CMS Getting Started Help
The following information is provided to help you get started with our Church Management Software. In addition, there are more “Getting Started Help” buttons with additional information on following pages: Add New Household, Small Groups, Skills Interests and Passions, Calendar, and Online Event Registration.
You may notice one or more small question marks on many of our pages. These are mouse-over help buttons. They display context related help. To allow them to work be sure you have disabled popup blocking for CongregationBuilder.com.
You can turn off this feature when you want to. Just uncheck the box labeled “mouse over help”, which is found at the top of the left nav bar.
We don’t assign a different password to each staff and member of your church. That would be a lot of passwords for you to manage. You just have four passwords to manage. One password is shared by your members, one is shared by group leaders, one is for your database administrator and one for your contributions-manager/ treasurer.
The Member password allows members to view and print the online directory and send emails to another church member. The member password also allows them to print a copy of the church directory. We format it as a traditional church directory. It always reflects the latest data in the database and it prints in beautiful high-res.
The Group Leader password adds the ability to set up and maintain Small Group lists, print labels, and send email broadcasts. The Administrator password adds the ability to add and edit member records. The Contributions password allows access to the Contributions module, but does not allow editing of member records.
You can send an email to our support team when you want to change your Admin or Contributions password. You can view and change the Group Leader password and Member password yourself by using the “Options” link which is found at the bottom of the left nav bar. See our discussion of the Options page below.
Importing Your Demographic Data Into CB
We can usually import your demographic data (names, addresses, email address, phone numbers etc.) into CB. Please contact us for cost and details.
The following dropdown list shows you the various membership types that you can assign to a person:
Many churches do not use all the membership types, but only the ones that are meaningful to them. Having many membership types has many benefits to you. You can display only the people you want to see: just potential members, just visitors etc. You can send emails or make labels for targeted membership types and yet easily combine them to make labels and send emails to the combined group.
In many instances we display information to you in the form of a data table. If you look at the Members List as an example, you will notice it initially displays showing only members that have a last name starting with A. By selecting the letter “C” from the alpha dropdown you would see members whose last name starts with C. You could also change the membership-type dropdown list from “members” to “visitors” to view the visitors with a last name that starts with C.
Then, if you want to view a list of all visitors, change the alpha dropdown from “C” to “All”. If you want to display people of all membership types, select “All Types” in the membership-type dropdown.
Most of the time when we display a table it is initially sorted by last name. In most cases you can sort the table on any column by clicking on the column heading. If you click once it sorts in ascending order and when you click again it sorts in descending order. For instance if you display the Members List and selected “All” and “Visitors” then clicked in the zip code heading, the list would display sorted by zip code in ascending order. If you click in the heading “first visit” the list would sort by that date in ascending order. If you click that heading again it would sort by descending order (i.e. Visitors from last week would display at top of the list).
Adding a Person or Family to the Database
When you want to add a person or family to the database use the “Add New Household” page. The link to it is found in the left nav bar. Every person in the database has some household information which is shared by everyone in that household (street address, home phone etc.). Each person also has “person” information such as name, email address, cell phone etc.
Add a person to an Existing Household.
To add a person to an existing household display the Household List page. Click “Select” next to the appropriate household name to display the Household Details page for that household. Click the tab labeled “add person”. Then you can enter the person’s information and submit.
The other things you can do on the Household Detail page is edit the household information, view the list of people in that house and select and edit a household member’s “person” information.
Editing a Person’s Information
There are two ways to navigate to a person’s information to edit it. As described above you can start with the Household list or alternatively you can start with the Members List. When you do the latter, click “Select” next to their name in the Members List. That brings up a page that lets you edit their “person” data and also change their household data. (But remember, household data is shared by all members of that household and when you change it for one person it changes for all in that household.)
Deleting an Entire Household
To delete an entire household from the database display the Household List page. Scroll to the right and you will notice that each row has a delete button that will delete that household and also delete the person information for each person in the household.
There is another choice which is similar to deleting. You can change the member type of all members of that household to “suspended” (which is the choice at the very bottom or the membership-type dropdown list). Then they won’t show up in directories, mailing lists and emailing to members etc. but, the data is there if you need it.
Deleting a person from an Existing Household
To delete one person from an existing household display the Household List page (use the link in the left nav bar). Click “Select” next to the appropriate household name. That will display the Household Details page that contains a list of people in that household. When you scroll to the right you will see a delete button on each row of the list.
Visitors and Outreach
To save the information of a visitor to your church, add them as a new household and mark them as a “visitor” using the membership-type dropdown list. We give you a lot of flexibility staying in contact with visitors. You will be able to:
1) view and print the list of visitors
2) sort the list alphabetically or by the date of visit
3) print labels for visitors
4) send an email to visitors
5) generate a phone list of visitors
6) generate a mail merge list of visitors
We have formatted our labels for Avery 8160 or equivalent (10 rows by 3 columns).
To begin, display the Print Labels page using the link by that name in the left nav bar.
The first time you print labels you should read about setting up your computer to position the printing correctly. This information is displayed when you click the button “Label Positioning Tips” which is on the Print Labels page. You only have to do this once for each computer and it is remembers the next time you print labels.
On this page you will notice that you can sort labels alphabetically or by postal code and print labels for:
1) the newsletter list
2) people in one or more membership types
3) the people in a small group
Sending an Email Broadcast
The email broadcast feature lets you send an email to the people of a membership type, members of a Small Group or the Combined Email Group (the one you define on the Options page).
There are three advantages of using our Email Broadcast over setting up Microsoft Outlook or Windows Mail to do it.
1) You don’t duplicate the effort of maintaining the list of email addresses in two or more places
2) The list of email addresses that you maintain is shared. That is, a broadcast email can be sent by any person with the admin, group leader or contributions password.
3) When a person that receives the email does a “reply to all” it does not go to all members of the church. It only goes to the email address that sent the broadcast.
Managing Labels for you Newsletter
We make it easy to make newsletter labels that include only the people you want in that list. You can exclude people that get the newsletter electronically and include visitors.
We have two levels of control for defining the newsletter label mailing list. Firstly you decide which membership types you want included in the list (members, staff, clergy, visitors etc.). You use the Options page to do this. The second level of control is to remove a household from the list using the Household Details page (check the box labeled “no newsletter label”).
The Options Page
The Options Page allows you to customize features of our software to fit they way you do things at your church.
The Options page is where you define which membership types to include in the: newsletter labels list, combined email list, traditional directory, online directory and attendance lists.
You can define whether you want a legend to be included on your traditionally formatted directory and what you want the letter codes to be.
You can maintain the Member password and Group Leader password and maintain your church’s administrative email addresses (office, webmaster, newsletter editor, accounts payable).
Getting a File From the Server
There are three types of files you can get from the server:
1) demographic data
2) a mail merge file
3) a phone list file
This data is sent as email attachments. Only a few people at your church can get these files because we only send to your administrative email addresses.
To get a file use the link “Get a file from the server”. Then select:
1) the file type you want
2) the membership types you want included
3) the administrative email address to send it to
How to Turn Off Mouse-Over Help
After a while you may want to turn off mouse-over help. To do this, uncheck the box at the very top of the left nav bar that is titled "mouse-over help".