The dream of a single diocesan platform
Updated: 6 days ago
Consider the disparate platforms that are being used to support the work of most Catholic and Anglican diocese today. The most common are Excel spreadsheets on desktop computers, Google Sheets in the cloud owned by departments or individuals, Parish Soft for Chancery departments, Raiser's Edge for fundraising, SharePoint for facility management, Outlook folders for HR tracking, the list goes on infinitely.
Ever present is the vision of a consolidated data management platform that would be the single source of truth for all information related to constituents in the Diocesan orbit, whether parishioner or vendor.
Progress towards the stated vision is halting at best due to the sheer enormity of the undertaking. How could we ever amalgamate the Chancery's goal of tracking assignments and affiliations for clergy with the Fundraising team's need to track donations (one-time/recurring) and complex estate gifts from donors? Where does Ministries and Outreach data fit in with Safe Environment compliance records?
We at Meribah Flow have deep experience in the Diocesan environment and have thought deeply about the 360 degree view of constituents, how to implement such a multi-legged platform and how exactly to extract maximal value from the effort.
Our process is documented every step of the way, available for reference at any time, with detailed Stories that are organized by Epic, complete with Acceptance Criteria and Technical Solutions as well as Business Justifications. (link to example Jira Epic?) We map all the workflows for verification by stakeholders and often surface issues in existing processes as we painstakingly compile complete charts. (link to Miro chart examples, Tax Receipting and Safe Environment)
Key to adoption is users who feel heard, respected and valuable. To that end, we enter into guided discussions with departmental groups to gain their insight into the way they do their work and how our systems can help, plus assist in prioritization of features and functionality as ranked by the staff who are most impacted by the platform implementation. (link to Miro board M&O)
Strengthening the bonds between Diocese and Parish is a clear objective for us, achievable through well-documented, standardized, processes like financial reporting, volunteer management, "safe environments" screening, event registration, weekly offertory and centralized automated tax receipting.
Working with Meribah Flow is tapping into our "packages" of functionality, informed in a communal effort by our conversations with the entire user-base of what we're calling our MF360 program. As really good ideas surface for new features, and get boosted up the list by the community, we build them into our packages which can then be pushed out to every instance of Salesforce we manage, connected via this invisible conduit.
The dream of disparate Diocesan offices that share knowledge, lessons learned and technological innovation is attainable, and our goal is to make it reality.