New Software Plan Can Help Local Churches Cut Costs

CHICAGO, IL (May 11, 2011) – Local Evangelical Covenant Church congregations and affiliated organizations report significant cost savings and better service with church-related software provided by Convergence 365, a company that is partnering with the denomination’s Office of Information Technology to provide high-quality solutions.

KICY AM-850 in Nome, Alaska, says the online giving tool is easier to use and the staff is able to process information more efficiently. Oakdale Covenant Church says it found the Convergence program cost $215,000 less than a competing proposal.

Solutions offered include developing and hosting easily maintained websites, online giving, event registration, data management, eMarketing, telephones, and Internet connectivity.

“The technology solutions being offered are designed to work together efficiently so churches can spend more time focusing on Christ’s calling,” says Joe Geary, director of information technology. He notes that even small churches can make use of newer technology was previously was beyond their financial reach.

The new partnership provides churches and organizations access to a variety of vendors and expertise. The company was created to provide a single point of contact for support and billing questions.

“Switching our online giving provider may be one of the smartest things we have ever done,” says Weidler, KICY AM-850 station manager. Previous efforts to create a system for accepting donations and credit cards and selling merchandise proved frustrating. “I couldn’t believe it was that difficult.”

He says it turns out getting that assistance isn’t difficult at all now. “With the help of Convergence 365, KICY was up and processing donations and payments within a few days.”

Donations have been far easier to process than with the previous system. “In the past, I had to process credit card donations and payments by using a touch-tone phone and entering all the data manually,” Weidler says. “Now, I just open my email and all of the transactions appear as they are processed. Their system provides simple, clear and timely record keeping.”

He says donors are finding the system much more user-friendly as well. “I have heard from many who have used the system, and they all mention how easy and ‘glitch-free’ it is.”

Darrell Griffin, pastor of Oakdale Covenant Church, says the expertise and cost-savings offered are making a huge difference for the large Southside Chicago congregation.

“There is so much software out there,” he says. “We didn’t know what was credible. We didn’t want to spend $10,000 on a system and find that it doesn’t work.”

After consulting with Geary, the church purchased all of the services offered and also worked through Convergence 365 to obtain hardware. The church was getting ready to sign a $300,000 contract with another company for software and hardware, Griffin says. Through Convergence 365, the church is paying $85,000 – a savings of $215,000.

The Evangelical Covenant Church of Alaska is finding the database solution provided is much easier to use and implementing the online giving has been “seamless,” says Sara Soles, office manager. The office also is using the Ministry Platform for the conference’s annual meeting and Pastor-Leader Retreat.

Ryan Seaburg, Convergence 365 president, says he hopes churches will make use of the website service. “There are a lot of churches that have no website – or they’re really bad. That’s the first thing people go to now when they’re considering a church. If the church doesn’t have a website, people probably won’t go there.”

Geary says the newly formed Convergence 365 team, with whom he has worked in the past on other projects, are passionate about helping the denomination serve Christ.

Seaburg has a separate business that provides technology solutions in the for-profit corporate sector. “I have a lot of good business opportunities, but none of the other things I’m doing have the residual value as this.”

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