Free/Inexpensive Digital Resources for your Church

digworldFor churches, there are a number of key tasks and inexpensive / free digital resources that can greatly help your ministry:

Websites

WordPress – WordPress.com – offers a free blogging service with many customizable options.  Wordpress is also standalone website/blog that can be installed on a hosting service like Hostmonster.  It is very easy to set up and customize. There are countless plugins and themes.  It is also very easy to integrate into any social media you may use, like Facebook.

Hostmonster – Many companies offer hosting of websites along with other web resources.  I like hostmonster.com.  They have a very inexpensive hosting packages from about $5.00/ month. The also offer:

  • unlimited emails with your domain name
  • easy install applications like wordpress
  • site builders
  • and quite a bit more

Finances

Wave Accounting – We have used a number of different products to track our finances.  I always suggest a commercial (not a church specialized) financial software solution.  I suggest getting an online version that allows multiple users access to realtime data.  That way your treasurer, accountant, and any admin persons can get to the important reports.  Quicken / Quickbooks has this for about $50 / month, depending on the package.  We have recently switched to a free online option called Wave Accounting my.waveapps.com .  It offers all of the important resources for free and for a small fee will even cover your payroll accounting.

Donor Tools – Churches need to keep track of all of their donors, pledges, and separate them by programs and funds.  www.donortools.com is a good inexpensive online solution.  They offer unlimited users, donations, smart tagging, donation splits and quickbooks integration.  It  allows donors to access their own accounts at any time to see their progress.  And it will electronically send out statements.

Eventbrite – Often we have classes, retreats, or other events that require registration.  www.Eventbrite.com  offers no cost registration for free events and for a fee, will take care of donations or paid events.  They have a very easy interface, multiple ticketing options, and allow multiple team members access to the account.  There are also apps for managing and checking in digital or printed tickets.  The pricing – 2.5%+.99 / ticket (eventbrite fees) + 3% (credit processing fees).

Communication

Google Phone – We have a google phone number as the church number.  It is free and lets us forward calls to others.  It has its own voicemail and apps.  It is easy to set up and yours forever.

Free Conference Calls – Sometimes you need to get in touch with a larger team via a conference call.  www.freeconference.com offer free conference call service.  You can set up the meetings online, send out email invites, and record the meetings.  It is very easy to use.

Google Video Conference – Google has a free video conference service that allows up to 6 connections at any time.  plus.google.com allows you to have video meetings share your desktop or work on collaborative documents pretty much anywhere people have internet.  (however many corporations restrict this).  You need to download an application on your computer or an app to use this.  The mobile app will work through wifi or your cellular network.  You can also call people on normal phone lines and invite them into the video conference as just a voice.

Google Docs – Google docs, drive.google.com is a huge free repository to store data and collaborate online.  They have spreadsheets, word-processing, presentation (like powerpoint), and forms.  You can share these documents or entire folder and file structures with individuals or groups.  I often integrate this with Google Groups in order to control access and easily track email conversations.

Mailpress – It is easy to integrate communication into your website especially if you are using a WordPress site.  One of the most important tools is Mailpress.  This is a plugin that will automatically email website updates or individual emails to different groups of people in your community.  We use it for news updates, prayer updates, Partner (members) emails and more.  The emails that are generated from posts on your blog are automatically linked back to your website.

Leave A Reply