Welcome to the ChurchInfo documentation website. ChurchInfo is a free church database program to help churches track members, families, groups, pledges and payments. This is an active development program with a commitment to frequent, stable releases.
For further details of the project and to download the software go to Sourceforge ChurchInfo page.
If you are considering ChurchInfo as an option for your church or organization, the following evaluation considerations may help you make your decision.
Take a look at some options for trying out ChurchInfo to better evaluate it.
ChurchInfo is a PHP/MySQL application which runs on a web server, providing web pages so users can update and access the data in the database. You can run both the server and the browser on a single computer, but the real power of a web database application is visible when you have multiple users accessing the database from their own computers.
For more detailed information on installation see the file Documentation/Readme.txt.
If you already have a web server which supports PHP and MySQL just follow the instructions in Documentation/Readme.txt. If you don't have a web server you have three choices:
The quickest way to get started if you don't have a server is to install the xampp distribution. This includes Apache, PHP, MySQL, phpMyAdmin and other useful stuff. The xampp project is on SourceForge here: http://sourceforge.net/projects/xampp. Once you install xampp you can install the churchinfo directory in xampp/htdocs.
There are instructions for the installation located in the readme.txt file which is part of the download package. Included there are instructions for installation of ChurchInfo on a Linux server, which is the most technically challenging solution, but also the environment that is best suited to run ChurchInfo. For additional infomation installing ChurchInfo check out the ”Windows computer using XAMPP” page, or the ”Mac computer using MAMP” page.
The application is based on the concepts of people who are members of families and are also members of common interest groups. After individuals are set up, a cart can be used in order to assign people to events, groups, or families.
The default username and password is Admin/churchinfoadmin.
After you have created your ChurchInfo application and can login, you are ready to configure the application.
The first thing to do is enter your church name, address, phone and email address into the Report Settings.
You can add a custom header to ChurchInfo by entering the HTML for the custom header in the General Settings. From the Admin menu, choose “Edit General Settings”. Near the bottom of the General Settings page, enter the HTML for the custom header into the field “sHeader”. Example: If you enter ”<H2>My Church</H2>”, ChurchInfo will display “My Church” in large, bold letters at the top of each page.
During the configuration stage, give some consideration to how you will use ChurchInfo:
Refer to tips and hints for setting up your Churchinfo database.
ChurchInfo has a powerful email system, but it requires some effort to configure.
First, select Admin→Edit General Settings. Scroll about half-way down. Set bEmailSend to True. Set the next six values appropriately for your email system.
Next, select Admin→Edit Users. Click the Edit link for yourself. Scroll down to the bottom section of the page. Set bEmailMailto to True to enable use of a standard email client. Set sMailtoDelimiter to ';' for using a Microsoft email client Outlook or Outlook Express, use ',' for any other client such as Thunderbird or Eudora. Set bSendPHPMail to True to enable direct mailing from ChurchInfo. Set sFromEmailAddress and sFromName to the values you want to use for your ChurchInfo messages.
To test your settings, select Admin→Please select this option to register ChurchInfo after configuring. Fill in the form and press Send. This will send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. If it goes back to the welcome page your message was sent successfully. If an error appears that means there is a problem with your configuration settings.
After the first time you use the registration page, the menu option changes to Admin→Update Registration. You can send your registration message as many times as you want. The default values are taken from the settings in Admin→Edit Report Settings. You might want to update these first before going to the registration page.
After your database is installed and configured, you are now ready to populate your data. This can be done using the keyboard or using the data import (via csv) function.
Individuals make up the church and in Churchinfo everyone is part of a family. The date of birth when entered will allow the age to be displayed (this can be suppressed at an individual level if required) and a list of birthdays in a month (Select Data/Reports → Query Menu, click “Birthdays”, enter the number for the month, and press “Execute Query”).
The data that is entered for each family is also available for each individual, however it can be changed at the individual level e.g. a separate email address or phone number. A Family has one or more people in it, and each person has a role assigned: head of family, spouse, child etc.
Included in ChurchInfo is a geographic mapping feature that lets you map groups of people or families.
ChurchInfo has a finance function for tracking tithes, pledges and gifts.
To send email from the server:
This feature is used to keep track of talent and willingness to volunteer for specific sorts of tasks. For example, some volunteer opportunities might be “Baking”, “Babysitting”, “Lawn Mowing”, etc. When a need arises, the Volunteers query may be used to find people who are willing to serve.
After you have created some volunteer types and have associated them with individuals, you then need to query the data. For instance, if you have a need for baby sitting you can find the list of 5 people who have volunteered for babysitting –
ChurchInfo has a number of built-in reports to provide a snapshot of the users data. Queries are pre-built based on the database structure to provide common reporting requirements such as:
Reports are also available using a free-text search function, based on mySQL.
The results of a query can be added to a cart for later use. After a query has been run, simply click the button entitled “Add Results to Cart”.
Most administration features are available from menus and forms.
Doing BACKUP is very important. Data loss could result in a waste of time in gathering all the information again.
The best way to back up the ChurchInfo database is to schedule automated backups using a cron job on a Linux or Unix server, or a scheduled task on a Windows server.