Planning Center People is a Church management software plus other helpful stuff. I’ve really come to appreciate this piece of software after using it for about a year and a half.

What is Planning Center People

planing center people 1This is an Internet, or cloud-based, system. It is not installed on a server that you host yourself. This part of the software proves good and bad, because if your internet goes down, the whole thing goes down. Literally. Two Sundays in the Spring of 2016, Planning Center Online (parent company) had server issues that messed up our usage. Another instance was that one weekend our ISP was down during one of our services, messing that up. 

Although being cloud based can prove problematic, it can also be advantageous. Any sized church can afford Planning Center People becuase they don’t need a pricey server to run it. I’ll talk more about the pricing tiers in a moment, but what I mean is that you don’t have to have a physical machine on your campus that someone maintains and upgrades, etc, to keep the software going. All of that is done by the company. You never have to upgrade to a new version or anything, new features are just added when the team has them ready. It also means that I can access my church’s database from home or on the road, without having a fancy VPN network setup.

Planning Center People Pricing

planning center people 2Starts at – Free. You can use the basic stuff for free! Planning Center People is basically a great free database for your church to store information on members, and guests, so that you can stay in touch with them with minimal headaches. 

Our Church adds on several services that do cost money. All of the add-on services make use of the basic database found in Planning Center People. For example, PCO Giving tracks donations and integrates with your database in Planning Center People. PCO Check-ins allows our children’s ministry to quickly check in 60 kids in the 10min turnover period between services. That check-in information is also kept with the information in Planning Center People. You get the picture now, all of the add-on stuff builds upon the database in Planning Center People.

Planning Center People Value

It’s hard to argue with free, right? But, it gets really valuable when you use the other apps to handle stuff at church. We use several: Check-ins for tracking attendance, Giving for tracking donations, Registrations to handle online sign-ups, and Services to schedule our Worship and Media Teams. 

How I Use Planning Center People

I use it to create custom lists. If I want to know who at our church is not a member, but has attended more than 6 times in the past year, and donated money, I can easily sort that information and produce a custom list of people who fit that criteria. It’s pretty helpful!

planning center people 3I also use the software to create and use what they call “workflows.” These are little systems that you build that have multiple steps. I’ve got several set up, for example, my membership workflow. First I put the person into the workflow. The first “step” is to contact them and set up a membership meeting. When I do that, I move them to the next step, the meeting. I can make notes about those conversations within the app, and then send the person to the next step. Our final step is that they are presented in a worship service. Once that happens I mark that step as completed and the people are moved into a group who has completed the workflow. All of the note that I made along the way are saved so I can review them in the future.

 

Conclusion

I really like this software. The only qualm I have is that sometimes features feel overlooked. At first you had to manually search for duplicate entries and manually merge them. Now they have created a feature to take care of this, but it took a while. Also, the Registrations system did not integrate the people over into the Check-ins System for class assignments last summer during VBS. Those things are minor headaches, but they are cause for concern.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *