Churches aren’t typically impulsive when it comes to spending money. There’s usually a process in place and more than one person responsible for making purchasing decisions. But even after due diligence, churches still make decisions that they end up regretting—especially when it comes to investing in technology.
We put together some tech mistakes churches inevitably regret that you should avoid:
1. Going with the cheapest option
Because so many people are involved in the church purchasing process, there’s always a push to stay within budget by choosing the lowest-priced options. It’s a decision that will always come back to bite you.
Let’s say a church is buying a new mixer for their sound system. It feels like the prudent thing to do would be to save money by choosing the cheapest option. The problem is that lower-priced technology has to cut corners somewhere, and it’s usually in the components and connections. You end up investing in something that’ll cost you more in upkeep over time and has a shorter life span to boot.
Whether it’s hardware, software, or tech services, go high-end as often as possible—even if you have to throw a fundraiser to pay for it. And remember to plan for growth! Don’t invest in something that’s going to work for you tomorrow but will be obsolete if you have a growth spurt. It’s worth it to invest in a tool that will grow with you.
2. Choosing a different platform for every function
Sometimes churches recognize a need and invest in some kind of tech solution to take care of it. And because the various ministry teams don’t communicate well, the church ends up paying for multiple overlapping software services—when they might only need one or two. You have the worship team managing volunteers and worship through one management system, KidMin running on another, and your administrative office using something else entirely.
This happens for a couple of reasons:
- People are busy. When they’re learning the ropes of a new tool, they learn what they need in order to get the job done, and that’s typically all they see. If the software has applications that might benefit another team, they wouldn’t know it.
- Sometimes teams have no idea what tools other teams are using. There are churches using multiple church-management softwares, and they don’t even know it.
A lot of money could be saved if churches had a better handle on the services they’re already using. Ideally, this can be fixed by requiring the team leaders to report periodically on the tools they’re using. If you have a person responsible for tech, put them in charge of these systems. Give that person time to discover if there’s any functions that could apply elsewhere. Lastly, don’t be afraid to periodically shop around for other solutions that might be more cost-effective.
3. Waiting to invest until it’s absolutely necessary
It can be a mistake to invest in technology only when it’s essential and urgent. When you’re making decisions in crisis mode, you’re not always going to find the best or most cost-efficient choices. Worse than that, you might miss out on opportunities that will benefit you greatly.
Take mobile giving as an example. When you’re used to making purchases on an as-needed basis, you pass up opportunities that aren’t pressing. After all, taking offerings the old-fashioned way is working fine, right? But what if it isn’t—and you just don’t know it yet?
While older generations carry the brunt of churches’ financial loads, younger generations have stopped carrying cash or writing checks. This means that churches might not be feeling much of a pinch yet, but change is coming. As Millennials make up a larger and larger portion of our congregations, churches who haven’t given preference to mobile giving yet are going to find themselves in a critical situation. Others with the foresight to prioritize mobile giving before it becomes a crisis would not only mitigate future issues but likely experience an increase in giving today.
Waiting to invest in new technology until you have a pressing need or an emergency makes it difficult to take advantage of these opportunities. It’s good to have someone paying attention to the technologies that other churches or businesses are using that could give you an edge.
The right tools can make all the difference
Technology can be a huge boon for saving time, money, and manpower. If you put the right solutions to work for you, they can greatly increase your effectiveness and productivity—but doing this requires a proactive strategy. You want to get the most out of technological opportunities. You can’t do this if you’re not using what you have to it’s full potential. And you miss out on a lot if you’re waiting until the last minute to invest in new solutions (and then doing so in the most economical fashion possible).
If you’re curious what kind tools might be available for your church, we’ve put together a free ebook entitled Top 10 Tech Tools for Your Church. It will give you ideas for software solutions for your church finances, service prep, security, and more. Download your copy now!