Overall organizational unity and efficiency. Streamlined, standardized and unified volunteer coordination. Centralized mass communication, and a highly user-friendly worship service planning platform and the ability to store the church worship song inventory online for all to utilize as needed.
I like how intuitive it is and how easy it is to figure out. I can teach functions to even the most tech-challenged people in our church and they are able to know what they need to do with ease. I also like the umbrella of functions it has under the one program for the price point offered. When you go from 100 to 200 active users the price doubling is a bit steep (this is why I gave value 4 stars), but it is comparable to similar programs, but easier to work with. Lastly, the customer service as well has been fantastic from day one and that was a major reason I chose Elvanto over other programs. Their speed of response is typically within 1 day, despite being in Australia, while I'm in the US.
More than anything it is their phone app, which is fairly useless at this time compared to just logging into the website on your phone (this is where 4 stars on Features comes in). The phone app has yet to be integrated with the majority of functions offered and the development has been too slow to get it going. Elvanto has a community Post board, which we love as a church, but to not have that on the phone app that can give you notifications of a new post seems like a huge oversight. The normal software I really have no issues with at all, if there is something hard to understand or more complicated, there is help available in the forms of tutorials or customer service is an email or chat away. The phone app, however, needs to be pushed through development and in big ways and then Elvanto will be a force to be reckoned with, and our church would have greater integration as people who don't get in front of a computer on a daily basis (i.e. young moms, blue-collar workers, etc.) would have it in their phones too.
I have used Elvanto for many years now and find it by far the easiest, feature rich ChMS around. Whilst functionality and UI are important, solid backup and support is critical. The Elvanto team are always on hand to answer questions quickly and the support team know their product (sounds obvious but not always the case!).
There is a cost to using the software, but for those trying to weigh up the difference between a manual system vs Elvanto, it's a no-brainer. I wouldn't run my business off excel so why run a church using excel? Everybody I have ever recommended Elvanto has started using it, and within 6 months they say why wasn't I using this before?
Is everything great? There are some areas that have been a frustration. The Check-In system has pro's and con's. Pro is it's web based and works from an iPad. The downside is the printing software is frustrating and doesn't always do what it's told. If you are a portable church this can be an impediment as you must have internet, and the print server can be a little hit and miss. Whilst it may seem retro-grade, I would like to see a rock solid, offline enabled application for child-check in, it's one of those areas that if it fails, goes sideways quickly.
Would this prevent me from using the check-in system? Categorically NO. Unlike some ChMS systems the printers are cheap DYMO's so the overheads and supply options are cheap and easy.
Elvanto have a strong record with feature updates that are well thought out and 'released when market ready'. Product development has been strong and the team are always willing to listen to new ideas or feature requests. Not everything get's implemented, but they do listen and good ideas (or necessities) get implemented quickly. Elvanto is agile.
It's not a perfect system (none are), but compared to most other ChMS systems around Elvanto is one that must be in the top 1-2 on your evaluation list.
Ease of use.
Integrates with many 3rd party applications.
Simply makes church management easier.
Check-In printing can be hit and miss (your average volunteer struggles if things go sideways).
No "Offline" check-in mode, so mobile churches need to consider internet services (and speeds).
BI is a little behind and could be improved. There are reports, but true "BI" and dashboards are missing.
We've been with Elvanto since 2012 . It now supports all the core activities of daily life in our congregation - in one program, with one subscription, and without any software compatibility hassles.
This is easier for our staff who ride one learning curve then rise to draw on all Elvanto's capability. This is also empowering for the congregation, because we use Elvanto in a way that empowers the congregation. They plan, communicate, and take action though Elvanto.
As a result...
We follow up and support our people better through accurate attendance and directory information.
We know more specifically what's been happening through the wide range of reports on hand.
We plan our calendar more clearly and book facilities and resources with more confidence.
We communicate more frequently and clearly with our congregation in our emails and SMS.
We organise more effectively for our worship life through the rostering, service planning, and song selection capability in Elvanto.
We equip people with resources through blog posts, sermon outlines, and documents whenever needed.
We have learned to use the new functionality of a program that is in active development [in a good way], as they are responsive to user feedback.
We relax over costs because we only pay for people who are actively involved in church life now - and can still keep in touch with others as Contacts.
We have even more ways we COULD use Elvanto but choose not to so far - such as the online giving or the small group attendance.
Why Elvanto compared to other church management software [CMS] solutions? It was flexible pricing, customisable functions and appearance, software-as-a- service convenience, and a complete set of functions across the board - pastoral, worship, communication, and calendar planning. Elvanto fulfils and exceeds our congregation's expectations and agendas.
Criticisms? Frankly the larger challenge with CMS is the church culture. For some, church life is a sanctuary which they wish was free of passwords or pins. This shift is small pain for large gain, if they take it up. The usage curve is far from level - about a quarter of our people use E most days - and about a quarter log in maybe once every few months. I'm ok with that.
In short, choosing to go with a CMS, and Elvanto specifically, has been the single most significant step forward in organising church life that we have made in the past ten years.
A very comprehensive solution to church management, with flexible pricing, customisable appearance and functions, secure access control, and freedom from software compatibility issues.
Getting the broader congregation to draw on its capabilities. Staff and key leaders have taken this up well. There can be cultural expectations that church life is 'low-tech' and simple - I can respect this is some ways. But passwords and online comms are as common as cars and phones in the 21st century. It's ok for people to have to learn.
The software within this web-based, in-the-cloud system is amazing! It does everything you'll need to run your church efficiently, and it's very easy to use.
I love everything, but if I have to pick the least favorite thing, I'd change the looks of the website we work from. It's very nice, but there are a few things I'd do different (more colorful, square boxes for the photos of the congregation vs. round ones, and a cleaner looking layout). But, here's some good news. They're going to give Elvanto a new facelift very soon.
I have been a loyal customer with Elvanto since 2014. Before Elvanto I had tried a bunch of other softwares out there but they fell short of what we were trying to accomplish. Some of the more decent ones that we demo-ed like fellowship one and Church Community Builder had tiered pricing that were pretty expensive. When we looked into Elvanto the major things that attracted us were;
1. User friendly interface
2. Robust platform
3. Ridiculously low price
The last ChMS we used was so inadequate that we add to subscribe to other services like Planning Center Online, MailChimp, Eventbrite, Trumpia (who by the way are crooks that were billing us without service and have refused to refund our money for two years now) etc, just to accomplish our goal. Since we signed on with Elvanto we no longer need all those other providers. Elvanto is not perfect yet like every other ChMS is not but they work tirelessly to keep bringing out new features. I even asked for a particular feature we wanted to allow members have access to the groups they belong and be able to interact with others within their group through their group page and Elvanto made it happen in a matter of weeks. I have been recommending them to churches in our network and they are loving it. Kudos to all the guys and girls at Elvanto. You keep doing what you are doing and I keep sticking with you guys. God bless you.
1. User friendly interface
2. Robust platform
3. Ridiculously low price
4. Great customer service
Member page still need more work but they have assured meet they are getting to that after rolling out their wonderful event registration feature they have been working on.
There are positives and negatives to any system. The same is true for Elvanto.
I researched a huge number of Church Management Systems, but didn't find anything that fit exactly what we needed. However, I stumbled upon Elvanto. The design & pricing is what originally captured my interest. They have a nice, clean design that is easy to customize to fit your church's color scheme & logo. The pricing is also very competitive, nearly half of what many other systems cost.
I signed up for their free trial (which was also paramount). Many ChMS's simply don't offer an easy way to find out how well it will work in your organization. You have to schedule a demo and use demo data in a test instance that doesn't reflect actual data from your organization. This wasn't true for Elvanto, which was refreshing. You get to start with an actual instance and import your real data.
Then I had to contact support with a couple questions. I got a detailed reply within a few hours of asking. This is something that I had only gotten prior from Planning Center. Needless to say, I was impressed. That top notch support can make up for a myriad of faults.
There are some areas that they still need to work on. They are actively developing a proper event management area with ticketing, etc... and they are constantly trying to improve on their mobile app and many other areas.
In the end we decided to go with Elvanto. It works well for most everything that we need, and the things that we need additional help with, they've always been very quick to try and accommodate what we need.
Service Planning, People Management, Customizable Reports, Group Management, Check-in System, Top-notch Support, Responsive Design for easy access across all devices
Form Builder can be limiting on available actions after a user submits a form, Reports are super customizable but many built-in reports cannot be saved in an easy to view location, Mobile app is a work in progress
We signed up for Elvanto early on in terms of their development. They weren't quite as good as CCB as a database, or PCO as a planning tool, but the fact it could do both in the same system made it worthwhile. Since making the decision to switch, we haven't looked back! Elvanto is user friendly, highly adaptable, looks good and is still continually improving. The mobile app still has a way to go to be fully functioning, and event payment still hasn't arrived yet, but I have no doubt that they will be worth the wait. While we as a church still aren't using it to its full capabilities, we are definitely doing things now, that are leading to growth, that wouldn't be possible without Elvanto.
The fact that it is able to do everything in one program. Rostering, service planning, attendance tracking, people flows, etc. That it's intuitive and looks good (with great a great ability to personalise) and that updates and improvements are coming thick and fast!
The service planning still lacks a little adaptability in terms of look and feel (compared to PCO) and images still can't be added to nametags. Can also seem like too many configuration options are possible when starting out (people categories, demographics, locations, groups, services) which can make starting a little confusing.
Elvanto is really worth while! Our church has moved away from an operation based on numerous Excel sheets and document versions, and has been using Elvanto for the last two years. Just to know that you are looking at the correct version - be it contact information, group schedules or the detailed plan for the next service - has really helped us a lot!
We use Elvanto for
- LIFE group organization and management
- Planning services and large events
- Church member and attendees information and management
- Managing workflows for New Contacts follow-up
- Managing e-mail lists used with MailChimp
- Planning and sending out SMS messages
- Checking in children to Sunday school
...among other things.
Elvanto has a nice REST based API (altough a bit limited) which lets you integrate with other applications and systems.
It would seem like Elvanto has not managed to grow their development capability during the last two years. This, unfortunately, results in a reduced ability to develop new features in the pace that customers of online systems demands today.
On the other hand, their customer support is fast and accurate. Elvanto responds to their customers and manages to solve reported bugs within hours!
All basic functionality for church and group management is there. The ability to lock down and manage who sees what of information. Integration with Google calendars.
The software has world-wide customers and some of the functionality does not make sense everywhere. I had hoped that Elvanto put more effort in making functionality that is flexible and an fully featured API. In this way every church has the ability to ajust the system to their needs.
I really enjoy this App. It is web based so able to be accessed anywhere by anyone you chose. Pricing is reasonable and there are so many functions that it s a challenge to use them all efficiently! There is a bit of time involved in the initial set up but well worth it. It is also very user friendly and intuitive. The support guys are constantly improving and updating features and open to suggestions. It combines software like Pastoral Care, Planning Center and Pulse into one integrated platform. ie your database, songs, planning roster and pastoral care with notes and reminders all in one place. Your volunteers can have their own login, volunteer for rosters and communicate directly with their department heads within the app. The security level options allow various levels of access from volunteer to Senior Administrator. You can keep track of groups, training and services and customize for you own specific needs. You can send out emails and link to Mail Chimp and also send out SMS's linked to a provider of your choice from within the app. I love the new feature of being able to add and track Contacts, (as opposed to members), without including them in your payment subscription based on member entries. Contacts are people that you connect with through things like events and youth, that are not usual church goers, but you want to keep them informed of special occasions. It also has financial tracking functions which I think would be handy for very a small church or one in the USA and places where donations are tax deductible. You can also enter pledges and track them. I highly recommend this application and commend Ben and his team for the wonderful work that they are doing.
The various functionality options and that it is web based so your people can access it from any computer anywhere and reasonably priced.
We have been using Elvanto at Gateway Church Geelong now for well over 2 years. Our initial interaction with using Elvanto was during the trial period. The team were highly helpful in helping us transfer over from another PC based program that was locked to one machine.
They were able to help with tweaking elements that would have hindered our transition within minutes of making them aware of our challenges.
This made it an easy decision to go through the challenge of changing our processes and taking our database online.
The final result is this. Elvanto has changed the way that the people in our church interact culturally, personally and as a community.
Our teams, groups, database, rostering, has become part of our 'Community Hub'. It's the place where key correspondence is posted, either in blog format on the members home page or via pages that only certain groups, teams or leaders can see in the member area. Being able to filter categories and people groups has changed the way we communicate in a functional way.
I could go on forever... the short of it is this. If you are using excel or a primitive software that is locked to one persons computer... just start the trial and email lots in trial period to see the benefits. Your people will end up being better contributors because they are in the loop and included as community.
Its flexibility and the way it supports local church function at any size.
We were looking for a church membership database software that was cloud based and mobile friendly so that all our pastoral staff could access it anytime, on the go, from anywhere, on any device, without installing any software. We also needed it to support Chinese characters, and Elvanto was one of the few that worked for us. After signing up for a trial, we found the system super easy to use and very intuitive. The price was very reasonable so we were very comfortable to give it a go and signed on.
They are more than just a membership database and over the years we have have steadily used more and more of their features to manage many aspects of our church activities like scheduling volunteers, and planning services. We even managed to use their event management system to handle room and resource bookings. We successfully got our small group leaders to submit reports after every meeting thanks to the very handy email reminders. It is very helpful for our pastoral care staff to assign tasks to follow up. It is very easy to customize to our needs and they keep improving it on a regular basis. Their customer support is very friendly, helpful, and responsive to customer requests and suggestions.
so easy to use that even our most tech averse pastoral staff are able to use it
Difficult to track extended relationships (aunts / uncles / cousins / etc.) beyond the standard family unit
Would love to really implement new integrations to help engage people in new ways and make it easier for volunteers and staff to use Elvanto on the run. An App would be AMAZING that has full function. As well as integrations to elevated reporting dashboards. We would love to build a follow-up app as well that links with Elvanto to make it easy for people to make calls, add notes, tag others while on the run.
Great customer service and high functionality! We as users have a lot of freedom to manipulate advanced searches and reports to cater to what we need. Top class in that department. Also the reporting functions for groups is amazing.
Doesn't have a full functioning app. Not user friendly for volunteers that are on the run and not working from our church office (for follow-up purposes). Dashboards could be better to show key indicators digitally and graphically inspiring. We don't use Elvanto currently for our rostering, only for database and pastoral/follow-up. We also create all our reports manually based on exported reports on Elvanto. We find the display is just as important and the numbers.
I love how Elvanto keeps all the things we need in one place. It's easy to use. It's easy to train people on. And you get all the features for one price! Not only does it look beautiful, it actually functions how you want it to.
It's easy to set up and run out of the box. Then the more you use it, the more you realize how powerful it is. In church world, you always feel understaffed understaffed. Think of Elvanto like hiring three or four different people to keep track of all the stuff you wish you could keep up with.
The customer service is that good. You feel like they're just a part of your team.
That's all the things I can think to say. Seriously can not recommend this enough.
It has all the different systems and one system, but it doesn't feel too big or overwhelming.
The only con is that it's still new so sometimes there are minor bugs or glitches. But they are always really fast to fix them.
We use Elvanto for database, attendance, assigning contacts, running reports, email, and texting our people. However, the best part about Elvanto is the People Flow concept. Keeping track of people at multiple stages of development with centralized notes has been amazing for us.
The fact that contact info, group and service attendance, notes, and activity log on each person is available with a few clicks.
Communicating with people through email and text is great. You can even do an advanced search and get really granular, and then just contact those people with one click. Simple and easy to use.
The best part about Elvanto is the People Flow concept. Keeping track of people at multiple stages of development with centralized notes has been amazing for us.
The user interface for services and volunteering is a bit off par.
Thanks so much for the feedback Drew! I'd love to hear what we can do to improve our services and volunteering interface. If you had time, could you email in your thoughts to support [at] elvanto [dot] com?
We chose Elvanto as our Church Management System after looking through dozens of systems and demoing several of them. We are a small church of under 100, so we were looking for something cost effective without sacrificing features.
Elvanto had all the features we were looking for and was just within our budget. The key features that made Elvanto stand out and were our deciding factors were service scheduling, volunteer management, and calendar/event management. We also heavily use people management, people flows, and financial tracking, but these features were more common among the systems we tested.
We've been using Elvanto for about two years now and we haven't looked back. I've talked with customer support several times and they've always been prompt, polite and eager to help. They're quick to fix any issues we run into and are happy to hear about ideas for adding new features or improving existing ones.
I'm happy to recommend Elvanto any time someone asks.
Feature-set, price, customer service
Some features could be improved to be made useful (like calendar/event reporting, printing, and emailing)
As a church plant, we appreciated getting off the ground with this software. It helps you organize your church with service planning, scheduling, groups, and communication. There are a few functions we wish were added, but the team regularly adds greater functionality. It has been extremely reliable with almost zero downtime. We been pleased for the three years we've used it.
Financial management, scheduling, church directory, awesome introductory price for church plants
It doesn't currently integrate with our online giving platform (EasyTithe), limited on the groups side with members being able to see and communicate with each other, Some things are difficult to figure out how to customize.
Thanks Wes! We'll be sure to reach out to EasyTithe to see what we can do about integration!
We are currently working on message boards for groups in the Member Area and will be adding more features like group search and more.
What are the areas you found difficult to customize? I'd love to look to see what we can do.
We love the ability to customize user log-in. We can add different users with different amount of accessibility into areas of the software.
Also we focus a lot on being able to pastor people. We can add categorizes of notes. This helps us track and note where people are at. We can also add custom fields to in their profile to track spiritual growth.
We switched to this program and have been thoroughly satisfied. This was also a great price software for church databases.
It is a little difficult with customer service cause they are an Australian company so at times the time difference for us in the US is hard to maneuver.
The only other con we have found is the graphic appeal of customizing forms and mass email. This is something they are aware of. They have already made improvements since we have used their service.
1. Elvanto has a very intuitive admin interface (similar to Wordpress). It's very easy to navigate and full of features.
2. Elvanto features many integrations with other services, such as Songselect, Proclaim, Mailchimp and Tithely, all of which we use at our church.
3. Elvanto gives you the ability to add endless custom fields for each person. These become useful for generating just about any kind of report.
4. Elvanto's customer support is fantastic. They respond quickly and with detailed and clear information.
5. It's great for scheduling volunteers (like a worship team, or nursery workers).
6. It's great for keeping track of attendance, and following up with new people,
7. The Elvanto team is constantly making improvements and working on new features.
8. Elvanto lets you create event registration forms, that allow you to add registrants to your database. That is helpful for follow-up.
The mobile app could use some more of the admin functionality. Also, without 'conditional logic' (like Gravity Forms or Ninja forms) the Elvanto registration forms can be limiting for certain types of events.
We've been using elvanto for the past 4 years, and found that overall it is a really well rounded and useful church database. Whilst its a fairly steep learning curve to setup (i.e. access permissions, departments, groups, locations, service types!), once its going it takes care of may of the people admin tasks that churches have. Tech Support are very fast to respond and always happy to help. Our main uses are:
* Compliance (i.e. accurate record keeping and reporting for WWCC's etc
* Giving leaders access to the info they need (access permission are quite powerful here)
* Events & Registrations
* Church member "intranet" so that the main website is outsider focussed
* Service planning & rostering
* Communications (email, sms)
* Followup reporting and Pastoral care CMS
It still lacks some desirable features (i.e. integrated event payment facilities [coming!], advanced reporting logic, advanced form logic, clunky files system), but update and new features are regularly rolled out, and often the result of user requests (we've had a few of our wishes granted... eventually!).
We switched to elvanto about 3 yrs ago, until then we had used several other programs which we ended up just using very basic functions of storing details of congregation members. Over the past few years we have grown from a 200+ church to 400 + members. I have to say that elvanto has grown with us. The ease of use and functionality has been great as a smaller church and also now as we grow.
With elvanto we quickly realised this program is super easy to use and our members enjoy the features it offers (rostering, event rsvp's etc). We are now using elvanto across our church from runsheets, rosters and email to pastoral care notes, events, calendars and group management.
Elvanto has always answered cries for help quickly and any issues we have is usually because we've pushed the wrong button and happen very occassionally
It truly has changed the way we manage our church database runsheets and services. Thankyou!
rostering, notes, calendar management, online event rsvps, ease of use
occassional glitch but very rare
Elvanto doesn't have every feature I want, but it has more than most, and everything it does, it does well. From the parish directory to rostering to service planning, it has a solid Web 2.0 interface that minimizes the need for training. It integrates with key products like SongSelect and bulk SMS providers, and its API allows handy customizations. What won me over was the ability to just upload an existing contacts database to test it out. No other product at the time was that open and flexible - Elvanto was a no-brainer for future-proofing our church systems.
Web 2.0 interface. Billed for the number of members, not for community contacts. Handy integrations with other products. Core features of church life are handled well.
Confusing variety of ways to attach files to songs and services. API is missing some key features for service planning.
I reviewed quite a number of church management tools, and Elvanto was by and far the best tool that we came across. Since we've implemented Elvanto, rostering our volunteers, managing our events and services has been so much easier!
Our church volunteers love using Elvanto too. Now they can't imagine doing ministry without it!
Extremely flexible and very well thought out. From small groups, to rostering, even integration with CCLI. Elvanto covers all areas within a church.
Not many cons, but if I need to add something here then in the reporting section, we require the information in some specific ways. We weren't able to get it to produce the reports that we would like, so we've had to use some work arounds.
After a year of searching for an "all inclusive" church management software, we landed on Elvanto. Unfortunately, it's been difficult to implement, not user-friendly, and most of the features we look for ended up being such long processes it's never really stuck. Support is a timezone away and many of our issues come back with a "not our fault." 3 years in, and we've had so many bad experiences that half our staff team is unwilling to even try to make it work anymore. This may be a one-stop-shop, but without serious tech experience on your staff, and a high commitment level from the users, it's just not worth it.
[Should be] everything in one: it was meant to get rid of the myriad of different systems we used for child checkin, accounting, communications, booking venues, and volunteer follow up... They recommend having a dedicated technician for the first 2 years full-time to help integrate. I can see why, but that's just not in our (or many church) budgets, and without it we just couldn't seem to get off the ground.
Child checkin: only supports one printer (the most expensive & most glitchy), doesn't work well with Macs, couldn't get the iPad/tablet system to work at all, and tech support was pretty slim. After 3 years, parents still aren't used to the system (not intuitive). Bookings: allows users to double book spaces without flagging problems to an overseers - people assume since they "booked it" it's fine, but program just puts duplicate entries rather than denying access. Accounting: after a month of training, our accountants vetoed using the software, saying it was too complicated and didn't accomplish their needs. Volunteer management: allows for some management, if you have a consistent team. If your team changes weekly, then you might as well just email them yourself - there's no nice solution for this.
Sorry to hear about your bad experience Kirsten.
It really sounds like our customer support was lacking in your case as some of the issues you have faced (like setting up multiple check-in printers and getting them to work) should be easy to sort out.
At this stage we are stuck with DYMO label printers (those expensive ones you mentioned) simply because other label printers don't have good web support. We are keeping an eye on the other manufacturers and will integrate with them as soon as we can!
Bookings I believe we did have a bug where it wasn't bringing up conflicts but this has been fixed since. We're constantly improving and fixing any bugs that appear.
Accounting is not something we fully support. We focus on tracking giving and let proper accounting software to handle that side of things. We plan to create some integrations though.
Lastly volunteer management. We've recently released scheduling preferences that should help make it easier to manage volunteers.
The Elvanto product is very suited to medium and larger churches. It offers very flexible configurations and supports people, services, events, volunteers and music teams very well. In rare cases where additional functions are required, it can be extended if required through a very flexible API. The support staff are very responsive and willing to help resolve problems, or propose enhancements. The product continues to improve and many requests for features have been incorporated.
It is very easy to use and has all the features that a medium to large church needs. It is reliable and doesn't cost much for what it does.
None worth mentioning.
Our church has used Elvanto as our primary church management system for nearly three years at this point, and we love it! They have a great customer service team. They are always working to improve and expand their services and functionality. They truly listen to the needs of their customers and do their best to meet them. There is of course a learning curve to find the best ways that it fits into your church's needs, but they really do a great job offering solutions for everything from volunteer schedules and check in (for kids and volunteers) to small group managment and tracking church members through classes.
Always growing, flexible, well designed, reliable
Customer service is offered based on Australian time zones (but this really isn't a problem for me 98% of the time)