By Gina Calvert

The Ideal ChMS + Giving Combo

Some people think the ideal ChMS + Giving Combo is an all-in-one product from one provider. They reason that it reduces the number of vendors they have to deal with and provides the best overall value and experience. It seems to imply equal quality of both platforms and native (and therefore robust) integration between them.

But is this true?

A True Story About ChMS + Giving Combos

Someone asked us recently why we were competing for customers with one of our long-time integrated partners, a ChMS provider that had recently added a giving solution to their offerings.

What a great question!

Here’s our answer: The provider had allowed us to build a robust and semi-bidirectional integration between its ChMS and the Vision2 giving system for one important reason: YOUR FREEDOM OF CHOICE.

They wisely enable their ChMS customers to create the best ChMS + Giving combo for their specific needs and goals, even if it means choosing another giving provider.

This is the basis of an open ecosystem of integrated, best-in-class products. But there is an enemy to this ideal ecosystem.

The Problem of Revolving Software Ownership and the “Turtling Effect”

In the gaming industry, “turtling” is a strategy where a player focuses on building up his defenses rather than going on the offensive.

Kingsley Allen, one of our software engineers, explained in a recent blogpost how this dynamic can play out in the software industry: “Companies can easily fall into the trap of ‘playing defense,’ where the focus becomes protecting what they have built instead of completely re-imagining how they could help their customers solve problems. It’s natural to not want to risk what you have, but that is not how you grow or participate in massive positive change.”

In the last decade, you’ve seen turtling play out with almost every type of software solution in the faith space (ChMS, giving, accounting, etc.) through constant mergers, acquisitions and sunsetted solutions. The goal of this game of musical chairs is the hope of winning your business through the promise of that elusive “all-in-one” solution that will make your back office sing.

It’s well-intentioned. Unfortunately, it can result in mandated connections, implied limitations, so-called integrations or being cut off from a platform that is no longer available to the general market unless you switch all your other platforms.

The loser in all this is the church. You lose your right to choose. You end up with cobbled-together solutions that aren’t built to be natively secure. Your all-in-one may have a checklist of all the things you want, but some of those features may barely receive internal support because the vendor’s focus (rightly so) is on their core offering. And you never know the future of the secondary giving platforms your ChMS offers.

The Vision2 Perspective

Personally, we think all church-serving organizations should partner to offer freedom of choice through this open ecosystem of integrated, best-in-class solutions.

Vision2 provides a comprehensive, media-rich giving experience for givers, back-office staff and ministry leaders. Our growth strategy is:

  • Unparalleled customer service (2022 average CSAT score of 98% and time-to-first response under 1 minute)
  • Continuous innovation
  • New partnerships and integrations that make your job easier

Kingsley finished his earlier observation this way: “What I love most about Vision2 is the wide-open opportunity to help the church, and the freedom to imagine how best to do that. We at Vision2 have not delivered all we want yet, but we have big ideas that can reshape how the church engages with their people, and we have given ourselves permission to think and act boldly in order to do that.”

These are just a few thoughts to keep in mind as you explore the best ChMS + Giving combo for your church in 2023.

We’d love to chat with you about it.