1) Do I need to convert to ParishSOFT?
The directives from the Trusting in the Spirit diocesan strategic planning process, decided (over 5 years ago) that ParishSOFT would be used by all the parishes as their census database system. The Diocese of Madison, as a whole believes in the value of helping each parish to fulfill their directives from this planning process. One way we’ve chosen to assist parishes is in designating funds to cover the conversion and training costs for this software, so that as parishes switch to this software, it is as convenient and as affordable as possible.
2) What are the costs associated with the product?
While nothing is free, our goal is to to keep parish budgeting problems minimized. The diocese covering the initial cost of the conversion, training and first year of the software maintenance/licensing fees for the main components of ParishSOFT, to aid parishes in budgetting for their upcoming yearly costs. After the first year, each parish covers their license costs for ParishSOFT. Typical costs for registration/license fees are based on the number of Registered and Active parishioners in your parish with the smaller parishes having lower costs than the larger parishes.
3) How soon do we need to convert?
The Office of Planning is working on converting parishes as soon as possible. However, our goal is to work with the parishes to facilitate converting at as opportune a time as possible. Prior to converting your software, we will work on analyzing your computer system, arranging training, and helping you by analyzing your data so the conversion runs in a smooth manner.
4) Who is going to help with the conversion?
The Diocese has members who assist with the conversion and are your ready-resource when you have questions or problems. While you may always contact ParishSOFT to ask questions, we believe in assisting as much as possible before, during and after your conversion. For specific ParishSOFT questions please contact us at 821-3149, or through email at: ParishsoftContact@MadisonDiocese.org
5) How do I get ready to convert my data?
Typically it is best that parishes clean up and learn where new data should go in their new system, so usually no prior cleaning up your data is necessary. However, if your data is not in any electronic format (a database, Excel, etc), you may need to re-key some data. If this is the case and there is specific information outside of your database or you do not keep electronic records, please contact the Diocese to find out what is necessary prior to your conversion.
6) Will we need a server?
It is not necessary or mandatory for a parish to have a server. Smaller parishes can typically utilize the equipment they currently have, but larger parishes will see more benefit in having a server. Our Information Technology (IT) staff will work with you to determine the specific needs for your parish and can offer suggestions.
7) I have a computer with Vista. Will that be a problem?
No. ParishSOFT can operate within a Vista environment.
8) We have Macintosh computers. Will that be a problem?
Yes. ParishSOFT can not operate in a Mac environment, however they are currently developing web based tools that will work regardless of the computer operating system. Depending on the number of computers at the parish running in the Mac environment, this "internet based" version of the software may need to be the solution your parish uses for your conversion.
9) How capable is ParishSOFT in comparison to other database programs??
It has been our experience that ParishSOFT performs equally as well as other database programs with respect to the census and offertory system. While there is often a time period of adjustment to any new program and there will always be individual difficulties with any system, most individuals who've converted their system mention that ParishSOFT is fairly similar to other parish database systems.
If you’d like us to send you a demo DVD, please send us your request at ParishsoftContact@MadisonDiocese.org.