The parish community of Notre Dame of Mt. Carmel has been a client of ours since 2014. They are using Regpack’s church registration software to manage their Faith Formation / Religious Education program, including the preparation and completion of Sacramental celebrations. Our admin forms feature is a huge benefit to Cristina Folan, the communications support coordinator, and her colleagues because it allows them to track important information about each child and each family with regards to their movement through the program. They enjoy that they are able to easily run reports and can communicate with families easily through the system.
Cristina was kind enough to chat with us about how Notre Dame of Mt. Carmel is using Regpack for church registration. Learn how she stumbled across Regpack after being disappointed with the lack of options for registration software specifically for churches and religious education needs. A big thank you to Cristina for taking the time to speak with us!
Tell me a bit about yourself and Notre Dame of Mt. Carmel.
My name is Cristina Folan and I’m the communications support coordinator for our parish. We are a Catholic church located in Cedar Knolls, NJ, and we have about 2,000 families. We are alive in the spirit and doing God’s mission of bringing others closer to Christ. And we do that through our celebration of liturgy, ministry, and in any possible way we can within and outside the walls of our parish.
What did your process look like before switching to Regpack?
We had a paper registration form which parents could download the form from our website or pick up copies of the registration in our parish office. They would fill it out and bring it back to our parish office. That information would be input manually into our church registration system which offered a component for religious education.
What about that process caused you to seek out an online church registration software solution?
Several things. Number one, inputting the information from the paper forms was time consuming. Entering all the data that the parents had typed out or written onto our system, took an enormous amount of time and increased probability of error. We also were looking to make the process more timely and convenient for parents. We knew that online was the way to accomplish that goal. Having the parents directly entering the information would immediately result in higher accuracy for our information and better timeliness for our process.
We also needed to improve our own administration of the system/information. The previous platform was cumbersome and not easy to use. Its reporting capabilities, filtering, emailing, etc were time consuming and not intuitive. We basically had to have an expert who knew how to do it but that expert wouldn’t always be available, so that added more time. It was just not convenient.
Did you consider any other registration software in addition to Regpack? What sold you on working with Regpack?
I researched quite a bit but unfortunately wasn’t able to find many products that were specific to a church or a Catholic church. There were similar products to what we already had in place but not something worth making a change. Coincidentally at that time, as we were looking to run another program here at ND, I came across a parish (Parish Community of St. Helen) using online registration and it caught my attention. I definitely liked what I saw. I contacted St. Helen’s and reached out to the DRE for more information regarding their registration system and how it was working for them. I liked what I heard. The DRE allowed me to experience the registration process myself as a test registrant. I liked it very much, I loved the flow and the logic. We followed up with a visit to St. Helen’s to hear more about it — we felt the process was impressive and a definite improvement of what we had. I did a little bit more research and eventually got my pastor’s approval. We then proceeded to move forward with implementing Regpack as our own online registration system for Faith Formation/Religious Education.
What are the benefits you’ve seen since switching to Regpack in terms of your communication with families?
It’s very simple. We can filter information very easily — by grade, by classroom, by completion of requirements, etc., and then we can follow up with email to that filtered set of families with just a couple more steps. We like that very much!
How are you using admin forms in the system? How was this benefited your workflow?
We use admin forms for the most part with our sacramental grades. For example 2nd grade is a year when children prepare for their First Holy Communion; there is information we have to track about each student or family and that’s where the admin forms come into play. For example: Have they submitted their baptism certificate? Have they completed the first reconciliation retreat? Did they receive First Reconciliation? Which Mass are they planning to attend for First Communion? Such information allows us to track and better manage the process of preparing them and ensuring that all the requirements are fulfilled. The same goes for Confirmation. We use the admin forms to track attendance, submission of their sponsor form, participation in required retreats, completion of service hours, etc.
What has the feedback been from parents using the system?
They definitely appreciate the convenience of being able to register online!
How has the customer service experience with Regpack been?
The system is very good and very reliable, we don’t run into problems frequently at all, which is good.
If you were talking with other religious organizations who are considering using a registration software, what advice would you give them? Would you recommend Regpack?
I would definitely recommend Regpack. The benefits are by far significant compared to what traditional church registration systems provide. Huge savings in terms of time and a definite improvement in the quality and completeness of the information held by the system. The ability to see the data through different filters and the reporting are extremely convenient; the ability to simply manage the data on hand is an excellent plus for our religious education program.