Having used almost every Planning Center product, there is nothing else that I would recommend. Our entire team uses it weekly for worship, planning, check-ins, de-briefing through reports, congregant database, volunteer team emails, and so much more. Planning Center does a fantastic job and only keeps improving.
The ease of use is its best feature. Ease in adding people, features, reports, etc. is unmatched in the industry. Also, Planning Center has a modern look and feel that many of its competitors lack. The worship software with the SongSelect integration, planning tools, database, key management, ability to add various media, etc. it is a must-have product for any church that values communication, strategic planning, and excellence. Every Planning Center Product that I have and continue to use remains the standard for church management software.
Running reports in "People" is cumbersome and time-consuming to get to the exact information you are looking for. It takes a thorough amount of trial and error to extrapolate the intended data by getting the variables just right.
Likelihood to recommend: 10/10
I was the XP at a church that used Planning Center. I went to another church that used one of their main competitors. After 18 months, we are on Planning Center. I'm much happier and the rest of the staff is much happier. I think that pretty well sums it up.
When we switched from our previous software to Planning Center, I worked with our staff to see how it was going. The responses I got were always akin to "well, it is frustrating learning a new system...but this is better than what we were on." Basically, in one or two days our staff was less frustrated with Planning Center than they were continually with a system we had been on for three years. As we've been on it longer, the frustrations have decreased and the benefit to our church has increased. Moving to Planning Center has been the best organizational choice we've made in a long time. Oh, and it is about $100 (33%) cheaper each month. And that's on month-to-month vs an annual contract with the old guys. And when our online giving agreement runs out and we switch the Planning Center giving, we'll save another $200 or so a month. And their support is incredible, typically responding within an hour (vs 2 business days on the old platform).
To my understanding, Planning Center set out to make a great stand alone tool for Check Ins, a great tool for Registrations, a great tool for Giving, etc...to do this, they set up separate development teams for each module. I understand this, having worked with some tools that started as a great online director or great giving tool or great event tool and tried to expand to do much more. The result is often complicated bloat. I do think Planning Center's model largely avoided this because each thing has to stand on its own. In my estimation, I'd like to see some tweaks to certain modules, but overall each of them accomplishes what I need. The one drawback to this, though, is that the tools don't integrate quite as tightly as I'd like. Everything talks back to their People module, but sometimes it would be good to have them talk to each other a little more. E.g., when we set up an event in Check In, we also have to go into the Calendar module to set up the event to request the room. This can be a bit of a hassle. To be fair, it does seem like they are moving in this direction with new features, so hopefully their biggest weakness (to me) will continue to shrink! But, again...this is minor compared to the frustrations I've had with other systems. I've been on ones that I hated even logging into because I knew I was going to get mad. I genuinely like using Planning Center.
Likelihood to recommend: 10/10
At this point, it is used in a minimal way, to lay out our order of service and schedule 2 ministry teams out of the 10+ teams that serve at each of our services.
Makes scheduling and organizing our order of service very simple for the administration team. When an item such as teaching changes from 30 minutes to 40 minutes, the modifications are easy to implement without having to recalculate the time of day from one item to the next. When that same item is moved someplace else in the order of service it's a simple drag and drop and all times for the service are automaticallly adjusted.
Not a great tool for our volunteers. The scheduling module is a little difficult to train volunteers to use. They all give it a shot but most revert to using excel spreadsheets. Report templates, unless you are an html programmer, aren't flexible enough to give me the layout I am looking for. We tried to use it to check in our children but the unreliability of connecting and printing name tags caused huge delays, aggravated our parents and frustrated the volunteers. I am advised they have resolved that problem, however, due to their prior experience our children's church isn't willing to give it another chance.
Thanks for the review! Our support team is able to help you with some parts of coding those reports if you'd like to reach out to them for help, and give them an example of how you would like your report to look. They would also be able to give you some tips for making scheduling volunteers easier in Services.
Sorry to hear that hardware issues were keeping your Children's Ministry from using Check-Ins efficiently. If they're willing to give it a second chance in the future, we'll be glad to help troubleshoot those problems up front.
Likelihood to recommend: 5/10
We're increasing engagement to and from our congregation. Adding these additional subscriptions has improved the ways we interact with our church community.
Our church has used Planning Center Services for some time, but we recently made the move to Planning Center Giving and Groups. What a difference for our staff and congregation! This platform is user friendly, very intuitive. The move from our previous software was done with ease.
If I were to list any cons it would really be nitpicking. We are very satisfied with our overall experience.
Hey Tanya - thanks so much for the review! So grateful we've made life easier for your staff and congregation!
Don't hesitate to reach out if you have questions. :-)
Likelihood to recommend: 10/10
Planning Center has streamlined our ministry operations and has allowed us the freedom to operate in a way that helps grow smaller churches into larger ones without skipping a beat.
Planning Center Online (PCO) has been amazing for our church over these last several years. PCO Services gives us what we need to schedule and plan our Sunday services without any trouble. We love the templates that PCO allows us to set up in order to duplicate a service style easily. Easter and Christmas every year are a breeze with PCO Services. We also use PCO Giving, Check-In, People, and Groups as our foundation of running the behind the scenes of our ministry. The user interface (UI) of each module is similar and easy to use, understand, and follow. I tell pastors about PCO all the time. Especially the People account, which is Free!
I do wish that PCO would create an app for each of its modules, such as groups. It would be a little easier for a Small Group Leader to access all that PCO Groups has to offer without having to open a computer. Also, the cost of each module seems to be adding up quickly. A "small church" with a tight budget may be put off by the cost. However, I can say that it is worth every penny if that church is a planning church.
Likelihood to recommend: 9/10
A 30-day free trial is available after which the product is available on module-based pricing outlined below.
Calendar (10 rooms, unlimited events) - starts at $14
Check-ins (50 daily check-ins) - starts at $14
Giving (100 monthly donations) - starts at $14
Groups (125 group members) - starts at $14
Publishing - starts at $14
Registrations (20 event attendees) - starts at $14
Services (25 team members) - starts at $14