Planning services, selecting songs and schedule volunteers can be daunting tasks. The problems only get worse as multiple services and multiple locations enter the picture. Thankfully, there are two great sites that can help you out. One site has been around for a while and one site is relatively new.
In many ways, Planning Center Online (http://planningcenteronline) is the gold standard in this niche category. I’m not 100% percent sure they invented the category but they certainly were the first ones to popularize it and get it in to the mainstream.
PCO was originally all about just planning the service. Later, it became a lot more volunteer centric but you still get the feel that it works better for the planners than for those doing the leg work.
All in all, it’s an outstanding service that many churches love.
Elvanto (http://elvanto.com) is the new kid on the block. The service hails from Australia and packs quite a punch. It’s sophisticated and elegant at the same time.
It’s clear that this service is designed with more of an eye towards the volunteers themselves. It has a robust blogging system built into the site that allows for a lot of communication with all the folks that will be making the service happen.
Although the site just came out of beta, it seems to have a very mature feature set. Like PCO, it can handle multiple service times at multiple locations easily. Just like PCO, you can select songs for the services and assign different team members or entire departments to each service.
To get a better idea of this new site’s features, check out this video…
Which service is best? Well, that depends on what you’re looking for. PCO obviously has the most mature feature set and the iPhone app is pretty awesome. Elvanto seems to have a better built in communication system though. If communication (or over communicating) with your volunteers is a priority for you then Elvanto is probably going to work best for you. Either way, a little healthy competition in this category is a good thing, IMHO.
Neither service is free* but they both offer free trials so check them and let us know what you think.
(*Elvanto actually offers a free version but it only supports 10 volunteers.)