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Tracking tool helps churches spot issues before they become problems

When the leadership at the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) of the United Methodist Church encountered problems gathering data from its churches, they turned to TrendSend for help.

TrendSend is an email and web-based system that gathers key data on organizational performance, generates trend reports and provides a platform for sharing information. With TrendSend, the churches have been able to report on key metrics such as weekly attendance and average plate offerings. More importantly, the data was now being gathered weekly, instead of annually.

“We have 7,000+ churches reporting data and providing accounts on what’s working and what’s not working in their churches,” says Scott Brewer, GCFA assistant general secretary for connectional relations. “The system has advanced the cause of communication, trust and accountability.”

The GCFA provides TrendSend to its conference as a service. The conference then uses the tool with its churches. In the past, the churches would provide performance data annually. But by then, any negative trend had turned into a major problem leaving fewer methods of remediation to address the issue.

GCFA started using TrendSend in July 2011. One of Brewer’s concerns was getting the churches to use the tool on a weekly basis. “What I’m really pleased about is once people use TrendSend, they’re not protesting. It’s easy to use and understand.”

In addition to being easy to use, TrendSend is providing the churches with information that’s important for them. The system provides a platform for sharing best practices that the churches are able to tap into. “We’ve always known the real challenge is to get back from the system the sorts of things that make it worth their time,” Brewer says. “People are using TrendSend not just because they’re being asked to do it, but because they’re getting benefits back.”

For more information on how organizations can track their important numbers, visit www.trendsendapp.com.

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