The PC in Your Synagogue
So what is the first step? Congegrations today need to make computers and on-line communication a priority. Make sure that a Computer/Web Committee exists with a local computer expert on board. Be sure to allow for training of your office staff especially if you have a full-time executive director. Most of all, your local synagogue computer expert (ideally, this should be a lay volunteer) should explore the realm of hardware and software that is available to help the synagogue function as well as have an impact in a variety of additional areas. Is your synagogue considering upgrading its system but they aren't sure which synagogue management software package is the best for your congregation's needs?
Whether it's an old PC simply running basic office software or a high-end work station that runs Windows 7 and spits out membership dues invoices and Yahrtzeit notices from your database by the hundreds or the latest MacIntosh that is being used to create multimedia clips for your website, there is no doubt that the PC is assisting in office duties. The PC's primary function in the synagogue setting has always been to lend administrative support. However, the computer is now a tool for increasing religious awareness as well; religious software continues to be developed which enhances the existing software on the market. We all know the Internet has changed our lives and the synagogue needs to harness the power of this new communication medium (website, Facebook, Twitter, bulk e-mail, etc.) Most importantly, there must be a knowledgeable and devoted member of the synagogue who is willing to monitor and assist in respect to computer operations. It often takes significant guidance and effort to get new systems on-line. There must be a great deal of planning and research before hardware and software are purchased. What is right for one congregation may not be best for the next. It is important, however, to get competitive pricing on hardware and to try a variety of software demos before purchasing.