This past year Sacred Heart Parish of Conroe, Texas, celebrated their 100 Year Anniversary. Over the last century, the humble parish of 25 has blossomed into a vibrant community of over 6,500 families. But remaining at the heart of this thoroughly modern parish is Sacred Heart’s dedication to making known the glory of God through love and devoted service to each other and their neighbors.
The diverse parish family of Sacred Heart is enriched by an almost even distribution of Hispanic-American and Anglo-American members. Nearly 75% of parishioners are under the age of 60! Where some might see barriers, however, Sacred Heart’s size and language differences have only served to strengthen this big-hearted and fully alive community of faith.
Community ties were recently tested as devastation eddied around them in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Just a few miles away, Sacred Heart’s neighbors were forced to evacuate their homes amidst flooding. In response, the parish threw open its doors to offer shelter and aid. Parishioner response was so overwhelming, in fact, that they had to turn away volunteers and request that people stop bringing supplies!
The need to effectively reach and minister to their large and active flock empowers Sacred Heart to embrace technology. Social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), PowerPoint for church services, website, and print – not to mention a parish app to connect ministry groups – technology has become a critical part of parish infrastructure.
How Our Products Helped
Searching for a church management system that understood their Catholic faith, ministries, and could scale to meet the parish’s needs, lead Sacred Heart to choosing ConnectNow Family Suite, the web-based suite that includes ConnectNow Giving. ParishSOFT’s second-generation online giving solution delivered flexibility and adaptability that served Sacred Heart’s mission well in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Characteristic of Sacred Heart’s love in action, as soon as the parish was alerted that they could become a shelter for evacuees, they sprang into action. Through ConnectNow Giving they quickly created a special fund for hurricane relief and immediately began receiving donations, including from out-of-state donors!
According to Sacred Heart’s accounting and census specialist, Lourdes Adame, ConnectNow Giving, “Makes life easy!” She attributes the success of transitioning from their previous online giving system to ConnectNow Giving to their enthusiastic marketing efforts. Diligent advertising included letters; emails; and promotion on social media, the parish website and bulletins. Their hard work and dedication meant they were “ready” for Harvey – at least in terms of accepting needed relief donations. Building a successful online giving program is also paying off for the long-term.
Adame attests that ConnectNow Giving is slowly but surely being adopted by both English and Spanish-speaking parishioners. Not to mention they have already seen an increase in tithing, as parishioners continue to explore their giving options such as text-to-give, managed and scheduled giving, and more. She is especially excited to begin promoting the new ConnectNow Giving app, available for Apple and Android devices. (The Giving app is the latest convenience available from ConnectNow, a time saver for parishioners and parish staff alike that allows donors to give easily and safely from their mobile devices.).
Results, Return on Investment, and Future Plans
Not one to rest on their laurels, the parish would like to steadily add to the over 350 parishioners already supporting the parish through ConnectNow Giving. To promote adoption, Sacred Heart continues to market their program with bilingual bulletin advertisements and instructions, prominently displaying the ConnectNow Giving button, and providing detailed instructions with screenshots on the church website. Each initiative is part of ongoing efforts to keep ConnectNow Giving in the forefront of parishioner’s minds.
From a ConnectNow Giving administrator’s perspective, Adame speaks with fondness and enthusiasm of the many easy and accessible reporting options. She especially appreciates the dashboard diagrams and graphs that make giving data even more accessible and comprehensible. Likewise, she loves how simple ConnectNow Giving makes it to support parishioners who have opted for managed giving (a “you-do-it-for-me” option) and those who may have questions about their self-managed online giving account.
To parishes that may be nervous about getting started with ConnectNow Giving, or uncertain of how to begin, Adame offers words of encouragement, “I felt the same way. But it’s easy!” When asked if she would recommend ParishSOFT’s ConnectNow Giving to other parishes, she answered firmly, “Absolutely.”
It is an honor and a privilege to be able to partner with faith-filled parishes such as Sacred Heart. We appreciate your witness and are humbled to be able to serve and support your efforts to make known the goodness and love of God. May God bless the coming 100 years with peace and every blessing, thank you Sacred Heart!
ParishSOFT has helped thousands of parishes and dioceses implement ConnectNow solutions. For an analysis of your software and services needs, please call us at 866-930-4774 x7.