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Like Magic: Church Management Tools That Just Work

“Any sufficiently-advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
–Arthur C. Clarke

Work at a tech company, attend a enough tech conferences, or hangout in a Bay Area Starbucks long enough, and it’s only a matter of time before someone references the quote above. It has become a staple of the tech community—right up there with “innovation” as a core value and a fridge full of La Croix.

I first heard this quote at a conference about five years ago, and—as much as I may want to roll my eyes at the whimsical, self-important language—it’s also tough to deny that the line between technology and magic seems to get fainter with each passing year.

Spotify knows exactly what song I want to hear next, Netflix gives better show recommendations than my best friend, Amazon buys things for me without being told, and Google Maps knows where I parked my car.

As machine learning and mobile technology continue to push the limits of personalization, perhaps you, like me, have found yourself staring at your phone in amazement and wondering aloud, “How did it know that?

If you happen to be standing next to a software engineer or TechCrunch enthusiast, you may be treated to an impromptu dissertation on data aggregation, neural networks, and predictive modeling. But, more commonly, whoever you’re with will shrug and say, “Who knows? It just works.

Technology Should Just Work

As mobile technology pervades more and more aspects of our personal, professional, and social lives, that simple phrase—“It just works”—has gone from being a passive observation to an active expectation.

Mobile-responsive websites, lightning-fast payment experiences, single sign-on with Google or Facebook—these are no longer “bonus” features. They are starting points. We expect the social platforms we use to remember us from one session to the next. We expect our e-commerce sites (and donation platforms) to save and securely store our payment info. We expect our technology to just work.

This expectation underlies each feature we build at Pushpay. Whether we’re adding dynamic content to our app home screens, using smart receipts to encourage recurring giving, or removing unnecessary fields from our giving experience, our goal is always the same: To ensure every interaction your community has with your church’s app or giving page is as pleasant and painless as the experiences they’ve come to expect from the mobile tech they use all day, every day.

More Engagement = Better Data

While much of our focus remains on building tools that will delight your community, we know that bookkeepers and financial administrators have expectations around how their systems will work as well. For them, “It just works” means intuitive reporting, fields that auto-populate, and front-end tools that communicate seamlessly with back-end databases.

For too long, churches have viewed the front-end/back-end decision as a tradeoff. They’ll either invest in upgrading their church management system or in improving their congregation-facing tools. But this shouldn’t be a tradeoff. It should be both!

Creating relevant, personal, and dynamic mobile experiences is only possible if you have relevant data about the people in your community. And the data in your ChMS is only valuable if you have congregation-facing tools that people actually use! After all, what good is a personalized mobile giving experience if no one knows it exists?

Investing in Integrations

Having helped over 7,000 churches implement the Pushpay platform, we’ve come to appreciate first-hand the importance of data in driving powerful experiences for end users. This is one of the reasons we’ve invested so heavily in partnerships with church management platforms (ChMS). In fact, we’ve built integrations and custom export options for nearly 20 different platforms.  

Rather than reinventing the wheel and trying to build everything ourselves, we prefer to partner with trusted providers who are already doing great things for churches. Helping churches “connect the dots” between their ChMS and Pushpay allows us to continue innovating in the areas where we excel (i.e., mobile giving and engagement), while also allowing our ChMS partners to focus on their strengths.

Working together, we’re able to provide a seamless—dare we say, magical—solution for our shared customers that (you guessed it) just works.

More Integrations to Come

While we’re excited to support as many different platforms as we do, we’re also not taking any breaks! In fact, just last month we launched an additional API integration with One Church Software, a modern and intuitive church management platform designed to help take your church to the next level. Check them out if you’re in the market!

We’re expecting to announce additional ChMS integrations in the months ahead, but we also know that it takes more than a database solution to run your church. Which is why we’re excited to announce that we’re in the final stages of wrapping up an integration with QuickBooks Online.

QuickBooks is by far our most frequently requested integration, and we’re looking forward to making the bookkeeping process even easier for the hundreds of churches who use QuickBooks each week. Stay tuned for more announcements about QuickBooks in the months ahead.
And check out our Partners page for a complete list of the platforms we already support. Don’t see your ChMS listed? We’d love to hear from you! Drop us an email at partners@pushpay.com and let us know which integration you’d like to see us tackle next.