Tyler H. Branche: Religiöse Einrichtungen Mitarbeiteranzahl: 11-50 Mitarbeiter
I was the XP at a church that used Planning Center. I went to another church that used one of their main competitors. After 18 months, we are on Planning Center. I'm much happier and the rest of the staff is much happier. I think that pretty well sums it up.
When we switched from our previous software to Planning Center, I worked with our staff to see how it was going. The responses I got were always akin to "well, it is frustrating learning a new system...but this is better than what we were on." Basically, in one or two days our staff was less frustrated with Planning Center than they were continually with a system we had been on for three years. As we've been on it longer, the frustrations have decreased and the benefit to our church has increased. Moving to Planning Center has been the best organizational choice we've made in a long time.
Oh, and it is about $100 (33%) cheaper each month. And that's on month-to-month vs an annual contract with the old guys. And when our online giving agreement runs out and we switch the Planning Center giving, we'll save another $200 or so a month. And their support is incredible, typically responding within an hour (vs 2 business days on the old platform).
To my understanding, Planning Center set out to make a great stand alone tool for Check Ins, a great tool for Registrations, a great tool for Giving, etc...to do this, they set up separate development teams for each module.
I understand this, having worked with some tools that started as a great online director or great giving tool or great event tool and tried to expand to do much more. The result is often complicated bloat.
I do think Planning Center's model largely avoided this because each thing has to stand on its own. In my estimation, I'd like to see some tweaks to certain modules, but overall each of them accomplishes what I need.
The one drawback to this, though, is that the tools don't integrate quite as tightly as I'd like. Everything talks back to their People module, but sometimes it would be good to have them talk to each other a little more. E.g., when we set up an event in Check In, we also have to go into the Calendar module to set up the event to request the room. This can be a bit of a hassle.
To be fair, it does seem like they are moving in this direction with new features, so hopefully their biggest weakness (to me) will continue to shrink!
But, again...this is minor compared to the frustrations I've had with other systems. I've been on ones that I hated even logging into because I knew I was going to get mad. I genuinely like using Planning Center.
Wesley H. Branche: Religiöse Einrichtungen Mitarbeiteranzahl: 2-10 Mitarbeiter
Planning Center has streamlined our ministry operations and has allowed us the freedom to operate in a way that helps grow smaller churches into larger ones without skipping a beat.
Planning Center Online (PCO) has been amazing for our church over these last several years. PCO Services gives us what we need to schedule and plan our Sunday services without any trouble. We love the templates that PCO allows us to set up in order to duplicate a service style easily. Easter and Christmas every year are a breeze with PCO Services. We also use PCO Giving, Check-In, People, and Groups as our foundation of running the behind the scenes of our ministry. The user interface (UI) of each module is similar and easy to use, understand, and follow. I tell pastors about PCO all the time. Especially the People account, which is Free!
I do wish that PCO would create an app for each of its modules, such as groups. It would be a little easier for a Small Group Leader to access all that PCO Groups has to offer without having to open a computer. Also, the cost of each module seems to be adding up quickly. A "small church" with a tight budget may be put off by the cost. However, I can say that it is worth every penny if that church is a planning church.
Michael H. Branche: Non-Profit-Organisation Management Mitarbeiteranzahl: 2-10 Mitarbeiter
Enjoy using this product. Although the simplicity does mean soome needed functionality isn't there, it's ease of use and reliability make it an excellent product and value! Can't beat their prices anywhere.
I like how Services and Music Stand work so well together. I also like the seamless integration with CCLI and Song Select. PC has done an excellent job developing integrations that actually seem as though they are part of the native app! Once you connect CCLI and Song Select, you actually don't know you're using them going forward. The same for Faithlife Proclaim.
Music Stand by Planning Center needs more core functionality. For example, you can't mark up the PDF chord sheets to save and recall later (as you can on Music Stand by Worship Extreme). This is a hassle. You also can't mark up the cord sheets and send them out to the band. They have to mark up their own cord sheets. While you can save the PDF chord sheets for each song, mark ups like highlighting and notes on the chord sheet have to marked up each and every time.
Antwort: Planning Center 15.1.2021
Hey Michael - Thanks for the review! Music Stand actually does come with the ability to save and recall personal annotations! Check out this article for more info on doing that and don't hesitate to reach out if you run into problems with that. https://pcomusicstand.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360000253707-Add-Annotations-to-Files
Karen N. Branche: Religiöse Einrichtungen Mitarbeiteranzahl: 11-50 Mitarbeiter
At this point, it is used in a minimal way, to lay out our order of service and schedule 2 ministry teams out of the 10+ teams that serve at each of our services.
Makes scheduling and organizing our order of service very simple for the administration team. When an item such as teaching changes from 30 minutes to 40 minutes, the modifications are easy to implement without having to recalculate the time of day from one item to the next. When that same item is moved someplace else in the order of service it's a simple drag and drop and all times for the service are automaticallly adjusted.
Not a great tool for our volunteers. The scheduling module is a little difficult to train volunteers to use. They all give it a shot but most revert to using excel spreadsheets. Report templates, unless you are an html programmer, aren't flexible enough to give me the layout I am looking for.
We tried to use it to check in our children but the unreliability of connecting and printing name tags caused huge delays, aggravated our parents and frustrated the volunteers. I am advised they have resolved that problem, however, due to their prior experience our children's church isn't willing to give it another chance.
Antwort: Planning Center 19.12.2018
Thanks for the review! Our support team is able to help you with some parts of coding those reports if you'd like to reach out to them for help, and give them an example of how you would like your report to look. They would also be able to give you some tips for making scheduling volunteers easier in Services.
Sorry to hear that hardware issues were keeping your Children's Ministry from using Check-Ins efficiently. If they're willing to give it a second chance in the future, we'll be glad to help troubleshoot those problems up front.
Verifizierter Rezensent Branche: Religiöse Einrichtungen Mitarbeiteranzahl: 11-50 Mitarbeiter
Around Services and Check ins, Planning Center has been exceptional with customer service and helping us sort through issues. Their tutorial videos are also great. We didn't have great luck with customer service around the financial module, hence the choice to go another direction with our overall database while continuing to use Services.
Planning Center Services automates really helpful admin and communication work and allows teams to learn and grow with all of the resources they need. From an administrator's perspective, the ability to schedule and view services in matrix mod and keep track of multiple teams of volunteers with various limitations and requests using the preferences and blackouts is easily worth the monthly cost. Services is the backbone of planning center, and there's good reason that it's the standard in mid-sized and larger churches. The interface is intuitive and easy for volunteer users to figure out, and they do a great job of continuing to innovate features and usability.
While the other modules across planning center have great integration, our church found that the finances side lacked necessary features, meaning we are now running a separate database/CRM while still running planning center services. We wanted to be able to add financial information (givings) into the database without the person entering the data seeing previous data - essentially the ability to enter data blindly. I suspect many other churches are running different databases as well as planning center services, and the multi-system approach isn't ideal, so it would be nice to have a more responsive development team as planning center's interface is generally well built and user friendly.