Use Your Giving Data To Make Powerful Decisions

They say “knowledge is power,” right? While this is true, there is more to the equation here. Until knowledge is actually applied, then and only then, can you really make powerful decisions. And when it comes to your church finances, it’s important to make informed and wise decisions with every cent.

There are a lot of approaches by pastors in the area of finances. Some prefer to be hands-on, while others may run from knowing the nitty gritty details. For those who feel the desire to make a quick exit when the topic of finances is approached, it may be because they don’t feel they are equipped with the proper financial data to make the best decision for Godly stewardship.

Financial principles found in the Bible aren’t always easy to translate into practical application, the book of Excel or 2nd Quickbooks was never written. While the Divine direction provided in the Bible cannot be replaced in terms of conceptual value, it’s not the only resource available when practical application and day-to-day investing solutions are required for your finances.

Think about how humans process information when trying to make sense of any obstacle, not just related to money or financial resources. We collect data, right? Whether it’s first-hand data, or stories from friends describing an experience, we are always collecting some form of information and storing it for future use.

But, data is actually the lowest form of information, and by itself, is useless. Data is simply individual statements of truth. Where data finds it’s true spark is when it’s applied in the decision making process.

Once we apply the data, it’s transforms into information. With information in hand, we can start to see meaning in the individual facts. We are now developing knowledge. That is when we provide both meaning and context to points of data. Finally, at the pinnacle of knowing, we have gained the wisdom. Only in the wisdom phase, can we begin to apply the knowledge into future scenarios. If this process sounds familiar, it’s based on the DIKW pyramid.

While keeping a finger on the pulse of a church’s giving and expenses isn’t the most glamorous task, it’s one of the most essential. It is important to the future and overall well-being of your church. An easy way to track your giving data is in the giving dashboards provided by your aware3 app.

Giving Dashboards

The aware3 Giving Dashboard is a powerful way to gain valuable insight into the giving trends of your church. It provides a quick and easy view into key areas including:

  • Giving Totals: Total giving, by channel, for any date range.
  • Date Range Filter: Dynamically apply a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly filter to understand your results for a specific point in time.
  • Giving Type: Are your donors giving more via credit/debit or ACH?
    Funds: What funds have been the most successful?
  • Giving Channels: What giving channel do your donors prefer (e.g. web, mobile, text, etc.)?
  • One-time And Recurring Gifts: What percent of your total giving is recurring? Is your recurring giving increasing?

Providing Transparency Leads To Trust

Now that you have a clear picture of your church’s financial health through the giving dashboard, you are equipped to be transparent with your congregation. There’s no need share the financial details people don’t care about (i.e. how much is spent on cleaning supplies), but there shouldn’t be any secrets when people ask. Keeping people in the know of the general financial welfare of the church is critical. Use the giving dashboard to provide digestible pieces of financial information, easily. There’s no guessing, because the data is right in front of you.

This financial transparency is what leads to trust. When others trust your church they start to buy into the vision and mission. When people believe in something, they give. This generosity provides the monetary resources needed to continue to make valuable decisions for your church’s growth and financial future.

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Put aware3 to Work: Attendance is about Names, not just Numbers

Put aware3 to work.

We have ways to keep your mobile tools fresh in every season.

Attendance is about people not numbers.

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One of the most common challenges churches face is getting an idea of who is actually attending their services, and who may be slipping away. Once a weekend service grows, tracking attendance by names and faces, rather than just a headcount, can prove difficult.

Our attendance feature allows you to include some very useful information.

Date/Time Stamp: The attendance feature is organized in a report that provides when individuals click “check-in”. This allows you to know not only who is there, but also gain a perspective for which service they are attending!

Geo Fence: Last summer we made some enhancements that allow you to customize the layout of the attendance feature. Combine this with our Geo-Fence Push Notifications, and you’ll be able to capture real-time attendance!

Notes: By giving your members a place to add context to their attendance, you can begin to dive even deeper into their experience. Use the notes field to capture Prayer Requests, event feedback, or words of encouragement to the pastors.

Photos: Photos can be used to socially share people’s experiences at the church potluck, or even from worship gatherings. Reusing them on social media and websites allows potential visitors to gain a much richer perspective about what joining a Sunday service might actually be like.

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Put aware3 to Work: Creating Safe Online Environments for Youth

Put aware3 to work.

We have ways to keep your mobile tools fresh in every season.

The power of Chat.

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Teenagers. Just the mention of the word is enough to cause panic in even the most patient of parents. The teen years are a time when our children’s brains are developing at rapid rates and their identities are becoming not just an extension of their family, but something of their own choosing. The challenge is that in all this exploration, these not-yet-adults don’t always make the wisest of choices.

So what role can the church play in coming alongside parents of teenagers? One simple solution is to create safe chat messaging that is exclusively for the Youth Group. In your aware3 church App, you have the ability to offer group chat that gives the teens in your church a place to connect, without the fear of unwanted users joining.

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By marking messaging private it is no longer open for anyone to join, making it a protected online community. As new kids join the Youth Group, an Administrator can add their profile to the channel, allowing them access so they can connect socially with their new friends through the church’s app. Developing a safe place for teens to explore their questions can be an important part of their journey to adulthood. The complex issues facing this generation can create a struggle, but having the ability to chat in real-time can be a life-line as they figure things out.

Want even more ideas to put the power of Chat to work at your church? Check out our Support Article for additional tips and inspiration.

Existing customer? As you take a look around, we’re here for any questions big or small at support@aware3.com.

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How Much Time Are You Wasting Each Week?

Everyone is always looking for a way to maximize their time. Have you ever sat at your desk with your email open in one browser tab, about 10 other tabs also opened, and wonder what you were even working on in the first place? It’s very easy to do. Without a clear list of daily priorities, it’s hard to remember what you’ve accomplished during the day. According to the New York Post, the average worker could be wasting more than eight hours per work week on activities unrelated to the job. That’s an entire workday. Yikes.

Some time is eaten up by being off task or doing things like checking Facebook and chatting with co-workers. These human factors will never be fully eliminated, but the time that is most concerning is time wasted by bad process and inefficient systems. The saying “work smarter, not harder” sounds great in theory, but can be difficult deliver upon. These time wasters can be identified and reduced if we step back and evaluate our workflow.

By working in ministry, you are juggling various types of work, and it isn’t always clear what tasks should take priority. Do you pop in on one of the men’s small groups this week, or should you send follow up emails to the guests that attended on Sunday morning? Both tasks have huge value in a church, but when faced with a time crunch, which one should you choose?

If you are faced with a priorities dilemma, try asking a series of questions that usually reveal a clearer priority list:

  • Is this a recurring task or a one-off?
  • Are you the right person for this task or is someone else on the team better suited for the task?
  • How urgent is it and what are the consequences if not dealt with in a timely fashion?
  • How much time will it take?
  • How Important (tied to our mission) is this task?

And the last, and often most important, question:

  • Is this a task that can be automated?

Administrative duties such as guest follow up, church membership data management, prayer teams notes, or tracking small group attendance can seem draining. This is in part because they are tedious, recurring, and require consistent attention.

According to Executive Pastor Online’s Kevin Stone, “an organization can be boiled down to literally hundreds of individual and interdependent processes, but the key is to decide what the best method is to do something and to document it in a format that ensures the agreed upon method is followed every time. Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it?”

Does your organization have these processes in place and have they been properly communicated to pertinent staff or volunteers?

In the digital world we live in, opportunities for increased productivity and tools to help us get there are abounding. Have you considered what a church app can do in terms of increased productivity for your church? Good tools can help automate the tasks that eat much of the time staff are spending on administrative duties.

Digitally Consolidate Your Internal Processes With An App

  • Check-in: Track your people in real time by monitoring attendance for services and events. Members may input their info, take a photo, comment, and check-in all within an app. This will help streamline the tasks of people counting or crunching attendance numbers each week.
  • Calendar: Bring in events from any calendar and put them all in one place. People can also RSVP in the app, which saves a lot of time spent sending follow-up emails.
    Interactive Notes: Printing sermon notes on paper can be a huge task (and budget buster). Like a traditional paper outline, congregants may take notes in an app. This feature can function as a traditional sermon note outline or a small group discussion guide.
  • Chat: Chat is a live two-way communication channel. It’s a way for ministries and groups to connect in real-time, without having to manage multiple other chat apps, like GroupMe, Slack, or iMessage. With chat, your messages are all in one place.
  • Text Engagement: This feature provides a way for congregants to connect by texting a simple word to your church specific number. Text “Guest” for a digital connection card, text “Pray” to submit a prayer request, or text “Give” to exercise generosity. The best part? You aren’t tracking down multiple pieces of paper and trying to enter them all into your church management software. With text engagement, data is already saved digitally by having people use online forms for data gathering as opposed to paper.
  • Giving: Looking to attract attention and support for your next capital campaign? Help to create more context around your goals for these large generosity projects by telling the story of why you are doing what you are doing through the app. There is also an opportunity through the app to easily give digitally. Tracking your progress through the app is easy, too, with the help of giving dashboards.

Whatever processes, technology, and culture you build into your organization over the next 2-3 years will impact the next 5-10. Time truly is your most valuable asset. The core functions of nurturing and ministering to people can’t be done if your time is eaten up doing the ‘business’ of church. At aware3, we are passionate about helping you be the most impactful leader you can be, and for us, that begins by providing the tools to make your life easier and more efficient.

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Release Notes: February 2018

Notable features, bug fixes, performance enhancements and updates in this series of releases:

  • Giving is back to defaulting to $0, instead of a paltry $1 (AMP-2536, ∞ All Versions)
  • In the Push / Text Activity view, tagged messages now display the tag name (AMP-2506, ∞ All Versions)
  • App Administrators can now add single and multi-link features on their own (AMP-2505, ∞ All Versions)
  • On the App administration view, Giving edit links now jump directly to the Transactions view (AMP-2501, ∞ All Versions)
  • Future-dated gifts are now correctly not writing the initial gift template to Planning Center (AMP-2481, ∞ All Versions)
  • On the home page of the portal, the home giving total was including future-dated gifts, making the total too high (AMP-2463, ∞ All Versions)
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