Software can be a differentiator for a community of faith. There is the old adage that we need to 'work smarter, not harder', and this is what technology allows us to do.
Typical software that a church would have include:
Operating Software: This is the basic software that allows your computer to do basic functions.
Accounting Software: There is specialized software for bookkeeping and accounting.
Anti Virus Software: This is more and more important with all of the online activity and access to your information.
What Software Do You Need?
When thinking about what software that you are going invest in, you should answer the following questions:
1. What are the business functions that your computer needs to do?
What are the tasks that you and your team need to be able to do? List them and start thinking about what tasks might be able to take advantage of a software program.
2. Can one software provide more than one of these functions?
Software programs are now being created to perform multiple functions. For instance, a website might also be able to have an email database.
If you have a long list of functions that need to be performed, sometimes it is better to investigate programs that do more than one so that this information is integrated. For example, if you have an e-newsletter it might be interesting for the same program to track donations.
3. How many people need this?
Only the people that are performing a specific function need access to the programming that allows for this. For instance, you don't need an accounting software on everyone's computers.
4. How do you want to access this software?
- SaaS (Software as a service) is software that you pay a monthly or annual fee to have access to. It can be downloaded to your computer or it can be in the Cloud and the information can be held elsewhere on a server.
- Desktop is when you download or upload the software directly on to your computer. Oftentimes, this means that your computer is storing this program and the information in the program, which means that others don't have access to this information but it also means that this data is lost if something happens to the computer.
- Private network is when your entire (larger) network has a program that is providing a function for more than 1 computer.
5. What is available for a church?
Techsoup Canada provides discounts and donations from many software companies to nonprofits, charities, and communities of faith.
Nationally, The United Church of Canada has already saved over $200,000 on technology products through this program.
Examples of donated software include:
Microsoft Office and Microsoft 365
Accounting software such as QuickBooks
Contact Relationship Management and Fundraising Tools
Project Management Tools
Marketing and Design Tools
Google Non Profit including free Google AdWords, Business Solutions, and upgraded YouTube
Catalogue of Donated Software
If you want to see all of the categories, jump to the catalogue here.
Visit TechSoup Canada’s website to register and find out how the donations program works for faith-based organizations.