When you're swimming in administrative work for your chorus, it can be hard to step back and look at the whole picture. Does the administrative work you are doing make sense? Can you improve existing processes to help automate your workload? Should you look into technology, like choir management software, to help carry the administrative burden?
The first step is to determine whether choir management software is something you need. Here are eleven definitive signs that choir management software is right for you!
You're Manually Entering Member Data in Multiple Places
Are you manually entering member data into a spreadsheet and Google Groups and a donor management system and a chorus roster and an attendance sheet and section forums and more? That's a lot of "ands!" Choir management software can help you consolidate that data in one place. With it, you can enter the member data in one central database and then watch the system automatically distribute that information across to other modules such as an attendance tracker, concert roster, member directory, group emails lists, riser charts, and more.
You Don't Have a Secure Online File Storage Environment
Nonprofit choruses are primarily run with the help of volunteers who work remotely with their personal computers/equipment. Therefore, it is relatively common that files are stored on local computers (or even worse - paper files!) and not in a shared online environment. If you haven't migrated your volunteers' and staff's documents over to a shared online environment, this should be a top priority for you! Luckily, most choir management software, like Chorus Connection, have a dedicated file storage environment for your chorus. The environment is already set up for you; all you need to do is add your files, organize by folders, and decide which of your members/volunteers have access to view the files!
You're Sick of Reply Alls
Do your singers lack basic email etiquette? Are you living in a "reply all" nightmare? Choir management software gives you the ability to shut down this nonsense and set up specific email privileges for your users.
You Have Multiple Concert Rosters
Managing concert rosters can be challenging. Some singers might tell their section leader that they're dropping a concert, others tell the director, and some may not tell anyone at all before concert day! If you have multiple people keeping track of your concert roster or if you have different spreadsheets tracking this information, then it's time to consolidate this information in one place. Choir management software can do this for you. With Chorus Connection, you can even export your concert roster with the singers' formal names for printing in your programs!
Your Riser Chart Looks Like a 3-Year-Old Drew It
Don't get me wrong, that drawing is beautiful... but it's not good enough for your riser charts. If you're still taking pictures of your group to remember riser positions, if you're still having to print off your roster on index cards and move them around, if you can't tell if your handwriting says "Allen" or "Ellen"... stahp. Just stahp. Riser charts are made easier with choir management software. Drag-and-drop your singers into place and arrange by height, section, or however you choose.
Your Singers Don't Have a Chat Forum
If your chorus doesn't have a place to build a community - such as an online forum or Facebook group - then it might be time to get one! Choir management software typically offers some type of bulletin board or forum perfect for building your chorus community and allows for singers to subscribe to the topics they care most about. This can help clean up unwanted emails and give singers a space to share their personal events, exciting news, and more.
Your Attendance Tracking Method Sucks
Tracking certainly attendance isn't a requirement. But, for some choruses it can be an important metric for establishing singer rehearsal expectations. Before you go and create the umpteenth excel spreadsheet for attendance tracking, first try pre-built attendance tracking modules in choir management software to see if these solve your attendance needs.
You're Struggling to Retain Singers
As I've mentioned before, choir management software can help build a sense of community within your choral organization. With help of the member directory and the bulletin board, singers can build a deeper connection with each other outside of choir activities. This personal connection and sense of community can help onboard new singers effectively and keep more singers around for the long haul.
You Still Collect Payments Offline
If you're still collecting payments for singer dues and music offline, you should know there's a better way. Welcome to the 21st (anyone else seen Travelers on Netflix?!). With choir management software, you can set up all of your payments within the platform. It can handle member dues, music fees, travel package costs, and more. In Chorus Connection, the system automatically reminds your singers to make their required payments and administrators can keep track of payments with out-of-the-box payment reports.
Your Singers Still Don't Know Their Music (At Concert Week!!!)
You're Spending More Time on Administration Than on Making Music
We all work for choruses because making music is important to us. So when the administration piece takes more time than the actual making of music, it's time to consider looking for help. Perhaps choir management software's most important "feature" is that it helps you keep doing what you love most: making beautiful music!
If you are the unfortunate recipient of any of the signs listed above, choir management software might be right for you. Sign up for a free trial of Chorus Connection to see how it can alleviate these signs.
Tori Cook is the former Director of Sales & Marketing at Chorus Connection. She sings with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and is a board member of the Greater Boston Choral Consortium. In a past life, she was the Music Director of the Harborlight Show Chorus and President of Chorus pro Musica in Boston. When not making music, she daydreams about adopting a golden retriever puppy and scuba diving to exotic locations around the world.