What a great question, we're glad you asked!
While there are many things that make Planning Center different, one of the biggest things is our strategy to keep our applications separate, while allowing them to work together. Instead of giving you one huge system that tries to do everything, we have discrete applications each designed with one major task in mind.
Here are some of the benefits of having separate applications.
- Contextual Design. An app for managing donations shouldn't be designed like an app for checking kids into their classrooms. One lends itself to lots of tables and graphs, and the other lends itself to fun bright colors. Though all our apps are beautifully designed, keeping our applications separate allows each one to be optimized for the type of problem it's trying to help you solve.
- Independent Release Schedules. In general, our apps don't share code. That means when we're ready to add a new feature to PCO Registrations, we don't have to worry if it will affect any of our other apps. That means less testing and worry for us, and faster features for you. How fast? Our blog is updated with all major new features, recently averaging to 1 every week!
- Focused Teams. Each of our applications has a Product Manager, Designer, Developers, and Product Expert who can focus on the needs of that product.
- Appropriate Pricing. Not every church needs every Planning Center application. For the applications you do need, each has its own package levels that can grow as you do. If you check in a lot of kids but only have a handful of volunteers to schedule, you can choose a larger plan for PCO Check-Ins and a smaller one for PCO Services. As soon as you need new applications or higher package levels, just change it online and it applies immediately. Our pricing calculator makes it very easy to see what you would pay now and estimate how it might change as you need more.
One Church Management System
Though each app can work perfectly on its own, they work together to allow even more. Here are some of the great ways our apps work together.
- Schedule volunteers with PCO Services, and if you take attendance using PCO Check-Ins, you'll be able to see who attended in either application.
- When a new person registers to attend an event from PCO Registrations, it also puts them in PCO People, your main membership database at the heart of all PCO apps. Then when they show up and you want to check them in, their information is automatically available in PCO Check-Ins.
- PCO People allows to you make Lists of people based on information from any of your Planning Center apps, allowing you to easily see all active people who are serving on a team but have never registered for your membership class.
- All PCO apps share a centralized people database that can be fully accessed from PCO People. No matter what app you are in, when you edit a person's information, it is shared to all other apps.
The PCO Difference
In addition to what makes our product strategy unique, there are a lot of things that make us who we are as a company. In fact, we have an entire About Us page where you can learn more!