Hello from the Church Office, and thank you to everyone who has welcomed me and helped me in my first three months as Church Administrator! I am very much enjoying being at First Parish, and I’ve been working hard to learn as quickly as possible so that I can keep the administrative end of things moving smoothly during the upcoming ministerial transition.
I’d like to take this chance to introduce Breeze, a new software program that we’re going to be using to help with organization and administration.
What is Breeze?
An online (cloud-based) database or “Church Management Software” designed for small and mid-sized churches.
What are we doing with Breeze?
To start, Breeze is replacing the current church directory. You will be able to log in and add or update your own (and your family’s) information. We can still produce printed/pdf directories (using the current information in Breeze) but it will also be available online to members.
Breeze has a lot of tools for working with groups of people – contacting, scheduling, and reminding them about events and tasks. Some committee chairs and members are already using some of those tools for committee work, and we can explore more options as we start working in Breeze more actively.
There are also event tools in Breeze, and RE is using some of them for tracking attendance and related tasks.
Finally, for the 2019-2020 pledge year, we’ll be doing some of our pledge management through Breeze. Once you have a Breeze account, you’ll be able to check your pledge and your recorded pledge payments.
What else can we do with Breeze?
The online directory is much more powerful and interactive than the paper list – you can send email or text messages from within Breeze, and search for people in a wide range of ways. The tagging system makes it possible to create formal and informal groups and use Breeze to contact those groups.
The events calendar can be used for scheduling, invitations, reminders, and tracking volunteers and attendance – and using those tools, Breeze can provide reports and statistics about events and attendance.
Besides simply tracking amounts pledged and paid, Breeze has tools available for making online payments or donations for one-time or recurring gifts – we don’t currently have those tools set up, but if there is interest, I will work with the relevant committees to get them working.
So, how can I get in to Breeze?
In the next few weeks, we’ll be sending out emails to everyone currently in the member database inviting them to set up a Breeze account and claim their profile. (Families can see and manage each other’s information.) If you just can’t wait to get started, visit this link and use the exact name and email address you list in the directory. (For security, it is only possible to create an account if you already have a profile within Breeze.)
Once you have an account, Breeze is available like any other online service – through the web browser on your computer or phone, or through Apple and Android apps for your phone or tablet.
Who can help me?
I (Allison) will be the main administrator for Breeze. I’m learning the system along with everyone else, so please be patient as we work through things together. Lauren Strauss is the original administrator, and has handled much of the Breeze setup so far, so she is currently the resident expert. There’s also excellent online support and introductory videos – the Member Tutorial Video can get you started.
Thank you again to everyone who has made me so welcome in my first months here, and I look forward to meeting (and re-meeting, and being entertained by) more people at the Talent Show next week. Please be warned I am extremelybad at learning names and faces, and forgive me if I forget that we’ve already met once (or several times) – it’s not personal!