Religious Congregation Engagement and Management Tools

Goals

To inform the design and build of a new congregation management tool by providing a comprehensive landscape analysis of digital tools for religious congregation engagement and management. The analysis would include a list of such tools, a brief description, pricing model, and market position, as available.

Early Findings

Overview

  • Several options exist for synagogues/congregations to manage their information, such as using an accounting system, spreadsheets, or other software combinations. However, they are not optimal and can make it difficult for organizations to produce financial projections, access their data efficiently, and generate reports.
  • Synagogue management systems are developed to cater to "billing, communications, contributions, donations, and relationship tracking" relevant to synagogues.
  • Such systems allow congregations to engage members and streamline communication by facilitating event registrations, personal information updates, and payments.

Congregation Management and Engagement Systems

  • There are a limited number of vendors that offer solutions for synagogue management systems. Some existing tool providers include Chaverware, Congregation Connect, jManage, MM2000, Rakefet, and ShulCloud.

Chaverware

  • Chaverware 5 is a Windows-based management software that is suitable for congregation management and engagement. It has a web-based component and integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks and Peachtree.
  • Its web-based tool, ChaverWeb, provides congregation members with easy access to their personal information, including the option to review and edit through a secure internet log-in system.
  • Members can " look up their Yahrzeits, maintain their personal information, review and pay their account, make donations to your organization, register for events and religious school, all from the comfort of their home or office, resulting in increased fundraising and efficiency."
  • In addition to its integration with QuickBooks and Peachtree, Chaverware boasts integration with other standard programs, including "integrated credit card processing, simple mail merging with Microsoft Word, and simple mail merging with Microsoft Publisher."
  • Chaverware has several unique product features, including web connectivity, a dedicated support staff, a comprehensive and easy-to-use query system, and built-in modules.

Pricing

  • Chaverware has two pricing models - Chaverware Freedom Plans and Purchase Chaverware. The first option is a five-year commitment plan to support Chaverware. Members who choose this option receive Chaverware for free in exchange. Payments are made annually for three Freedom Plan options, including the Freedom Plan ($1,995), Freedom Plan Plus ($2,425), and Freedom Plan Premium ($3,200), each with a different range of benefits.
  • Chaverware also provides the option to purchase the software based on its Chaverware 5 Price List, including a free year of technical support. The synagogue price plan is $3,400 per year and $775/year for the Hebrew/Sunday school module. ChaverWeb costs $1.30 per family unit annually, and data conversion typically costs between $2,000-$3,500.

Marketing Position

  • Togetherwork acquired Chaverware in 2017. The company operates as an independent unit under Togetherwork.
  • "Chaverware will continue to develop its Chaverware and Chaverweb products, in addition to adding Congregation Connect to its product suite. This combination of products enables Chaverware to continue in its industry-leading role, providing synagogues with both installed and SaaS solutions on multiple technology platforms."

Research proposal:

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