Cordova, TN-based Shelby Systems has been providing software to churches, parishes, denominational headquarters, independent ministries and development organizations since 1976. So, it stands to reason the company has adapted and expanded its ChMS — a term the software provider prefers to CMS, as it emphasizes the church aspect of its solutions — to meet the needs of its religious market clients.
- According to Colleen Hogue, marketing coordinator, three trends are top-of-mind among her clients right now:
A big emphasis on where data “lives.” As Hogue explains, many churches want their software hosted on-site — but, hosting data “in the cloud” is gaining quite a bit of popularity because of the ease of access that it provides. “Hosting data [this way] is actually a very secure operation, as well,” she points out.
- Accessibility via mobile devices and tablets. Hogue says more and more churches are looking for the ability to access their information from any location with an Internet connection. “Since [we] offer browser- and Web-based software, our users are able to log in to our software, Arena, from any device that’s Internet-accessible.”
- More efficient ways to manage outreach projects. To address the growing demand for better management of outreach projects, Shelby Systems has created a Missions module. It enables churches to accept online registrations, payments and contributions, as well as to scan passports and other important travel documents. “This module will … simplify [their missions trip] planning,” Hogue says.
While many ChMS programs come with standard membership management capabilities, Hogue contends that it’s more important to look for additional features that will meet the church’s unique needs several years down the road.
“Review your ministry’s five- to 10-year plan, and narrow down your software options even more,” she advises. “Remember that it must be able to keep up and assist your church with constant growth.
“If a [CMS provider] is only striving to keep up with other CMS companies, it might not have the ability to fully assist your church on its path of growth,” Hogue adds.