How to design great pieces, engage people, and store files like a pro.
Here at Parishsoft, we’re all about helping you find the tools you need to run your church. And we know that what we provide — church management and accounting software — is just a piece of the technology puzzle used to keep operations afloat. So, we’ve taken a look at some of our favorites, done a little research, and worked up a quick list of inexpensive (sometimes FREE!) technology tools that can help you with workflows around the office and in your ministries. Take a look at these tools for productivity, file storage, design, and engagement.
Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference. If you’re looking for a better way to keep yourself or your team on track and manage tasks, take a look at these productivity-boosting tools.
When it comes to managing tasks, we’re big fans of Flow. Flow is a web app that allows your team to organize, assign, and communicate on tasks. You can create workspaces, group tasks in projects, and automate recurring tasks. Flow also allows team members to re-assign, reschedule, comment on, and attach documents to tasks to allow for new developments or changes in workflows. Flow also has a chat system for quick conversations with team members. You can try Flow for free, and if you love it, subscriptions are based on team size and billed monthly or annually.
Do you ever wonder how much time a particular task consumes? Toggl is a web app that provides a start and stop timer and tracks the time you and your team spend on specific projects. Once time has been logged, you can view reports in order to make productivity-boosting decisions! A basic Toggl account with up to 5 team members is free, and you can upgrade for addition team members and features for a monthly or yearly rate.
The days of saving files locally on your computer are long gone. Keeping data in the cloud where you can access it from any of your devices and quickly share it with team members is crucial to efficient workflows.
Our team loves using Dropbox for quick and easy file sharing. Dropbox Pro or Dropbox for Business costs a modest subscription fee and has the tools and space you need for using Dropbox with a team. But Dropbox Basic is free and gives you 2 GB of space. You can always start out using free accounts and upgrade as needed.
Another option for file storage is Google Drive. The work module of Google Drive is available for a monthly cost per user, and the advantage is that it integrates with other Google applications.
Whether you have an experienced designer working for your church, a few simple tools and resources can go a long way in beautifying web and print communication materials.
Having a hard time creating quality flyers or designing a new banner for your website or Facebook page? Canva is a web-based software that allows you to easily create designs for print or the web. Many fonts, photos, and graphics are free, and premium assets can be purchased for $1.
If you’re looking for a repository of photos, graphics, videos, and audio to use at your church, take a look at CreationSwap. CreationSwap has resources specifically for churches to use. Some are free and some available for purchase. We think that CreationSwap can be a great resource for you, especially if you’re a smaller church on a tight budget or if you’ve got projects that need to get out the door quickly.
Our team’s favorite email marketing software is MailChimp. If you need a platform to create beautiful email communications, get reports and statistics over time, and keep track of subscribers and contacts, check them out. You can get started with a free account—good for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month—and upgrade to a paid account when you’ve grown your list or want access to some of their fancier features.
Whether you’re trying to wrangle multiple social media profiles, build a credible contact list, collect information from members, or connect with a live audience, finding the right engagement tools can make your job easier and help your church achieve its goals.
If your church is dabbling in multiple social media platforms, but you find that maintaining all your accounts and strategies is a bit daunting, consider a social media manager like Hootsuite. Hootsuite lets you manage multiple social media profiles from one dashboard, making it easier to engage multiple audiences. You can also view reports and analytics to see how well your social media efforts are performing. Hootsuite offers a free 30-day trial, and after that, subscriptions are charged at a monthly or yearly rate.
We’ve gotten great feedback using Poll Everywhere to engage our company during large staff meetings, and we think there are a lot of ways churches could use this simple polling system. Poll Everywhere allows you to pose a question and collect instant feedback from participants through text messages or through the web application (whichever each audience member prefers). Polls can be multiple choice or open ended, and you can easily display responses on a screen for participants to see in real-time. Pricing is based on usage and can be paid in a monthly or yearly subscription.
The Table is a mobile app that allows you to communicate with and engage members. Members can engage with each other and the church through sending out and responding to prayer requests, soliciting volunteers, live streaming sermons, interacting on discussion boards, and privately communicating with small groups. The Table is free, but you have to sign up to get on a waiting list for the next group release.
Wufoo is our favorite online form builder! It’s easy to use and a great tool for creating event registrations, surveys, and even processing payments. You can get started with a limited free account, and then upgrade to a monthly or yearly plan that fits your church’s needs.
What Tools Do You Love?
Let us know what tools you’re using to engage members or run your church office. We’d love to hear from you and share your top tools and tips with others!