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Online Member Directories
By: Katy Dunigan

How well is your church member directory working for you? Looking for an innovative member directory solution, one that utilizes today's technology and keeps pace with this ever-changing world?  You're not alone!

An up-to-date member directory is an important element to a well-connected and vital community of faith believers. It tells the story of your church, its mission, ministry and members, building community by creating and maintaining connections in many ways.   

As churches embrace today's digital technology, an increasing number of church member directories are being hosted online. An online church member directory brings new life and new benefits to the traditional printed directory. 

Here are some important online member directory features:

Security - Online church member directories that offer multiple login and security options help ensure member information remains private.  Look for an online member directory that uses encrypted Secure Socket Layer, (SSL) a security feature utilized by banks and retail stores.

Free Mobile App - A directory mobile app allows church members to carry the directory in their purse or pocket, wherever they go. Some directory mobile apps offer mapping, calling and texting features, making connecting with church family and friends quick and easy. Look for a member directory that includes a free, secure mobile app offering these user-friendly features. 

Edit Options - No longer stuck with old, outdated photos, digital directories allow members to update their profiles and edit or upload new photos as often as they choose, from their desktop computer or mobile device. Some online member directories allow churches to customize their edit options. Look for a company that gives you editing options. Don't be "locked out" of changing member information and photos.  It's your directory -- you should have things your way.

Multiple Listing Options - Members, families, staff and church groups are all important elements of a church. Why not include all of them in a church member directory? Look for an online member directory that offers multiple listing and labeling options. 

Social Media Friendly - An online member directory should be social media friendly, allowing members to list their email addresses, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Pinterest profiles.

Custom Designed - Want your online member directory to match the look and feel of your church website?  Look for a company that offers this customization feature. 

Digital Photos - Today's photo technology allows churches to create their own professional photo directory.  No longer dependent on a photography company to produce directory photos, a church's directory administrators can upload member photos.  Another option is inviting church members to upload their individual photos and change them as often as they choose.

Print Options - In keeping with tradition, an online church member directory should offer a full array of print options, including all or part of the directory, specific groups, and staff listings. Print options enable churches to serve members who do not utilize digital technology.

Cost - In today's economy, cost is always a concern.  Look for a company that aligns their mission with your success.  A 30-day free trial, free data imports, unlimited customer support and a discounted annual subscription rate are value added services making an online member directory a valuable choice. 

One Time Set-Up with Lifetime Benefits - Once your online member directory is created, it's available to you for as long as you choose to utilize the directory service.  Directory committees, photo sessions, and high-pressure sales meetings can be a "pain of the past!" 

The power of an up-to-date church photo directory is undeniable. As a connectional tool, relationship builder, a ministry tool and ministry resource, an online member directory offers the perfect solution for today's fast-paced and ever-changing world. 

Katy Dunigan is the marketing director for Online Church Directory, www.onlinechurchdirectory.com.

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