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In everyday life, you often hear people complaining about bad customer service, hidden fees or slow responses. Because of this, you can see many companies setting new goals or marketing strategies to resolve (or hide) these issues. Those tactics don’t ever seem to work very long and the companies still lose credibility if their customer service is… er… inadequate. One of our main focuses is keeping our customers happy and progressive. This cannot be done if you are spending too much time trying to figure out a product or avoid its glitches. We never want your experience with Shelby Systems to be like that, so we offer things like a support line that is open seven days a week for our Arena products (five days for Shelby v.5), as well as free training that we include when you choose to do business with us. The reason we are here is to make sure that you are satisfied and your needs are met. We have online support as well as podcasts and blogs (cough cough) to keep you up-to-date with what we are doing and why it is relevant to you. We also have email support with all of our new updates and how-to information. For a more hands-on experience, we offer training at our headquarters in Memphis, TN, or we can send a trainer to you for help. In my opinion, too much time is spent nowadays sitting on hold or listening to a recording over the phone. Customer service is what determines a lot of an organization’s success, and we want to put the pride that we have in our company right into your ministry. If you need assistance with your Shelby Systems product or have questions about purchasing a Shelby product, please contact us today!

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Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, digital ads, emails, text messages, podcasts, Skype, YouTube… wow, that was exhausting… and I could go on. As most of us already know, technology has taken over and everything is required to be instant and accessible. A huge issue in the church world is finding a way to keep up with it all. In some ways, it is easy for a church to stay relevant, and in others, you can feel like you are drowning in a sea of technological obstacles. Today’s Christian church has to make sure it is constantly evolving, all while keeping God at the center. On an online video called “Churches: Using the Internet to be on Mission, Disciple, and Create Community” by Drew Goodmanson, I learned that in 1992, there were only 26 web servers on the World Wide Web. Only eight years later, in 2000, there were over seven million websites, and by 2009, there were over 230 million. When polled in 2009, 64% of Americans said that they have used the internet for spiritual or religious purposes. A church in Los Angeles advertised on Facebook and saw a 50% increase in their attendance on Easter Sunday. I think it is safe to say that the internet is a very valuable tool if it is used correctly. Each ministry is different, and each comes with its own unique vision. It is not about the size of your church or non-profit, or even how well known you are, but what you are preaching and how you are reaching people. The ways to connect with people are ever-changing, and as the statistics show, it is very beneficial to stay in the online loop. Well, there is my two cents on that. Have a good day, everyone!

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Being loyal Shelby Systems’ clients, you have probably heard of or are familiar with what we call SSTips. This tool was created years ago with our clients’ needs in mind. It all started one day in the late 1990’s when then outside Shelby trainer, Alfred Johnson, walked into a training session in Amarillo, TX. Alfred was surprised when he was immediately confronted by the attendees, since each one seemed to have a Shelby v.5 problem of some kind. “Shelby won’t do this, or Shelby can’t help me with that,” Alfred recalls. The thing was, Shelby would and could help with each issue that the clients had. After showing each person where to find their answers, Alfred went back to his hotel room and thought about how he could eliminate the problems from earlier that day. This is where SSTips was created into a newsletter for people wanting extra tips on their Shelby product(s). A small annual subscription fee was set in place and SSTips soon had a large following. “I tried to think of tips that aren’t mentioned in the manuals, that people would need for things not usually thought of,” says Alfred. SSTips really took off and Shelby Systems knew it had something really valuable. Alfred traveled for years, taking notes at every training session on what people asked the most. Besides the creation of SSTips, the best thing to happen to it took place on October 1, 2010. SSTips was transformed from a newsletter to an online help tool… and the best part? It’s FREE! If you sign up for Shelby’s Community site, you will have first access to Shelby Systems’ SSTips, updates, information, discounts and more. There is no charge to be a part of the Shelby Community, but it gives our staff and clients an easier way to interact with one another. I hope that if you have never checked out SSTips before, you will be inspired to see what the buzz is all about and how it can help you. Thanks, everyone!

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Another year has passed and Shelby Systems will again be attending the National Outreach Convention this November. The convention will be held in San Diego, CA and will take place from November 3-5. This convention is a great way to network and get to know people in the church world. It is set up to show church leaders how they can expand their outreach efforts in their communities, around the country and maybe even around the world. If you have never been and you think this might be something useful for your church, you can find more information on their website and sign up from there. It is a fun learning experience and you can pick up a lot of great information about what the happenings are in the church world. We hope to see you there at booth number 116!

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Russell Byrd and Mark White at Catalyst 2010.

Russell Byrd and Mark White at Catalyst 2010.

This blog was posted by Mark White, Shelby Systems’ Arena Product Manager. Or “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Conferences” is how I should title this. Last week, Russell Byrd (our Arena Sales Rep.) and I had the pleasure of attending and exhibiting at Catalyst 2010. Held at the Gwinnett Arena in Duluth, GA (just outside of Atlanta) this annual event draws more than 12,000 ministry leaders for a two and a half day flood of information. With speakers such as Seth Godin, Daniel Pink, Craig Groeschel and North Point’s own Andy Stanley, the atmosphere is as ‘rock star’ as you can get without smoke machines and live animals. Oh wait, they do have smoke machines… and they even fired a guy from a cannon inside the arena. Last year a guy jumped from an incredibly high ladder into a foot of water in a kiddie pool. Never a dull moment. As an exhibitor, conferences can be tedious and somewhat boring. We stand around while the attendees scamper to breakout sessions, workshops and labs. The Catalyst Conference is different in that something is always going on. Even during the general sessions, attendees and other exhibitors mix and mingle. Partnerships and mutually beneficial plans are discussed and contact info is exchanged. I never fail to learn something interesting (and yes, even game changing) from these interactions. We’ve seen a trend lately where conferences are becoming more engaging and cater to specific ministry areas. With the economy of the past few years (which deserves its own post), organizations are being a little more discerning when deciding which events to send their employees to. Fortunately, organizers are aware of this and are providing more value, even though costs are rising. Good for them. In the end, what you get out of a conference is up to you. Meeting like-minded people in similar positions that are struggling with the same ministry issues you are can be an inspiring and valuable turning point for you and your team. I encourage you to do your best to budget the time and money so that you can experience something special at an upcoming conference. Both the Shelby team and the Shelby Arena guys will be coming to a town near you in 2011. If you have the opportunity to attend any conferences, please stop by and say ‘Hi’!

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No one wants to spend their time comparing different types of software products. We all have enough to do from day to day and being the one chosen to find the best software for your home or work is probably not at the top of your “What I Want to Do” list. Even the word ‘software’ sounds awful. I know by just hearing it, I used to get a feeling of being overwhelmed. But wait just one minute… What happens to that overwhelming feeling when you come across a software product with an entire company behind it that focuses solely on bringing more success to each of its clients? If you are new to the world of Shelby Systems, have no fear… I am too. As the new Marketing Coordinator here, I have learned a lot about the products and culture of the company that I never knew before. I have learned that being the oldest church and non-profit software company makes you strong, experienced, and loyal, but it is the idea that Shelby was started on that makes it stand apart. I work in a place where I have yet to meet an unfriendly or unwilling person. Don’t get me wrong, we are all human here, but we are a company centered around God, with clients who are constantly working to better their communities. That is what motivates us every day to do what we do. Shelby has structured itself so that you will find people here for any issue that you might have. Example? Well, our sales people are there to walk you through the purchasing process, while the support staff will answer any questions and solve any problems that might arise. The development team works each day to improve upon or build new products that will benefit your ministry or non-profit. I hope this was helpful to you. Thanks for visiting and I hope to see you here again soon!

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Shelby Systems Joins the Constant Contact Partner Program as a Solution Provider Program Provides Customers with Effective and Affordable Tools to Strengthen Ministries Shelby Systems announced today that it has joined the Constant Contact Partner Program as a Solution Provider Partner. Through this relationship, Shelby Systems’ customers gain access to easy-to-use email marketing and online survey tools to help them build strong, lasting member relationships. “Our customers are always looking for effective ways to deepen relationships with their members as an efficient means of growing their ministries,” said Frank Canady, Shelby Systems President and CEO. “The Constant Contact online tools are a valuable addition to our core services. Our customers will be very impressed with the ease-of-use and affordability of Constant Contact services.” As a Constant Contact Partner, Shelby Systems is able to provide its clients with email and online survey capabilities. With Constant Contact Email Marketing, Shelby Systems’ customers can quickly and easily create professional-looking emails, manage email contact lists, measure email campaign results from clicks to open rates, and review who joined an email list. With Constant Contact Online Survey, Shelby Systems’ customers have an easy-to-use tool to gather feedback that will help them meet member needs, generate new ideas, and grow their church. Constant Contact designed these tools specifically to help small organizations drive increased member participation and strengthen relationships. “Email marketing and online surveys are proven tools that help organizations connect with members and build successful relationships with them,” said Eric Groves, senior vice president, Global Market Development, Constant Contact. “We are pleased that Shelby Systems chose Constant Contact to provide its customers with our online tools, and we look forward to working together to help Shelby Systems be an even bigger factor in its customers’ successes.” To learn more, please visit http://shelby.constantcontact.com, or call 1.800.877.0222. About Constant Contact, Inc. With more than 370,000 customers, Constant Contact, Inc. is a leading provider of email marketing, event marketing, and online surveys for small businesses, non-profits, and member associations. Founded in 1995, Constant Contact helps small organizations grow stronger customer relationships by delivering professional, low cost, easy-to-use online tools backed with award-winning support, education and personal coaching. Constant Contact is a publicly traded company (Nasdaq: CTCT) with offices located in Waltham, Mass., Loveland, Colo., and Delray, Fla. Constant Contact and the Constant Contact Logo are registered trademarks of Constant Contact, Inc. All Constant Contact product names and other brand names mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of Constant Contact, Inc. All other company and product names may be trademarks or service marks of their respective owners.

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MinistryLINQ, a leading payment solutions provider, announced today that it has entered into a strategic relationship with Shelby Systems, Inc., a leader in church management software. This new alliance will provide Shelby Systems users a new provider for processing payments directly from their software, improving their integration and reducing their manual efforts. This integration is immediately available, as of August 31st, for Arena and v.5 customers. “This partnership will bring an exceptional service to our customers,” says Frank Canady, President of Shelby Systems, Inc. “MinistryLINQ is known for their customer service to ministries. We’re pleased to offer such an excellent choice in transaction providers.” “We are very pleased to join forces with Shelby Systems, and enhance their secure solutions to their customers.”, says Foster Chase, President and CEO of MinistryLINQ. “Our exceptional PCI compliant solutions superbly compliment their robust church and ministry management software that has been used by thousands of clients for decades.” About The CashLINQ Group Located in Spokane Washington, The CashLINQ Group was founded in 1999 and is a leader in providing comprehensive payment processing solutions to ministries, churches, colleges, radio stations, and camps throughout the United States and Canada. The CashLINQ Group provides the latest processing technology using a fully certified Level 1 PCI-DSS platform and PA-DSS compliant solution. The CashLINQ Group is an end to end solution provider handling all risk and underwriting functions, initiating their own merchant and electronic check accounts and providing excellent service and support through assigned Relationship Managers. More information can be found at www.TheCashLINQGroup.com or by calling 800.811.7826.

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Shelby Systems just announced the launch of Arena Select, a new line of its Arena church management software.  Arena Select is loaded with the most commonly requested features optimized for medium to large-sized churches. “Arena Select provides churches with a powerful toolset that helps connect with their members and grow their ministries.  The easy-to-use interface allows new users and volunteers to quickly make an impact in their work,” said Frank Canady, President of Shelby Systems.  “Shelby Systems has a strong history of developing quality software products that support faith-based organizations in serving the Kingdom, and the introduction of Arena Select certainly continues this trend.” Arena Select is ideal for the church that wants an intuitive, powerful way of expanding its ministry. Key elements include membership and contact management, superior reporting tools, and simple grouping and search options – all accessible via the internet.  With connectivity from virtually anywhere, an Arena user has all the tools needed to work from the office, home, or on the road. The addition of items such as Mission Trip Management, as well as Check-In and Contributions, round out a thorough set of features.  Both staff and members will appreciate the convenience of features such as Online Giving and Event Registration. “Since Arena was launched in 2007, we have continually enhanced the feature set based on feedback from our customers and prospective customers”, explained Mark White, Product Manager of Arena.  “Increasingly, we’ve seen interest from a large number of churches who are impressed with the feature set of Arena, but don’t quite require the full-blown version for their organization.  We listened to this feedback and designed Arena Select to be the perfect fit for their needs.” The original Arena product will now be known as Arena Premium – and contains features not included in Arena Select.  Web Publishing, Assignments and the ability to add Community-created modules are the most notable of these. Further details about Arena Select are available at www.arenachms.com.