As God continues to grow His church, keeping track of a church’s attendees becomes increasingly important. In order to continue loving and caring for our members, following up on visitors and checking in on those we haven’t seen in a while, we need to ensure we are maintaining a membership database that is current, user-friendly and gives us the info we need.
This is where Elvanto comes in. Elvanto is one of many online Church Management Systems, and it’s a system I’ve had experience with over the last three years. In an attempt to assist churches in finding a church management system that suits them, this is a review of Elvanto, its strengths and weaknesses, and suggestions for how Elvanto can help churches better manage their member databases.
Elvanto is so much more than just a database. It’s a way of organising and accessing everyone who your church comes into contact with, as well as assisting with service planning, song storage, check-in, finances, form-building, events and more.
I love the flexibility of being able to include as many custom fields as I want for each person in our database, and generating reports is a breeze! With just a few clicks I can store and retrieve any info I need about our church’s members, filtering my reports to give exactly the details I’m after. The Form Builder makes for an easy way for our church to register for events and complete surveys, and Mailchimp and SMS integration has revolutionised the way we communicate to our members.
Our Worship Pastor loves being able to store and categorise songs, and our Membership and Welcoming Team can easily ensure no newcomers fall through the cracks through the use of People Flows.
Ensuring the safety of our children is made a lot easier by utilising Elvanto’s Check In/Check Out system and reporting, and changing or adding large amounts of data is easy thanks to Elvanto’s ability to import .CSV files straight from Excel.
There are so many useful, thought-through features in Elvanto that I didn’t even realise I needed until I started using them! It’s hard to think of anything negative to say about the system, it’s all so well integrated!
One of the few criticisms I have is the way Elvanto does services and volunteer scheduling. The way Elvanto organises services is somewhat confusing, and although Elvanto does support automated volunteer scheduling, the process is not as smooth and efficient as dedicated rostering software, such as SmartRoster. It would also be helpful if Elvanto could rework the calendar to automatically detect potential clashes and double-bookings.
The support section of Elvanto is comprehensive, with plenty of articles and tutorials to help you get started. I have also been continually impressed at the speed in which the support team respond to questions related to troubleshooting and general usage (although I’m yet to submit a request on a weekend so I’m not sure how fast weekend enquiries are answered).
Price-wise, it starts at AUD$33 (around US$24) per month for up to 99 adults in the system, and increases by about same amount for every additional 99 adults. Children are free, and you’re able to “archive” people who no longer attend your church without needing to delete them — archived people are not included in the total count.
Honestly, looking back, I’m not sure how we managed to “do church” pre-Elvanto. I use it almost everyday, and I’m constantly blown away by its flexibility, its almost-seamless operation and its ability to streamline our church’s operations and communication.
Although it may be a significant financial investment for some churches, in our experience, it’s well-worth the cost. The time (and angst) it will save your staff and volunteers far exceeds its dollar-value.
I’m still discovering new things that Elvanto is capable of, and we have no intention of moving away from Elvanto in the foreseeable future. I highly recommend Elvanto as a Church Management System worth investigating!