How to pick the right POS system for your church
These last two years during the time of COVID-19 have been extremely difficult for businesses everywhere. But it isn't just the retail and hospitality segments that have been hit hard. Among those hardest hit have been churches with attendance and tithing (donations/giving) diminishing due to the pandemic.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many churches have moved to online services, donations, and fundraisers, and although these changes have helped, many churches aren’t seeing their financial needs met compared to pre-COVID-19.
Maintaining a church and keeping the services running smoothly is a complicated task even without the added complications due to COVID-19. Church personnel and volunteers track membership, attendance, and the amount of tithing received each week. They prepare for and practice worship music, prepare and lead children’s church, and work the daily administrative tasks. Performing these functions manually can be arduous and time consuming.
So, how does a church adapt to the changing times in a COVID-19 world? One way is to invest in a church-specific point of sale (POS) system. Investing in church management software can improve the tracking of membership, tithing, and funding, while allowing your back office employees to work more efficiently.
Before we discuss how to pick the right POS system for your church, let’s first look at what a church POS system is.
What Is a Church POS system?
One important function of an effective church POS system is that it handles many of the bookkeeping tasks that are normally performed manually. One of the main reasons that churches should use a POS system is to accurately keep track of income and expenses, especially because the majority of a church’s revenue comes from the congregation giving each Sunday as opposed to selling products or services like with a traditional business. Not only does a church have to track the amount of revenue, but they also need to track the tithing per member because the church provides each member with a year-end amount of giving for tax reasons.
A church POS system provides members with online access to their giving history and information on upcoming events such as fundraisers, bible studies, and special outings. This not only keeps the congregation informed, but it also ensures everyone in the congregation is on the same page.
Now that we’ve discussed what a church POS system is, let’s look deeper at the benefits of a church POS system.
POS systems make giving easier
- During the pandemic, churches adapted their services to include online worship. However, without a system for online giving, they would most likely see their giving amounts decrease. And since monetary giving is for the most part the only income a church receives, if a person cannot attend a service in person, wants to worship online, or is ill and cannot attend service, having the ability to give online with a credit or debit card increases the opportunity for tithing.
- Church members are able to slot their donations into special categories such as missionary support or building funds instead of it all going into one general fund.
- Members can track their donations, so they readily know where they stand as far as their pledges go.
Gets a handle on retail and fundraising events
- A POS system improves your ability to raise funds by accepting credit and debit cards as payment. It can also keep track of your benefactors and even compare attendance from one year or one event to the next.
- If your church has a retail area, such as a coffee shop or bookstore, you can use a POS system for inventory management, pricing, selling products such as coffee, pastries, shirts, and mugs, and scheduling who will be tending to the retail area on what Sundays.
- Children attending children’s church can be checked in and out using a POS system. Parents can be completely at ease during the adult service knowing their children are safe and well taken care of.
Your back office will be organized
- A POS system keeps track of your membership, making it easier for you as the church leader to keep track of your congregation so you can periodically keep in contact with them to see how they’re doing and to let them know you care.
- Bookkeeping is easily controlled in one place, and keeping on top of income and expenses is more efficient.
- Volunteers can chart their availability online, completely automating their scheduling.
It could increase the size of your congregation
- By using visitor contact information, you can reach out to visitors with a welcome letter or email, inviting them for a return visit to your church.
- It’s not only about gaining new members, but also about retaining existing ones. Knowing your existing congregation gives you the ability to reach out ever so often to see how they’re doing, if they need anything, etc. Members of the congregation like to know that you as a church leader truly care about them and their families.
You can go green(er)
- If you are still printing your newsletters and programs, you can reduce costs and go green by offering email or online versions instead.
- Use social media to send the church service to your congregation’s living rooms as well as advertise events and fundraisers.
What should you look for in a POS system for your church?
Before you choose a system for your church, consider the functions that you need. In addition to being comprehensive, you will want a system that is easy to use. Members and staff must find it effective and user friendly.
In order to keep your members engaged and using the system, you want to invest in a system that can send both automated emails and texts for real-time information flow. Although technology can never replace in-person human communication, it is essential to expand your reach and get vital information and updates to those who need it as quickly as possible.
It must effectively track one-time and recurring tithing numbers by person and in aggregate. The entire tithing process should be easy to understand and manage. Your members should be able to look at their giving history at any time, and the system should accommodate credit and debit cards and other payment types such as Apple Pay.
You should be able to schedule functions and activities as well as manage volunteer availability. Your church members should be able to chart their own availability.
This management system should allow you to gather contact information from visitors and members, send texts or emails using that information, and update the member directory.
If you have retail functions, such as a thrift store or a coffee shop, the system should allow you to accept payments on multiple devices, such as an iPad or card reader, track inventory, and produce real-time financial data such as revenue, expenses, and cash flow.
Heartland helps nearly 1,000,000 entrepreneurs make and move money, manage employees and engage customers with human-centered technology solutions that allow them to rise above the daily grind and lead their businesses into a brighter future. Learn more at Heartland.us.