How We Use Basecamp to Manage Events, Trips, and Projects in Family Ministry

basecamp

I’m sure you agree that in children’s ministry and student ministry, we have to manage a lot. Curriculum, volunteers, events, classes, projects, trips, communication, schedules, email, social media, policies, paperwork, resources, supplies, and other things I’m sure I’m missing. At some point, we all need a system to help manage everything we manage.

Project Management?

I know many of you cringe at the phrase “Project Management”. I’m the opposite, as before I ever considered working for a church I was a project manager and planned on doing some version of that in my career long-term. I enjoy it.

However, even if it makes your skin crawl, it’s important because your ministry needs it.

That’s not all. You need it.

Here are 4 reasons why:

Team Collaboration

If you’re doing ministry alone, you’re doing it wrong. You need to work with a team and your team needs a way to collaborate centrally so everyone is on the same page. Project management is all about helping teams work together. You will be a lid to the growth of your ministry if you cannot work through teams.

Repeating Efforts

There is so much to manage and much of it repeats weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly. Because you repeat trips, events, and projects, it makes sense to use some tool to help you avoid re-doing all the planning each time. You already thought of everything needed to pull off that event, so why not save it somewhere and get a head start next time?

Consistency Matters

Consistency builds trust. The more you are consistent with your ministries, events, trips, communication, etc., the more trust you build with families. Project management allows you to stay consistent by saving what was done before and offering the same thing again.

Continuous Improvement

Not only does project management allow you to be more consistent, it also makes it easier to continuously improve. You know exactly what you did before and, if you’re smart, you debriefed afterwards and saved your feedback. You can easily use that feedback the next time around because you saved it all in your project management tool.

Basecamp for Project Management

Basecamp is the primary project management solution we use. If you downloaded my free resource, 30 Apps We Use to Lead Family Ministry, then you already know that. Here is how we use it specifically.

Every Event, Trip, or Project Is In Basecamp

Basecamp primarily works in projects. You create a project for whatever you’re collaborating on. It might be an event, a trip, or a project such as re-doing your volunteer job descriptions. In each project, you have to-do lists, message boards, file storage, chats, schedules, messaging, and reports.

We primarily use the to-do lists and file storage. It’s really helpful because items on the to-do lists can be grouped by lists, assigned to specific people, reorganized and given a due date. The real magic in Basecamp, however, is templates.

Basecamp Templates For Recurring Projects

Basecamp TemplateBasecamp 3 is the new version, but templates aren’t available in 3 until later this year or early 2017. We’re on Basecamp 2 and templates are available. Think of templates as a fully-created Basecamp project that’s ready to go. If we have a project that will happen again, like our annual C3 Kids Summer Team, we have a template for it (see the screenshot).

In our case, we create all of our templates simply by taking the first version of the project and saving it as a template when it’s finished. It saves all the lists, to-dos, files, discussion, everything. When you use that to create a new project the next time, it’s all there ready to go. Some simple tweaks and adjustments are usually all we need to run the play again.

There are many good project management solutions out there and I use a couple others for different reasons, but Basecamp has worked best for our family ministry staff.

How do you manage all you have to manage?