Process Tracking

Many churches have processes (a pre-defined set of steps) that they go through for discipleship, follow-up, or membership. For example, when someone visits your church for the first time, you may have a series of steps that you take to follow-up on this person and invite them to return. You might also have a series of classes that potential members attend before joining your church, or a series of steps that people go through in your discipleship process.

These steps represent your processes--and keeping track of that is something that we can help you with! ChurchTrac's Process Tracking feature allows you to define the steps in a process, then track a person's progression through those steps. But it's more than just a list of steps that you check-off.

ChurchTrac can help you by performing automated actions along the way--like sending emails, creating tasks and reminders, recording notes, updating fields, and sending text messages. Initially, you'll want to identify your processes and clearly define the steps for each process. Each process will have a series of steps that are to be executed in a certain order and within a certain time frame. For the process to be completed, all the steps will typically be checked off as completed. (Completion of all the steps indicates completion of the process).

It's important that you clearly define your processes and steps on paper first before you begin using ChurchTrac to track these processes. It's a good idea to meet with your leaders and brainstorm what you want your processes to look like if you don't already have them clearly defined.

You'll also need to determine who is responsible for ensuring that each step of a process is completed. With some processes, your leadership and volunteers will be the ones completing the process steps. An example of this is when your leadership checks off a series of steps to follow up on a guest or new member.

At other times your congregation or members will have to perform the necessary steps to complete a process. An example of this is when new members are required to attend a series of classes, or when progressing through a discipleship program.

Creating new processes and steps

Once you have identified the processes that you want to track and defined the steps for those processes, next you can begin entering these processes and steps into the program. To create a new Process, click on "Process Setup" on the People Screen toolbar. This will open the Process Setup window.

A good process is simple to follow, and has between 3 and 5 sequential steps.

Adding actions to your steps

Once you have your process steps entered into the system, you can then add one or more Actions to each step. An Action is something the software does for you whenever a step's status is changed to "In Progress" or "Completed". Here's a list of all the available actions that can be performed:

  • Send an email to one of your ChurchTrac user account
  • Send an email to the person going through this process
  • Create a new Note (you can choose the Note Category and type a message)
  • Create a new Task (which can be assigned to one of your user accounts)
  • Update a User-Defined field (select which field to update and choose a new value for that field)
  • Update a Built-In Field (you can change the Membership Status, Active Status, and Age Category fields)
  • Add the Person to a Tag
  • Remove the Person from a Tag

Remember that Steps are performed (or checked off) by people, but Actions are performed by the software in response to those steps. Actions are triggered whenever the status of a Step changes. You can add one or more Actions to each Step of your process by clicking "Add This Action" under the step name. This will open the Action window where you will configure your actions:

This dialog window allows you to choose the Action you want to perform, as well as the trigger for the Action. You'll also specify any "variables" that are needed for your Action. For example, an Email action will prompt you for a subject and message body, and a Task action will prompt you for a project and task name. Here's an example of what a five-step Guest Follow-Up Process might look like:

  • Step 1: Send a Welcome letter from the Pastor
  • Step 2: Have someone on staff call this person
  • Step 3: Print information sheet for the Outreach team
  • Step 4: Outreach Team Visit Completed
  • Step 5: Assign the Person to a Sunday School Class
Although you may want to have more than 5 steps in a process--just be careful that your process doesn't become too complicated. A good process is one that is simple enough so that it is actually do-able!

Having a process with clearly defined steps like this can be extremely helpful. Now look at this same example, with Actions added to each Step:

  • Step 1: Send a Welcome letter from the Pastor
    • Action: On Completion: Create a new Note (Pastor Letter Sent)
  • Step 2: Have someone on staff call this person
    • Action: On In-Progress: Create a new Task for Mike (Follow-up with Jim Smith at 555-123-9987)
    • Action: On Completion: Send a text message to the Pastor
  • Step 3: Print information sheet for the Outreach team
    • On Completion: Send a text message to the Visitation Team leader)
  • Step 4: Outreach Team Visit Complete
    • On Completion: Update User-Defined Field (Date Visit Completed)
  • Step 5: Assign the Person to a Sunday School Class
    • Action: On Completion: Send an Email to Sunday School Director

As you can see, the addition of Actions to your process helps to ensure communication is consistent, and that all steps are assigned and completed.

Remember:Steps are things that people do Actions are things that the software does for you, and status changes trigger the Actions.

Many of the Actions support automatic variables that change based on the person going through the process. For example, you can set up an Email Action and type {Name} into the body of your Email template. When sending the email, the program will automatically replace {Name} with the person's name. You can also use {Address}, {Phone}, and {Email}, and the application will automatically replace these variables with the actual values.

Using your created process

Now that you have defined the steps of your process and set up the actions that you want to happen with each step, you can begin tracking a person's progression through the steps of your process. You'll do this by selecting a person's name on the People Screen, then click on the Processes tab. If this individual is already participating in a process, you'll be able to view and track their progress through those processes. Otherwise, you can begin tracking a new process by selecting the process you want to track from the list:

When you begin a process for this person, the application brings over the Process that you created to this person. A Due Date for each Step will be created as well based on your Process settings. Each Step in the Process will be displayed, as well as the Actions associated with each Step. As this individual begins or completes a Step, you can update the Status column to show their progress.

There are no built-in reports for processes. You will need to use a Smart List to identify names within a Process or Step.

There are several new Smart List options to help you generate reports relating to your Processes. For each Process you can create a Smart List that shows:

  • Everyone who is in a specific Process
  • Those who have completed a specific Process
  • Those who have not completed a specific Process

Additionally, you can create Smart Lists to show people who are "In Progress" on a certain Step within a Process, or who have "Completed" a Step within a Process. Once you have created a Smart List with the criteria you want to use, you can then print a built-in a report, generate a custom report, or use the messaging features on the names that match your criteria.