM

School Years and Grades Released

We are pleased to announce the release of our new school years and grades features. You can now quickly and easily manage school years / grades for your church, assign individuals and promote children into new grades.

School Years and Grades Features

  • Default school years and grades provided
  • Customize school years and grades to meet your church’s needs
  • Assign school years and grades to individuals
  • Easily promote children from one grade to the next
  • Create school year and grade roster reports
  • Children’s ages are displayed along with their name on the individual record
  • Individuals can be filtered by school year / grade

Video Overview

Click here to check out a video overview of our new school years and grades features.

Other Enhancements

  • Fixed birthday selection issue when adding/editing households
  • MailChimp API sync now works immediately after entering API key

Thanks

Church Office Online

8/26/2013 11:26:00 PM
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