I can't believe the other ratings!
Reviewed on November 30, 2012 by Connie U, Financial Secretary at E-Free Church
Pros: It is a powerful database that offers many options.
Cons: Because of the great functionality, it can be quite frustrating to learn. We felt the training very poor and overwhelming, never mastering the system. It's a fragmented system that is often being upgraded. Therefore, we are constantly relearning it. Also,the reports are often changed or replaced. Once we find a report we like, it's replaced with a new one. It is VERY difficult to figure out the fields you need and it takes a lot of time to come up with a new one. Customer service is almost NONEXISTENT. Imagine waiting on hold over 20 minutes. When someone answers, they usually have the excuse that they don't really work in that area, they are just helping out because they are unusually busy right now (almost every time we call). Then they cannot answer your question, but will put a ticket in for you and someone will get back to you. Rarely does someone get back to you. If they do, they give you a stock answer they got from a list, as the answer does not answer your question.
Overall: Unfortunately, the perfect CMS system does not seem to exist. We are not pleased with this system and are using bits and pieces from other systems right now that work better, while looking into a replacement system. I would not recommend this system unless you have Tech savvy people working on your staff. The typical church secretary will be pulling her hair out trying to spit out any kind of report.
Poor Expectations - but powerful system
Reviewed on November 17, 2012 by Dennis Cummins, Senior Pastor at Experience Church.tv
Pros: This software is very feature rich and capable. It has resolved some of our immediate needs with check-in for kids, contributions, and mobile app for access to our data base as well as our small groups.
When you read my cons please don't think I would not choose F1 again. I am just highly displeased with how they set expectations and how they train.
Cons: They do a very poor job of setting expectations. While the system is capable of a lot of features...good luck figuring them out. They are very limiting on what they will show you during implementation of the product. We also paid for the certification training and even that is limited to what information they will release to you. It seems that their attitude is "You need to figure it out". They do host a one hour weekly call for Q&A, but that's still not satisfactory to us. I can't even send an all church email out!! Something that should be the simplest process is cryptic at best to figure out. If something isn't working you have to submit a trouble ticket. There is no customer service line. They should have a customer service line for those who have paid the $700 fee for training and certification.
Overall: I would recommend F1 but with high caution. Make sure you have a point person that is highly computer literate.
Be very patient...
I gave 5 stars to "Meets our needs" on the premise that eventually when we get all our questions answered - it will meet our needs. That's why we chose F1.
Couldn't see doing ministry without it
Reviewed on July 01, 2011 by Kyle Kutter, Media Pastor at The Ark Church
Pros: Fellowship One is built to meet the direct needs of churches and because of that they have a staff that is equipped and educating in the current needs of the Church. The Ark was able to maximize the features and functions because of the eagerness of the staff and the capabilities of the software.
Cons: There were a couple small features that we loved from our old database that the current version of F1 does not offer. They were not deal breaks but we had to reassess some of our processes to accommodate the lack of those small features.
Overall: The concept of a church management software was not a new concept for The Ark Church, but a GREAT software was. Now after 14 months of having F1 fully integrated into our churches culture we could not picture doing ministry without it.
Review by One Life Church
Reviewed on July 01, 2011 by Natalie Jaranowski, Administrator at One Life Network
Pros: With the variety of features offered, Fellowship One provides our church with a unified way of communicating to our church attenders and implementing programs with efficiency. It also provides easy integration of volunteers into administrative capacities. The check-in feature that is offered with it is unmatched in it's ability to help churches provide safety for our littlest members while at the same time track ministry effectiveness.
Cons: Fellowship One is a bit of a learning curve. There are complicated steps to creating forms, activities, etc. that, for a small church staff, can seem overwhelming. It can also be hard to get buy-in from some of the staff members because of the lack of ease of use. Would love to see improvement in this area. However, Fellowship One provides excellent training opportunities to help get users up to speed on the software.
Overall: I definitely recommend Fellowship One to other churches. It can help you manage your communications, volunteers, are various ministries in one unified software. The Fellowship Tech staff are quick to respond to issues and provide excellent training.
Great product, even better staff!
Reviewed on July 01, 2011 by Michael Niebuhr, Church Managment Systems Administrator at Heartland Community Church
Pros: - Software as a service (SaaS) is the way to go for us. Our staff has 24/7 access to the data they need.
- One central location for our data means no more data silos for us. Everyone has access to up to date information.
- Very active user community shares tips and tricks with each other
- Great, secure, easy child check-in program
- Easy to use online giving
- Event registration integrates with our website
- Excellent small groups search and registration tool.
- Great teaching video library and documentation
- Best Practices documentation is very helpful
- Ever improving API integration
Cons: The report library can be tough to navigate because there are so many reports to pick from. This can make it tough to find the report you need when you need it. BUT, on the plus side, once you find the report you are looking for you can save it to a personal library and find it again easily. If you can't find the report you are looking for, the customer service team is very knowledgeable, the help information is good, and the online user base is very helpful.
Overall: The team at Fellowship Technologies is top rate. They strive to make sure that each church is focusing on ministry and not on the administration of the product. I love what Fellowship One offers our church. A single centralized place for our church's data, the security of their child check-in system, the ease of online giving, integrated event registration and ease of their new Groups 2.0 online group finder and registration piece is fantastic. Fellowship Technologies continues to improve the their product with new offerings while working at improving their infrastructure, keeping the product strong and ready for future growth.
A Well Focused Product
Reviewed on June 30, 2011 by Neil Nuttall, IT Manager at Crossway Baptist Church Inc
Pros: The F1 tag line is "You were called to serve people, not software" and that's true of the product.
There is a richness of features that allow church staff to track and communicate people as they make enquiries and participate in groups and activities.
Fellowship Tech also have great communications with their customers, posting up road-maps (for new features), providing training, whitepapers and best practice documents. They also run free webinars and have an annual conference (in the US) all aimed at helping churches maximise the potential of the product. In short their focus is on helping customers achieve their goals, rather than using customers to make sales
Cons: With us being based in Australia and F1 being based in the US, being in different timezones can be an inconvenience when trying to get support or when they schedule out-of-hours maintenance.
Also being a hosted SaaS solution you can be at the mercy of the Internet at times and responsiveness can suffer.
Overall: Compared to just a few years ago, churches are being spoilt for choice in the ChMS marketspace.
They all have their pros and cons, but as an innovator among their peers, Fellowship One should be on your final short-list
F1 at The Village Church in Texas
Reviewed on June 29, 2011 by J. Scott Allen, Technology Manager at The Village Church
Pros: Excellent implementation team!
F1 software has delivered what they said it could deliver in response to our RFP.
Support is responsive.
Communication has been good. We have the benefit of many Active Network/Fellowship Tech employees attending and in membership at The Village.
No server or site to manage is great (obviously that is a big part of what we pay for)
Functionality is really good.
Access to the data via API is great and getting better with every new API realm.
Cons: Implementation Team could have been more assertive with some suggestions and less with others.
Though F1 has delivered it has not delivered at the level we had hoped for, specifically public facing via weblink where the UX has left a lot to be desired. The back-end functionality is great but the interface needs a makeover now.
Support though responsive has been dismissive with some of our requests and we have experienced some delays on what we consider a pretty serious request.
Overall: As things stand right now with what is available today, if your church is looking for a very good, if not great, Church Management System Fellowship One is the system you want. The old adage, "You get what you pay for" applies with a SaaS product you are no longer supporting a server and software yourself or trying to develop something on your own. Having said that the company's "development to production agility" needs improvement as there are still things that need to be done on the congregation facing side of this system that hopefully will be taken care of in the very near future and make F1 one of the most complete systems available.
Fellowship One Benefits are Limitless!
Reviewed on June 29, 2011 by Katie Smith, Ministry Software Coordinator at Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church
Pros: -Much more than just a database
-Electronic check-in for any activity & secure check-in for children's events
-Email communication to anyone or any group in system
-Online registrations and online giving that ties to database records
-Ability to tag records to allow for easy searches later (spiritual gifts, first time visitors, etc.)
-Member portal (InFellowship) offers online church directory, groups interaction and searches, and profile editing.
-Easy background check processing through the system that also adds requirement to individual records.
-Vast reporting library as well as easy to use query function
-Top of the line customer support
-A company that actually listens and responds to customers' issues, requests and ideas
-Gives churches the tools to reach out and connect to their members in ways unheard of before.
Cons: -Contributions module lacking in area of audit trail (this is on their radar)
-Reports sometimes hard to find due to size of report library. This issue is being handled with the creation of core reports that combine numerous reports into one all-encompassing report.
Overall: Before we began using Fellowship One, our church was comprised of many data silos. These silos were formed due to the inaccuracy and difficulty of use of our previous system. Fellowship One offered us a wonderful tool that was easy for our staff to use, and allowed us to break down the silos and put our data all in one area. Event Registrations and Check-In are utilized heavily here at CSPC. Through my discussions with other churches, this system is great for all sizes - from the start-up church plants to mega size churches.
Fellowship One is a wonderful tool that helps churches do ministry better! The only true limitation of this system is in the users of the system or how a church utilizes it for their ministries.
FellowshipOne has been great for us!
Reviewed on June 29, 2011 by Mike Mobley, Operations Manager at 121 Community Church
Pros: F1 has been great for us in regards to a secure database that is easily accessible and has many tools for our needs to be organized and helpful in Leading People to Live for Jesus Christ. Reporting, customer service, and the system overall has been great!
Cons: The reporting library is great but is quite large so at times it can be confusing trying to decide which report to run. The addition of Core Reports has really helped this.
Overall: Overall, we love F1 and would recommend this to any church!
Every Church needs a Church Management System. F1 is the BEST!
Reviewed on August 31, 2010 by Tracy Mazelin, Webmaster & Database Administrator at Lake Center Bible Church
Pros: - Software as a Service (SaaS) - internet based, available anytime, from any computer with an internet connection
- No upgrades or software maintenance on the user end
- Continuously improving
- Feature Rich
- Has an API for custom programing
- Excellent video training for the users
- Excellent customer service
- Powerful Query System
- Industry leading child check-in system
- Efficient Giving system
- Integration with existing website
And much more!
Cons: - The reporting system needs improvement
Overall: Good decisions are usually based on good information. Without a good system to provide that information, most churches are in the dark regarding their people and their ministries. Fellowship One provides an excellent framework of information allowing churches to spend more time doing ministry and less time doing administrative tasks. It's a powerful tool and one which we have grown to very much appreciate!
Web Based Software
Reviewed on August 09, 2010 by Suzy Crisswell, System Administrator at Lifechurch.tv
Pros: Fellowship One is very beneficial for multi site churches because it is web based so no matter where we are, we are accessing the same database. As people visit from campus to campus there is always assurance that their information is there.
The Contact items piece is great to help keep people from following through the cracks when attending. This information helps the staff keep in touch with visitors and their interests.
Recent updates have made the software much more user friendly and more functional
Cons: Initial use of the software was not as easy as it is now. Improvements have made the software much more user friendly.
Overall: As improvements on this software are completed, this becomes more and more a critical element for churches, especially mullti site churches.
Fellowship One Champion
Reviewed on July 17, 2010 by Dan Lott, Fellowship One Champion at Bayside Church
Pros: Fellowship One is a very extensive church management system that allows usage both in and out of the church office. The online giving/event registration have increased efficiency and accuracy with our attendees contributions and sign-ups. Group email has allowed us to significantly increase communications to a large attendee base. The extensive reporting has given us information to understand, target, and communicate with relevant audiences at Bayside.
Cons: As a very functional system Fellowship One requires a user to understand the parts of the system to be used.
Overall: Fellowship One is the best functional system for large or dynamic churches. It is best used when a church understands what information is important to their ministry, concentrates on that information, and makes the commitment to learning and understanding the system.
Makes ministry easier
Reviewed on June 29, 2010 by Matt McConnell, Technology Director at Park Chapel Christian Church
Pros: * Stable, web based product with no server management time
* Product shows continual improvement in reliability and user experience
* Strong user community support via the Experience website
* Great staff support from the Fellowship Tech team
* Contacts feature has been invaluable in helping us minister to our growing congregation.
Cons: * Reporting is muddy and takes more time than it should to get the data you are looking for.
* Interaction with our website needs improvement. Its kind of clunky and not on par with web services available today.
* On the bright side of the cons, there is no doubt to us that Fellowship Tech sees the weaknesses in both of these environments and is making great progress improving them. We are excited about the future!
Overall: Fellowship Technologies is a great team to work with and I would highly recommend Fellowship One.
Streamlines our ministry processes
Reviewed on June 23, 2010 by Aaron Goin, Finance Director at Faith Promise Church
Pros: Consolidates people data across ministry areas
Eliminates all manual process related to online giving
Allows for online event registration and payment
Easily maintain and monitor small groups and their attendance
Self Checkin for volunteers and children for weekend services and other events
Overall eliminates inefficiencies in data collection and maintenance
Cons: While reporting is very good, it is often challenging to find the right report without contacting Fellowship Technologies for assistance.
Overall: I would highly recommend this solution as it fully combines data from all ministries into one database. You can access all data for one person or household in a single screen. Activities such as online giving, event registration and small group attendance are automatically posted to the system and no manual process is required. Ultimately, FellowshipOne allows us to do effective ministry without the burdens of manual processes.
Great Product! Can't wait to see what's next!!
Reviewed on June 22, 2010 by Debbie Doell, Fellowship One Coordinator at Cornerstone Fellowship
Pros: *The trainings are easy to understand and can be viewed over and over
*Addition of Best Practices and examples of processes is very helpful. Less of a learning curve when you have the benefit of other's experience.
*We can see who's attending (or no longer attending), who's serving, who's giving and how (if) they're growing spiritually.
*We can provide necessary follow-up care for our congregants based on information in their profile.
*We are using Groups 2.0 beta and it's amazing. We will be able to connect more people into groups than ever before. Can't imagine trying to do this using a spreadsheet!
*FT encourages customer suggestions and feedback. Beta testing opportunities give churches the ability to have a voice in product functionality.
*Yearly conference is a great way to learn, connect, and generate user enthusiasm.
Cons: *Finding reports takes time
*Merging duplicates from new accounts is tedious & takes many steps to complete.
*Would like to see more advanced trainings available online (i.e.: Adv activity set-up)
*I wasn't here for the implementation (2005) and have rated the implementation review based on staff feedback. The process has changed since then and I'm sure has improved but I'm giving honest feedback based on our experience.
*Ease-of-use is getting better but we would like F1 to be more intuitive especially for the non-tech pastors.
*F1 is not integrated with Planning Center and our worship team info is not consistently up-to-date.
Overall: I have seen tremendous growth and improvement in Fellowship One over the past 4 years. The staff at Fellowship Tech are extremely hardworking and committed to meeting the needs of churches. Many go above and beyond and that is the "heart" of FT. I am excited about what is yet to come!
F1 Database Review after 2 years
Reviewed on June 02, 2010 by Cecilia Van Voorhees, Business Manager at St. John's Episcopal Church
Pros: 1. Has more functions than we would ever use, so we will never grow out of it.
2. Web hosted is great for us.
*we don't have to worry about mainting the software on our server.
*we can access it from anywhere we have internet.
3. Iphone Application is great for the priests.
4, Great for the parish to be able to see their information online.
5. Great for anyone to give money online.
Cons: 1. Haven't been able to get the staff onboard fully to use it as well as intended.
2. Sign ups don't work that well. People are choosing to use google groups or other ways to share files and calendars. Groups 2.0 may help here. I just signed us up for that.
3. It would be nice to have a representative come visit us either just after implementation or 1 year after.
4. It would be nice if there were packages for the different sizes of churches. We are about 450 people attendance with 5 paid staff people. Our needs are much different than the 10,000 weekly attendance churches. We have to learn everything even if we aren't using it in order to figure out what we need to know. If there was a package for training and online that would be awesome.
5. Too many reports.
Overall: 1. It would be nice to have a representative come visit us either just after implementation or 1 year after.
2. It would be nice if there were packages for the different sizes of churches. We are about 450 people attendance with 5 paid staff people. Our needs are much different than the 10,000 weekly attendance churches. We have to learn everything even if we aren't using it in order to figure out what we need to know. If there was a package for training and online that would be awesome.
3, Customize reports by type of religion, size of church and their requirements. We do perochial reports yearly, so there could be standardized reports for the episcopal church to meet this requirement.
Great product and awesome staff!
Reviewed on June 02, 2010 by Ann Barbaria, Database Administrator at Victory Church.tv
Pros: We are a large church with a weekend attendance of 6 to 8 thousand and currently have four campuses in two states. As we grew it became more and more difficult to keep good information on our congregation in order to serve them best. With Fellowship One we now share all information between all our pastors in a quick timely manner. We can tell at a glance who may have fallen down in their attendance, giving, etc or if there has been a recent hospitalization in their family therefore may need a call to see if everything is well with them. Great tool for scheduling and tracking volunteers and small groups. You may make some or all of this confidential and still be able to use volunteers to do data entry without access to the confidential areas. It has been a great experience working with all the staff at Fellowship Technologies.
Cons: My only negative is that there are so many reports, well over 1,000, that I have trouble sometimes finding just the report that will give me the information the I need. The ones I use all the time I save to My Reports but sometimes I need a little different criteria. They are always willing to help with a report but I just don't always have the time to wait. The pros definitely out weigh the cons in every way.
Overall: I would recommend the product and the team. Great tool to help your church and your staff to build the kingdom of God. F1 is consistently improving and upgrading the system. Working with them has been a rich rewarding experience.
Dont know what you want here
Reviewed on June 01, 2010 by Todd Colucy, Director of Business Operations at NewPointe
Pros: Great system to track our people and their involvement in our church
Cons: Would like to see the user interface cleaned up more
Overall: I'd highly recommend this product