If you're like most community choruses, you’ve probably pulled together a hodgepodge of tools throughout the years to manage your organization. And you may be getting to the point where you need something more robust to help you manage everything. So you have a decision to make: do you build something new yourself? Or do you purchase an existing solution, like choir management software?
It’s definitely worth considering building something yourself, especially if your organization has a unique operational structure, a big budget, or volunteers who are great with technology. But using an existing platform also has a number of advantages. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you evaluate your options.
No denying it, building something yourself gives you unparalleled flexibility. You can design something custom-made for your organization’s needs. Even the best off-the-shelf product isn’t likely to be a 100% perfect fit.
If you have experienced volunteers or staff who can build a system for free, that’s a good option cost-wise to consider. If that isn’t the case, building something from scratch means hiring a programmer. Depending on the complexity of your organization, this could easily end up costing you thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars.
If you can find an existing system that meets your needs, it’s almost a guarantee you’ll end up paying less.
If you get a volunteer or staff member to build your new system, you’re entirely dependent on that person for the ongoing success of the project. If/when that person leaves, it’ll be nearly impossible to make ongoing changes, and you’ll lose an enormous wealth of vital institutional knowledge.
Using an outside vendor can reduce the challenges and risk of volunteer and staff turnover. Of course, if the vendor goes out of business, you’ll be stuck with the same problem, so make sure you evaluate the stability of outside vendors before committing to a product.
If you build something yourself, making changes and upgrades will either cost you more money, or will be dependent on the already limited time of your volunteers or staff. If you use an outside vendor that has a track record of regular updates, you’ll benefit from new features and improvements without needing to do a thing. This is one of the big advantages of using an existing product.
If you build something yourself, you may have to wait for months (or years!) before you can start using the new system. With an existing product, you can get started right away!
There’s no one right answer for every organization, so do your homework to determine which direction makes the most sense for you. If you are interested in learning more about choir management software, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
Jacob is the founder of Chorus Connection and a proud member of the NYC Gay Men’s Chorus. A lifelong choir geek and tech geek, he loves marrying his passions to help community choruses run more efficiently. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!