This year Glen Mar church has switched our member and attendee information system over to Realm – a cloud-based church management system – and we need your help in spreading the word and making the transition a success! For years we’ve had the need to switch from our current, out-dated ACS platform to a more efficient and user-friendly alternative. With much research and collaboration with our trusted advisors and staff, we’re excited to announce that we’re finally ready to make the change.
While we are thrilled to start 2023 off on this new foot, we can’t do it alone. This system will only accurately serve our needs if every friend of Glen Mar successfully switches their profile information to the Realm platform. Why, you might wonder, is this change so important? We’ve asked Glen Mar’s minister for operations Alison Mannino, to answer some of the most frequently asked questions on the matter:
What is Realm?
Alison: Realm is a cloud-based church management solution that combines administration, accounting, and community all in one tool. It’s easy and accessible, users are provided with a mobile app to send messages to community members and receive notifications. Realm also provides multiple security layers for financial transactions and registration payments.
That sounds pretty technical. What does it have to do with me, as a church member or congregant?
Alison: Bottom line is that Realm will help foster the in-person community that Glen Mar already enjoys. It allows people to stay in contact with small groups, missions, and ministries. Realm will enable the leadership of those groups to keep attendance to help in planning for the future. It also streamlines the accounting process for Glen Mar’s Giving to make your donations more efficient – and our accounting program error free.
What did Glen Mar use before Realm? Why the change?
Alison: Glen Mar had been using ACS People Suite. When I started here, I was told that ACS was old and cumbersome, and not very user friendly. Let’s just say it’s not very popular amongst our staff and small group ministries. Because of this, small group and ministry leaders have had to find and use other programs to help with communication, attendance, registration, and charging/receiving fees for events. Essentially, each group uses their own thing. The change to Realm will be helpful to everyone and make communicating with members, church-goers, ministries, small groups, and volunteers easier. It will also help our accounting department when it comes to Giving, specifically it will help Bob Henry in accounting who currently has to manually enter lots of information for each person and donation. Honestly, this change over will save him hours of tedious work every week that could be better spent on other church matters.
How will Realm help Glen Mar better serve the congregation, missions, and beyond?
Alison: With more participation in the Realm Platform, we will be better able to reach the different groups in the congregation. It will let us alert people to activities happening at the church and help with registration for special events, Vacation Bible School, mission trips, and the like. It will also allow attendance to be taken and kept, giving us a better understanding of which programs are popular and a path to help us better plan for the future.
How will this transition affect me?
Alison: It should be simple. If you are in our current database with the correct email address, you will get an invitation to join. Glen Mar’s Realm will invite you to sign in and create your account. When you do this, it will attach you to your “history.” You can then set up your Giving preferences. Legally, since this is a new platform for Glen Mar, you need to set up a new Giving profile. By law, we cannot just roll your previous Giving account into this one. This process will allow you to give as you want and will also let you choose to set up recurring donations. When your new Realm profile is set up the old Giving profile in Tithely will stop.
Will my donations to the church be affected?
Alison: The old method of Giving (through Tithely) will not stop until you log in to Realm and set up your new Giving preferences. Tithley will soon be our old way of donating and will be phased out so that we can help make the accounting process more efficient and error free. We hope to phase Tithely out completely before March 15.
I’m not a regular donor through the website. Should I still register?
Alison: Yes, please! It is important for anyone attending to register. Aside from donations, Realm will also be our way of keeping in contact with you and letting you know what is happening for you hear at Glen Mar.
When will this transition happen?
Alison: Our ideal goal is to have everyone complete the switch by March 15.
How can I help make this transition smoother for Glen Mar?
Alison: Be on the lookout for the invitation email and sign up as soon as you get it. You can also download the phone app so you can use the app while on the go or while at Church events. And you can talk it up at your Glen Mar events! Help others sign in and send us your feedback about your sign in process. This will help us know what we can do to make it easier for others during this process.
I want to help but I’m not tech savvy. How will I know where to register for Realm?
Alison: The email invitation is very user friendly. We will also have slides and announcements to help during the weeks of implementation.
Do I have to use my cell phone? Or is email good enough?
Alison: You can just use email but getting the cell phone mobile app will allow you to use Realm CONNECT anywhere and will allow us to send you notifications.
What if I still need help?
Alison: We are all in this together! If you need help you can come into the church office Monday through Friday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm or give us a call. We’re happy to walk your through it.
If you have more questions, please email our Realm Team.
Thank you, Alison!