Five ways FellowshipOne’s online giving can make a big impact

moneyA Church Management System (ChMS) can make a big change to how you work and operate in your church. Not just for staff, but also for the church community, and one of those ways is how individuals can contribute financially to the church.

Recently cloud based ChMS provider FellowshipOne announced via their blog, some changes to the way churches can receive contributions via their online portal. I won’t repeat what they’ve said, you can read about it on their blog (go ahead, go read it, I’ll still be here when you get back). In summary, you can now direct people to a “Give Now” link, without them needing to have an account on your system. I believe this small change alone, can have a significant impact on how churches and ministries can receive and collect finances. The other change that they have introduced, is that the web portal is now finally (in part) mobile friendly. Here are the 5 ways I believe these two small changes can have a significant impact.

1. Kiosk giving

Many churches have PC or tablet based information kiosks in their foyers. You can now integrate a link on the kiosk for people to give. No logon required

2. Information leaflet

Got a leaflet or info card for a ministry or program that you would like people to give to? Include a link that will take them right there. Use bit.ly (or similar) to create a simplified link, or use a QR code for mobile giving

3. Platform appeal

Whether it’s a specific appeal, or your general offering, as the offering plates are being passed around your anchor can announce that people can also give online “right now”. At this point you could display the URL or QR code on screen

4. Mobile giving and QR codes

QR codes deserve their own post, but briefly, put QR codes on your printed material, and a big QR code on your video screens for people to scan with their smartphones that will take them directly to the giving page. A good way to create a QR code is to use bit.ly so that you can track metrics. More info here

5. Public giving

Some of your programs or ministries may have interest to people beyond your church walls. Maybe an appeal for a natural disaster? Create a link on your website for members of the general public to be able to donate

So, what do you think? How do you currently use IT, and how can IT be utilised to help people contribute towards the mission of your church?

Church IT Australia TV

It’s coming soon(ish) CITA-TV!
The idea is not just to communicate church related IT&C things, but also show you how easy and low-tech creating video can be. You don’t need to have that nice new shiny Mac Pro and Blackmagic camera (as great as they are). You can do it with things that you (probably) already have.

Bye bye XP

xp

If you haven’t caught up yet (and really there is no excuse for this), Microsoft dropped support for Windows XP last week. While this may disappoint some it should come as no surprise. Released in 2001, and with several versions of Windows being released since (Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1), Windows XP is now over 12 years old. Just how long did you think Microsoft were going to keep on supporting it?

The problem for many churches (especially those with congregations 200 and under) is that many of them are running their offices on donated hardware and software, and in many cases that means Windows XP. As Microsoft themselves point out, XP will continue to work just as it is, but they are no longer releasing updates or security fixes for it. If you use Microsoft’s free anti-virus solution, Security Essentials, that too will no longer be getting any new virus definition updates. In sort, the longer you continue to use Windows XP past it’s “best before” date, the risk of a virus or malware infection increases (read more here from Microsoft).

So what to do?…

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Office for iPad

Ofc_Orng166_rgb

This is a super-quick post…

In case you haven’t heard, in the early hours of this morning (Aussie time) Microsoft’s new CEO Satya Nadella announced the availability of Office (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) for iPad. There were a whole bunch of other announcements, such as their Enterprise Mobility suite. You can view the whole announcement here http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/press/2014/mar14/03-27webcast.aspx

Office for iPad joins Office for iPhone, Android and, of course, Windows Phone. OneNote for iPad has also been updated and adds to the growing number of enterprise productivity apps available from Microsoft for the iOS platform, including OneDrive for Business, OWA and Lync, in addition to their consumer focused apps, OneDrive and Skype.

The one “gotcha” with Office for iPad is that it’s really Office 365. While the apps can be used without registration for document viewing, they only really come alive with an Office 365 subscription (either personal or business). I’ve been playing a little bit this morning with Word (thanks to a complimentary Office 365 subscription I got last year), and I can tell you that it works brilliantly. Churches big and small should seriously look at this option as a real alternative to notebook PCs.

Or just get the new apps

What is church IT? – Part 1

What is church ITA question not asked often enough in churches, be they big or small, is “What is church IT?” At first run, you may think that the answer is self evident. Most of us, though various work experiences, have a good handle on how IT looks in most corporate organisations, so we reasonably view it in the same context, just with the organisation being the church. While partly correct, we do ourselves, our church, and the ministry to which Jesus calls all of us, an injustice by limiting it to that context alone. In this series I will share my thoughts and experiences as to what church IT is. In sharing these thoughts I need to say that I don’t have all the answers myself .Hopefully these posts will spark discussion and you will find the best answer that suites your ministry and your church.

The series will be broken up as follows:

  • Part 1: Providing a service
  • Part 2: Servicing the staff
  • Part 3: Servicing the church
  • Part 4: Servicing the mission

And so, on to part 1…

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Megachurch Miscellany

We live in a technology driven age and for those of us with experience in church IT or media/production we don’t give it a second thought sometimes. But for those who turn up and sit in the pews every week, what is our use of technology saying? We need to come back to the “why do we do it?” question. If our answer isn’t a clear “to make disciples”, then maybe we need to rethink our usage habits. On the flip side, if we fail to engage people because of fear of using technology, then we need to rethink that too. It’s not about if we do or don’t, but how we best utilise the technology at our disposal.

Thinking Out Loud

Lighthouse Church Florida at Church Stage Design Ideas

So on Saturday night we made a return visit to a large (redundant adjective) megachurch west of Toronto.  Here’s a few things that stand out after several days…

What do the colors mean?

A family of five had sat down just a few rows in front of us. When you’re visiting, you just assume everyone else is a regular attender. But after the service, the man approached an usher and asked, “What do the colors mean?”

It’s a standard feature of today’s modern church that as much or more will be spent on lighting as will be spent on sound. In this auditorium, LED panels on the stage are complemented by LED ‘pots’ on the walls; so the entire room changes from green, to blue, to yellow, to red — all at the same time — with a new color for each song.

The problem is, that in Anglican or…

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Using Social Media Well

Social media is becoming a big challenge to how churches adopt and use technology. Check out this list of dos and don’ts from Pastor Gavin Brown

Free Radical Gav

SOCIAL MEDIA use is becoming more and more prevalent, consuming more of our time, attention, and headspace than ever before. I figure this is nothing new to you, because for starters you probably followed a link I posted on Facebook to read this! Nevertheless, with so many of our youth online, social media is an excellent tool for us as youth leaders to use, but like all tools, it can be dangerous if handled incorrectly. So here are some helpful things to EMBRACE and AVOID when it comes to using social media as a youth leader.

LikeTHINGS TO EMBRACE

  1. Have online messaging conversations with your youth. Often youth can find it to be a non-confrontational way of having a conversation, especially given there can be a chosen delay when responding to messages. Keep in mind that they can also be a little more reserved with what they share, but it’s…

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Changing the world… with a T-shirt

F1 T-Shirt

The T-shirt above came to me via my Senior Pastor. He received it from a Church Management System (ChMS) vendor whos system we had recently rolled-out church-wide. He passed it on to me for obvious reasons (that being my key role in the roll-out). For those who cannot make out what it says, it reads: Changing the world by changing the church world. The other day while getting the washing off the clothes-line I saw it and pondered what that meant, and thus inspiration struck (and thanks to my ever-present smartphone the picture was taken).

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Answering the 5 trends of 2014

2014 grass

Over on his blog Carey Nieuwhof did a great post back in December titled “5 Trends you won’t be able to dismiss in 2014” (please go read it now). Rather than try to make my own predictions, I thought we would have a look at those five trends and suggest some ways that technology might be able to assist the church in meeting the challenge of the opportunities for ministry that they provide.

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Building the bike

Photo from stock.xchng http://www.sxc.hu/photo/777332

As the New Year begins, it is a good time to remember what it is that we do, and why we do it. With that in mind, I am reminded of a particular staff retreat I attended at the start of the year some years back (2010 I think). As you do at these kinds of events, the afternoon was dedicated to a team building exercise.

Here is how it went…

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