Tag Archives: communication

3 Essential Rules for Churches using Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, Google + and other social media platforms are great ways for churches to communicate with members, organize events, and attract new visitors. Although social media is convenient and fun, it can also have a dark side. Following these rules can help keep social media safe and enjoyable for all.

1. Be smart about what you say

As the saying goes, common sense isn’t always common practice. The purpose of social media is to communicate with and inform your network, but make sure you do so tastefully and without revealing too much information. For instance, avoid advertising the location (or future location) of minors. It is safer to say something after the fact.

Instead of posting this: The annual youth group lock-in will be at the local YMCA on Saturday night from 9 pm to 8 am – see you there!

Post this: The youth group had a great time at the annual lock-in last weekend. Thank you to everyone who participated!

Also make sure you also have permission when posting prayer requests – some people may not want personal matters shared online. If you do get permission, keep in mind that some situations are extremely sensitive and every little detail does not necessarily need to be shared.

Instead of posting this: Please pray for Susan – she is driving out of state this weekend to care for her mother who is experiencing post operative complications after her rhinoplasty.

Post this: Please pray for Susan – she is traveling this weekend to visit her mother.

Speaking of permission – verify the material isn’t copyrighted when posting things that are not your own (e.g. professional directory photos, clip art, videos, articles). Share a link to a video instead of embedding it on the church’s website or share a link to an article instead of copying and pasting it in a blog post.

Only post content that is appropriate for all audiences. You probably already refrain from posting offensive content but also make sure your posts are relevant and meaningful to everyone visiting the site (i.e. referring to an inside joke can alienate those who don’t know the story behind the humor.)

2. Monitor social media accounts regularly

Assign church staff or volunteers to monitor posts and delete any inappropriate content. Giving more than one person access to the accounts is a smart idea; that way if your social media person goes on vacation or leaves the accounts will still be updated and accessible. As insurance, post a disclaimer (just do a Google search for ‘Social Media Disclaimer’ if you need some examples.) You can’t control what others say, but most social media platforms allow you to block repeat offenders who continue to post offensive items.

3. Learn how to change security settings

Remember that social media pages can serve as a first impression to people outside of the church. Although content such as pictures, videos, etc. should be private, make sure some of the information is public so others can learn about the church and its mission. To use Facebook as an example, the church could have a public Fan Page with posts for everyone to see and also have a private group for members to share pictures, videos, and prayer requests. Read our previous post about Facebook to get instructions for creating a closed or secret group and other useful tips.


Here is a Quick Tip that is Helping Churches Increase Contributions

It is common knowledge in the business world that customer retention is much more cost-effective than trying to acquire new customers. The same is true for churches and other nonprofit organizations. Although it is important to attract new members so the church can grow, it is equally (if not more) important to keep the members you already have.

We are coming up on the end of year, which means it is time for churches to send out contribution statements and start focusing on the year ahead. Here is a simple yet effective way to encourage people to donate again next year:

Include a sincere thank you letter with contribution statements.

Recognition and appreciation help motivate people to contribute again. In addition to giving them credit for helping the church accomplish its mission, explain how the gift was used so they can see how they fit into the overall picture. Skipping an evening out and donating the money seems like much less of a sacrifice when they know the donation will help feed hungry children at the local shelter. Also, make sure to share the church’s vision and goals for the upcoming year.

If there are people who didn’t fulfill this year’s pledges or just haven’t donated for a while, check in to see if they are okay and ask when they are coming back. They may be having personal problems (e.g. financial hardship, health concerns, loss of a loved one.) Reaching out lets people know you truly value their relationship with the church and can be a source of comfort during difficult times (i.e. just knowing someone cares and noticed they were gone creates a warm fuzzy feeling.) Sometimes people stop donating because they don’t feel it is making a difference. Let them know how their past donations helped and tell them they are missed – they might just come back.

Want to know the best part?

This is probably one of the cheapest, easiest marketing initiatives ever. The church is already sending out contribution statements, so there is no extra cost* and you already have the readers’ attention. Make the most of it and take a few minutes to draft a genuine thank you letter – it could make a huge difference.

*Save money on postage by sending contribution statements via email. For more information or to register for a free trial, please visit www.iconcmo.com.


Church Software Jargon: Universal App

Definition of Universal Application:

A Universal app is optimized to run on all iOS devices. It’s essentially an iPhone app and an iPad app built as one. (Although iPhone apps can be accessed on the iPad, they tend to be blown-up and distorted.) A Universal app can automatically determine which device it’s running on and provide the best experience for that device. Universal apps can be identified by a “+” symbol next to the price. (Apple)

You can share your apps for free — legally!

Since Italic Software designed IconCMO Lite as a Universal app, one license will cover all of your iOS devices. Not only does the Universal app work on both your iPhone and iPad, but if you purchased an app, you can legally download it on multiple computers and even share with your family without paying for it again. (But if you really want to pay for the app multiple times we won’t stop you!)

Do you own more than one iOS device? Read this:

These steps will work for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch – but for demonstration purposes we will say you purchased IconCMO Lite for your iPhone and also want to install the app on your iPad.

  1. Make sure you are logged into the App Store on your iPad with the same Apple ID (i.e. iTunes Store account) you used to initially purchase the app on your iPhone. * If you use a different Apple ID for your iPad, follow the directions below instead so you will be able to update the app later.
  2. Go to the App Store.
  3. Tap on Purchased from the bottom navigation bar and find IconCMO Lite. * For iPhone or iPod touch, tap Updates from the bottom navigation bar then tap Purchased.
  4. Download the app. You may get a pop-up saying you have already purchased the app and may download again it for free. You will also need to re-enter your Apple ID password.

Do you want to share with other members of your household (e.g. spouse, children)? Read this:

You can share your copy of IconCMO Lite with your family. At least one computer with the latest version of iTunes is needed, but you can authorize your Apple ID on up to five computers. The app can then be installed on any of the iOS devices synced to those computers. Just keep in mind you can sync as many devices as you want to an iTunes library, but you can only sync each device to one iTunes library.

You and your spouse, Jamie, both have iPhones and you want to share an app you purchased with him or her; however, you each have your own Apple IDs and laptops. So total you have two iPhones, two Apple IDs, and two computers.

  1. Go to Jamie’s computer and launch iTunes.
  2. Log Jamie out of iTunes and log in with your own Apple ID.
  3. Under ‘Store’ click ‘Authorize this computer’ and re-enter your password.
  4. Click ‘App Store.’
  5. Click ‘Purchased’ to view a list of apps you have already purchased.
  6. Find the app you want to share and download it.
  7. The app will now show in the Library under ‘Apps.’
  8. Log out of iTunes and log in with Jamie’s Apple ID.
  9. Connect Jamie’s iPhone to the computer and sync it with iTunes. * For detailed instructions on syncing a device, please visit Apple Support.
  10. The app is now installed on Jamie’s phone!

Icon Systems Interviewed by Christian Computing Magazine – Steve Hewitt

Recently Steve Hewitt (Editor-in-Chief) of CCMag interviewed Icon Systems in regards to mobile computing in the church industry and how it can help churches in their missions. There is so many technological advantages to using mobile devices that not using them would be a disadvantage for any organization that wants to further their mission. Some of the uses are taking attendance, using it in the mission field, taking prayer notes, posting things to social networks immediately, updating profiles, creating reports on the fly, monitoring the church service through security cameras, child check in, multisite communication, etc. Continue reading the full interview!


iPad Interview with Icon Systems

A few months ago ChurchAccountingSoftwareGuide.com posted an interview with Icon Systems addressing some common questions about church software compliance with fund accounting standards and regulations.

The Church Accounting Software Guide recently posted another interview with Icon Systems discussing benefits of mobile technology as well as how the use of tablets (such as the iPad) can improve church management and accounting. The interview also offers some great insight to some of the exciting new features of the IconCMO web app for the iPad – you can read the full article here.

How is your church currently using mobile technology? We would love to hear from you – please share your comments and stories below!


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