How to take a Census of your church members.

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How to take a Census of your church members.

Periodically updating the member's records in your CMS Membership System will help you in more accurate reporting in lists, labels, and directories.  You can reduce the amount of postage by eliminating mailing to those who don't consider

Start by sending out a simple, and cheap!, postcard (with return postage) to each family in your database saying something simply "We are in the process of updating our records.  Do you consider yourself a member of our church?  Yes/No" 

Hopefully, you will get a flood of postcards back and you can very quickly eliminate those people who have been entered in your database for years who don't even consider themselves members anymore!  But honestly, you can expect about 30-50% return.  But it will still hopefully save you a couple hours of work in the end!

When you get your postcards back of those who don't consider themselves members, flag them for Removal in the system.  See Delete vs. Remove, what's the difference? for more information.

Create a new Household Custom Code in your System called "Census" (use the Code, not the Text or Date fields).   Create a listing of codes for the progression of the Census.  Something like:

And as you mail out your Postcards, then start to receive them, then mail out your Census Forms, and start to receive them, etc. you can track each family to see which ones have completed the Census and which ones need a bit more prodding!

Next, you can Create Census Forms from CMS that you can mail out to those people who returned the Postcard Yes and Blank, and send them a Census Form to fill out.

From CMS Membership, click Reports | Household | Record.

Click the Change Report Format button in the upper right corner and select one of the Census or Registration Forms

Click the House Additional Selections | House Custom Codes | Census | and choose Postcards Yes and Blank. OK | OK | OK and Print.

This will give you a one page sheet per family that you can mail out and have each family fill in the blanks and send it back to you.

Using Speed Update, update the Census Custom Code to Census Form Mailed 1st Attempt to everyone who got a Census Form.

This is also a good time to send out any "Time and Talent" forms if you wanted people to sign up for various activities and classes in the church.

Some churches will couple their Census Form with a Contributor Statement... one mailed out in October/November also reminds the members that end of year is fast approaching and they may want to increase their contributions before time runs out!

When you get the Census Forms back from your members and you update their information, update their Census Custom Code to Census Form Returned/Updated so you know who you don't have to bug again!

Eventually, you'll probably want to send out another Registration form to all of those people who didn't return one yet.  Don't forget to Speed Update their Census Custom Code to Census Mailed Out 2nd Attempt.

Finally, you may end up simply calling those people who STILL haven't returned the call, then you can change that code to the Filled in by Staff.

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Last Modified:Friday, September 12, 2008
Last Modified By: Mary Breault
Type: Information Article
Level: Intermediate
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