Have you ever heard the phrase, “it takes money to make money?” Well sometimes, it takes money to save money. As technology evolves, it offers us the increasingly commonplace opportunity to buy our way into efficiency, productivity, and increased savings. Whether we’re talking about air conditioning and electricity, or time management and productivity, the right tools can save your church substantial amounts of cash. So let’s get right into it here and look at the ten apps and products that will save your church money.
#1 ecobee 3 smart thermostat
This thermostat will save you money on heating and air conditioning. Depending on the size of your facility, it could save you quite a substantial amount of money. There’s no reason you shouldn’t grab one of these things for your house either because the savings at home can be just as noticeable.
The ecobee 3 is an amazing little thermostat with a lot of intelligence. It connects to your church’s wifi network so you can monitor and control the temperature from your iPhone or computer. This is delightfully convenient for making temperature changes on the fly without needing to take a walk to the thermostat, but this is only the beginning of this little thermostat’s smarts. The ecobee 3 utilizes a touch screen for wall control. So you can lock your ecobee 3 thermostats remotely, keeping unwanted thermostat changes from occurring every time an usher starts to sweat on Sunday morning.
On top of all this, the ecobee 3 allows you to create a complex schedule surrounding when you need your facility heated or cooled. You can individually customize each day of the week, and individual hours of the day, to ensure that your facility is the right temperature when you need it to be without wasting money all the other times.
The ecobee 3 is quite a fancy device, though. It can detect occupancy where the device itself it located, and using remote sensors that can be dispersed into multiple locations that are heated and cooled by the same unit. For example, if your church offices are set to be heated between 9 am and 5 pm while the staff is working, the heat would kick on and warm the place up to whatever temperature you set. However, if no one is occupying that space because the staff is off for a holiday, or out of the office for a retreat, the ecobee 3 will intelligently determine that the heat doesn’t need to be active. This can lead to quite a bit of savings.
One final feature worth mentioning is the ability to monitor the temperature in multiple areas using ecobee’s remote sensors. Each remote sensor is capable of giving temperature data to the main thermostat unit. So let’s say you have a nursery area in your church that is regulated by one HVAC system and thermostat. The thermostat may be in the hallway, while each of the five classrooms off that hall are controlled by the hallway thermostat.
That thermostat would usually heat or cool based solely on the temperature of the hallway, but ecobee’s sensors can be placed in each of those five classrooms so that the system knows to regulate average temperature until each of those classrooms have a desirable environment. This can be a real life-saver for buildings that have been renovated or retrofitted multiple times to the point of having multiple HVAC units controlling multiple spaces.
I use this in my house, and it’s terrific. It has saved me about 24% on my electric bill so far in the summer months, and I have no doubt that it will also offer a substantial savings in the winter. Once you go ecobee 3, you’ll never go back.
#2 elvanto people management system
We have been in love with Elvanto for a long time. This Australian based church management system had caught our eye before they had even created a complete system because their vision for church management was so compelling. Elvanto does all the things you would expect from a church management system (CMS) but does so with poise and simplicity that you just can’t find elsewhere.
I like to look at Elvanto like this; it’s the teenager in the world of church management systems that has an incredibly bright future ahead of it. Standing on the shoulders of the solutions that came before it, Elvanto pairs down the many thousands of features found in the confusing CMS you’re probably using now, and then simplifies them into a simple feature set that any staff member or volunteer can understand. If Apple made a church management system, this would be how it worked.
Plus, Elvanto is probably substantially less expensive than the CMS you are currently using. Starting at $60/month, Elvanto’s solution comes in at around $210 for a church of 1500 people. That’s the deal of a lifetime when you’ve been paying $1000 or more for your CMS every month.
Also, Elvanto has great dedicated mobile apps for IOS and Android. Check it out here!
#3 refurbished apple products
We’re constantly surprised how few people know about Apple’s refurbished product program which offers their products in new condition for substantial discounts. When you combine this discount with the fact that you’re already not paying taxes on purchases, you can save as much as 35% when compared to a typical consumer that buys a product from Apple. These products come with the same great warranty, and they are absolutely indiscernible from a brand new Apple product.
You can find everything Apple sells in a refurbished state. iPads, iPhones, Macs, and iPods are all on sale with their steep refurbished discounts attached. So the next time you’re in the market for an Apple product, skip the Apple Store and head right on over to their refurbished product page to see what kind of deal you can snatch up.
#4 premium beat royalty free music
If you’re at a creative church that’s always producing video content for events, weekend worship, and promotions, you’re going to need to check out PremiumBeat. Usually, when you find a royalty free music site, you end up paying well over $150 for a track with a non-profit license. On the contrary, when you find anything less expensive than this, the quality is usually quite sub-par. This is why we love PremiumBeat so much. Their songs and tracks cost about $30 but have the feel and quality of $200 cinematic royalty free music.
This isn’t simply a money saver because it’s a cost-effective alternative to expensive royalty free music websites. It’s a money saver because churches with a strong emphasis on creativity often feel as if they need to create every video song and track in-house, so it has a custom feel. PremiumBeat can free up your in-house producer’s time to do more important work like team building and planning because of the excellent quality of their tracks.
We’ve all heard of the home sharing service, Airbnb. However, it’s not simply a service to be used for young families going on vacation. Airbnb has many professional uses, and it can end up saving your church quite a bit of money.
The next time you’re planning on having a guest in town to speak on the weekend, or at an event you’re planning, check our Airbnb before you jump to the conclusion of getting them a hotel room. Airbnb can usually offer nicer, more comfortable, and more affordable accommodations for your guests than most hotels are able. Check the reviews, make sure the neighborhood is kosher business, and triple check availability for the dates you need. If everything lines up, borrowing someone else’s home for your guest and their entourage may end up being a premium cost effective alternative to traditional hotel arrangements.
This isn’t just for guests you invite to your church, though; it’s also great for traveling staff members. Consider saving some money and renting a large house for your staff to stay in the next time they’re heading off to a conference together. Traveling expenses can be cut down exponentially when using Airbnb. Plus, Airbnb means you have the amenities of home while you’re traveling. It’s a real life saver having a kitchen and a second bathroom sometimes when you’re on a retreat.
Chief Executive Officer
TK has worked in the church for over a decade and brings years of executive leadership experience along with years of experience in media and technology. TK has a Masters in Public Administration and is an expert of navigating the minefield of procedural issues churches experience. He’s not quite so stuffy though; he is vibrantly creative and understands what it takes to create and plan a weekend from start to finish including video, music, and production.