ParishSOFT Case Study: The Diocese of Richmond

Executive Summary
The Diocese of Richmond comprises more than 140 parishes, 25 schools, and over 10 college campus ministry programs. With numerous locations to manage, centralizing data under a single database and with a reliable and secure platform was important. ConnectNow by ParishSOFT was chosen by the Diocese of Richmond because:

  • ConnectNow is designed specifically for the Catholic Church with the needs of diocesan leaders, parish staff, and parishioners in mind, while reducing the reporting workload for their employees.
  • ConnectNow is a time-tested web-based platform for all users that provides real-time collaboration with diocesan staff, pastors, business managers, bookkeepers, and ministry leaders.
  • ConnectNow is created for Catholic parishes and schools and delivers powerful fund accounting with diocesan-specific tools for financial consolidation, controls and on-demand reporting.
  • ConnectNow is a trusted source for complete and accurate census management that tracks data for every family, individual, sacrament, organization, staff member, and volunteer in the diocese.

Challenges
A centrally managed accounting system was key for the Diocese of Richmond. They needed to streamline reporting and implement a standard chart of accounts and certain controls for all their parishes, schools, and campus ministry sites. This task was challenging with their previous vendors. Without the ability to centralize data in one database, each individual parish was required to run separate time-consuming data exports and reports. Limited bookkeeping experience among staff at campus ministries resulted in the need for a reliable web-based solution that was easy to use and simple to learn.

Integration of census data across all parishes within the Diocese of Richmond was also a daunting task that they found difficult to manage. They had been managing a custom database at their offices to house general census information including staff, clergy, assignments, and history. However, because most parishes were using an application from another vendor and each had their own database, there was a significant amount of manual data reporting that parishes needed to do for the diocese. This was causing a substantial reporting workload for parishes and diocesan staff that needed to be alleviated.

How Our Products Helped
The leadership team at the Diocese of Richmond selected ParishSOFT due to our proven commitment to enhancing our web-based technology and ability to provide reliable solutions that were created to meet the unique challenges of the Catholic Church. ParishSOFT’s resolve and dedicated resources to developing the next generation of technology for the Catholic Church made the company stand out from competitors, who were not able to show that they would have viable web-based Catholic software for parishes and dioceses in the future. When comparing ParishSOFT’s single database, web-based solution to other outdated products – which forced parishes to maintain multiple databases and use older, nearly obsolete technology – the choice was clear, and ConnectNow was the answer.

According to Lynn Mooney, database developer at the Diocese of Richmond, when comparing ConnectNow to other options, our system was a better fit. “We took a look at other solutions, but they just weren’t as robust, and they weren’t tailored to address our needs in our diocese like ParishSOFT.  This online database solution was the best fit for the Diocese of Richmond.”

ConnectNow Accounting was selected by the diocese due to its unique ability to provide a web-based software with a single database with real-time data management for all organizations. This was critical to the diocese. They needed to have the ability to lock-down a chart of accounts and internal controls, while simultaneously centralizing reporting. Other vendors the diocese considered did not offer this type of single database setup, which was a differentiating factor that contributed to the selection of ParishSOFT.

The diocese also found ConnectNow Accounting to be affordable and easy to use. This ensured the Diocese of Richmond that they had selected a solution that met the unique challenges for Catholic parishes and dioceses now and in the future, protecting their financial investment in ConnectNow.

Similar to their accounting needs, ParishSOFT’s ConnectNow Census software offers the diocese a single database for all organizations and diocesan personnel. Additionally, ConnectNow Census empowers the Diocese of Richmond with the tools they need to properly manage staff positions and control administrative functions for all their users. ParishSOFT’s proven web-based software made it easy for them to find and contact the individuals they needed to reach and generate emails, letters, or reports quickly.

ConnectNow’s single-source records allow diocesan staff to see the same information as staff at the parish, so they can be confident that their information is always as accurate as possible. “The finance office wanted to have a better idea of how parishes are doing without waiting for the End of Year report,” according to Mooney. “Our old system was not cloud-based, and the data was not available as situations unfolded. ParishSOFT allows us to see what our parishes have instantaneously, as our yearly parish reports just weren’t timely enough.”

Further, ConnectNow Census provides a built-in IQ program for data mining, queries, and robust reporting that dioceses need to streamline workflows. As Mooney noted, “With our old software, our parish staff couldn’t do their own queries. ConnectNow IQ will allow them to do that. Currently, I do a lot of report writing, so I look forward to our parishes using ConnectNow, so I can get some hours back in my work week.”

Summary
ParishSOFT complements its powerful and proven product offering with services that make us not just a software company but a strategic technology partner. The Diocese of Richmond brought its own set of unique needs to the table, as well as policies and best practices that have enlightened ParishSOFT to new ways we can enhance our products to meet the ever-changing demands of their diocesan staff. The ParishSOFT diocesan specialists provided them a finely-tuned solution that included ConnectNow Accounting and Family Suite to meet their needs. We look forward to continuing to assist them in furthering the mission of the Catholic Church for many years.

Additional Information
ParishSOFT has helped dioceses implement ConnectNow solutions in thousands of churches and schools. For an analysis of your software and services needs, please call us at 866-930-4774 x6.

Download the Case Study of the Diocese of Richmond

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