Larger churches and ministries have found a need for church care management.
Much like a ChCMS (Church Content Management System), a digital church care management system would work in a similar fashion that your typical church membership database software does. The ability to add members, keep personal data up to date, a great way to organize your church membership data.
But what if you used a similar system for church care? For those in need; whether it be for physical, mental or any other type of professional help? Or a ministry that has a directory of preferred mental health professionals for those struggling with depression or addiction?
Is there an app for that?
Not exactly, but I think I may have found a creative solution.
CRM + Church Care
First, let me state, that if I am tackling this from a severe state of ignorance and I’ve made an error by way of my many Google searches, please say something! If that is the case, then perhaps I can help them with their SEO? 😉
Here’s my idea:
What if we used a CRM?
For those that don’t know, a CRM is a Customer Relations Management system. They are primarily used for managing a sales team to maximize sales and service. Although using a CRM isn’t an exact fit for Church care, it could be a great way to setup mentors, counselors and church leaders to help link church members with trained professionals; while keeping records and progress on those “in the system.”
This sounds a little cold at first blush, but when you’ve got a large member base—or you’ve gathered a robust directory of professional, trained help—this is the most efficient, error free and private way to insure no one goes uncared for!
By using a CRM to manage care-givers and care-receivers, what options are there?
Let’s take a look:
Zoho is known for providing a Google Apps alternative and their entire online app suite ties in nicely with their cloud based CRM. Setting the sales and marketing tools, Zoho has a nice contact management system. You won’t find the most robust features—although you don’t want robust marketing tools—but you will find it affordable. Plus, if you are already using Zoho for your online office apps, it’s certainly worth a look from an integration aspect.
Remember when you review each of these, they are branded and designed for sales and marketing. Try your best to focus on the functionalities you want to be using for Church care.
When it comes to Salesforce, focus on the customer service module. That’s essentially what a Church care system is—the care receivers being the customers. Salesforce is really slick and offers some extra features that could be interesting. Features include:
- Connects agents to customers through once console
- Create customer communities
- Multichannel (including social media)
- Create a knowledge base
- Agent collaboration
- Respond to social media channels from Salesforce
Just as we did before, you’ll want to focus on the CRM for support.
I really like Vtiger’s case management style, using a ticket management system. You can also create tickets from emails and notify team members and update records as changes occur. Plus, they give the option for self-service customer portals which could be an interesting feature for a Church care solution.
There is one feature that could be modified a bit. It’s the ability to manage items and contracts sold. What if ‘items’ and ‘contracts’ were Church care providers? This way, you can make sure you don’t over direct/burden one person or ministry.
Again, Vtiger impresses me with another feature, Project management:
“Ensure that account owners have visibility into customer projects by using Vtiger to build and track projects and details including budgets, milestones, tasks, and resource assignments. Vtiger’s document management systems and workflows also integrate seamlessly to allow for automatic notices and the attachment of files to project tasks.”
This could be used for groups, like a support group for pornography addiction or alcoholism.
Finally, you can create a FAQ, which would be good for your everyday Church care questions—i.e. I need help paying rent, I need help with my heat bill, do you have a food bank, etc…
Pricing: $12 per user, per month.
SugarCRM is one you may of heard of, and without sounding like a broken record, focus on the support CRM.
First off, SugarCRM keeps all customer activity history—and it’s all in one place. You can also gain insights rom digging into social media channels if you like.
The collaboration aspect of SugarCRM is what I really like:
“Deliver expert service backed by the power of the collective enterprise. Connect to and collaborate with experts in real time across the extended support and technical organization.”
I also like the case and defect management feature a lot:
“Deliver on your promises by logging and monitoring your customer cases centrally, allowing for a detailed history of customer requests and alerts as part of every account. Close the loop between engineering and support with integrated bug and case tools. Track the effectiveness of your case and issue handling including response time to ensure customer satisfaction.”
Like some of these other CRMs, you’ll also find a self-service portal, saving time and strain for basic Church care requests, so you can focus on the more intense cases.
BestNotes is revolutionary. It is one of the very few CRMs that includes an EHR. It’s designed to track health records, too.
- Easy Customization
- Out Of The Box Med/Clinical Forms
- Increase Communication Between Staff
- Manage Customer Relationships with Ease
- HIPAA complieant
- And a whole lot more!
This is one of the only database system CRM that is designed for health care.
During my CRM travels, I noticed that Vtiger mentioned an Open Source solution. It turns out that SugarCRM has an Open Source flavor for those of you interested in hosting your own! So, if you’ve got the tech team to back you up, this may be a great solution for your Church care database.
Until there is a solid Church care database solution, it looks like running a CRM is your best bet for maximizing your Church care management. Considering that every church functions so vastly different and offer vastly different things, it’s difficult to call out one CRM over another. If I were to pick, however, I think SugarCRM is an all-around good choice—especially when you consider the Open Source option.
Due to pricing, most CRMs will only be financially frugal for larger churches; however, it is the larger churches that generally need such a solution, anyway.
Most CRMs offer a free trial period. I highly recommend taking them up on their offers and trying two are three different systems before investing the time, money and personal in a CRM for Church care database management.