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View the Realm release timeline to find out more.
One-Way Mass Texting
Earlier this year, we introduced one-way texting, a new way of communicating with your church. Your ministry now can send one-way mass text messages to your entire congregation or specific individuals right from within Realm. You can set up texting from Settings in the Ministry Hub Realm Menu. Texting in Realm gives you the ability to send text messages from the action drop-down menu within a list of people. The history of text messages can also be seen by clicking on the communication icon in the upper right-hand corner. You’ll be able to view both email and text message stats with a list of who has opted in, opted out, or if the message is undeliverable.
Formal Label Names
The next release we will cover provides your church with different options for addressing your congregants based on the formality of your ministry’s culture or the tone of your message. With this feature you now can:
- Generate formal or informal label names for contributors, People, and Personnel.
- Configure formal and informal name formats.
Print formal or informal labels from Queries, Pathways People Tab, Group Participant List, and Dashboards.
- Print formal labels from Queries as well as view formal name on some reports throughout Realm.
Attach files and documents to employee records such as forms, photo IDs, job applications, and more!
Go Method Integration
Go Method works with Realm to help you create and manage mission trips and other multi-day events for your organization. Handle everything from event details and payments to travel insurance and flight information in one place.
Contributors who are used to giving online with Realm will see a familiar process when they pay mission trip fees. Giving Forms provide an online payment option for attendees. Administrators set the price of the trip, and it cannot be changed by the payee.
Single Sign On
We now provide you with the ability to use one login for multiple ACST products, giving you a seamless login experience.
As you know, we’ve temporarily suspended Two-Step Verification in order to improve the user experience. Two-Step Verification brings a second level of security to your ministry’s data. We know this is a very important feature, but also understand the user experience is important.
- Realm administrators can now update a user’s email address.
- Today, you can use two-step verification via Google or Apple when logging into Realm.
- We will give you ample notice of the two-step verification reinstatement. We are also committed to providing resources for your church, as well as your congregants, to assist with this feature when it is released again in the future.
In this update, we highlight what is coming in Realm this year such as calendar subscriptions, new features in Realm Accounting, scheduling communications, PCO integration, and more!
In our latest release we provide you with increased security options for your ministry. Realm understands that different people in your church should view select information about other people. You now have the ability to choose what an individual in Realm can view based on their member status by setting privacy and security measures for each member status that works best for your ministry. These security options include allowing or not allowing individuals in your ministry to see the directory, start a chat with anyone in your church, see others’ contact and personal information, and see children’s profiles. These settings still respect the individual privacy settings that are set in place by the members of your ministry. Also, any profile without a member status will receive the highest level of security by default.
You can now identify how people in your ministry are connected by adding who they are related to and how by using Relationship tags. This new feature enhances the way you know and care about the people in your ministry. You can use the default relationship tags included with this release or create new Relationship tags that you can begin tracking right away. For example, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin, co-worker, etc. Using relationship tags in profiles not only helps you know your people better but allows you to truly make an impact in the lives of those under your care.
Contributor Label Names
In Realm, you now have the ability to standardize the names you use on your giving statements by creating formal and informal labels for contributors. We understand that having the tools that allow for more options that fit the needs of your ministry is important. This new option in Realm allows you to be as formal as you’d like when addressing your donors, which can make a difference in how they engage and support your ministry.
Realm’s New Look
We’ve recently launched Realm’s new look – an updated user interface with improvements to help streamline your day-to-day tasks within a ministry hub, which houses your current and potential solutions. Although it may seem like Realm just received a facelift, there’s a purpose behind the changes. The new ministry hub allows you find and easily switch between all of your integrated Realm solutions, such as Realm and Accounting. Additionally, all of your admin features are located under Realm in your new ministry hub, and all of the congregant-facing features are located under Connect. We’ve also simplified navigation within the Profile drop-down menu and in how settings live within each relevant feature in Realm. You will see that the colors in the Realm Connect app have changed to match the new look.
Recurring Giver Migration Tool
Realm Recurring Giver Migration Tool provides you with a streamlined process for communicating, guiding, and tracking recurring donors. With this new tool, your staff can import recurring givers from a third-party solution to Realm eGiving via an import, lowering your church’s risk of missing gifts during a migration and keeping your donors from having to start from scratch with a new giving solution. Once your recurring donors have been imported, the tool gives you the ability to identify who they are, send accurate and targeted communications including next steps, and track the status of their migration. For your recurring donors, this tool pre-populates information about their old recurring gift(s), such as gift amount and frequency, so they can add a new gift that matches their old one, eliminating an extra step of them having to go into the old giving solution to recall this information, and reduces risk of them abandoning the process at this step. Their old gift recurrence in the precious giving solution will need to be canceled by the donor or admin.
- You now have your own unique text number.
- Texts show the name of the group or team and name of the group or team leader who sent the text.
- Shepherd App:
- Filter inactive and deceased individuals on the profile list.
- Giving statements with pledge information now show the pledge date range on the CSV export.
- Accounting and Payroll:
- Paid Time Off Accrual now allows for clearing and rolling over time at the year end, as well as updating or adding paid time off elements in mass.
- Track Medical and Health Care Payments when you set up a 1099 core account.
- Enter consecutive days off on timesheets for an employees.
- Filter net asset accounts on the Statement of Activities by Restriction.
- Display the total balance on your Summary of Restricted Net Assets report.
With Paid Time Off Accrual in Realm Payroll, you can now enter and manage accrued time off rates, as well as future rates that will automatically go into effect on the date you select. Employees can view their time off balances on their pay stubs, and you have Time Off Summary and Time Off Detail reports giving you better insight into time off earned and taken for each employee.
Church staff and group leaders now have a consistent method in Realm to communicate with a child’s parent/guardian. Parent/guardian contacts can be added, viewed, and edited on a child’s profile, and at least one parent/guardian contact is required. Anytime an email or text is sent to a child or child group through Realm, the parent/guardian contact will receive it as well. Plus, parents have more control over receiving communication for their child and have oversight for their child’s groups, as well as being able to reply or comment back.
Realm’s New Look
Our soon-to-be-released updated user interface will provide you with a seamless experience where you can view and easily navigate through your Realm solutions. These improvements will streamline your administrative tasks, provide an intuitive communication solution, and help you learn about other tools available to assist you in ministry.
Websites: Refresh Websites Integration
Refresh Websites is now integrated with Realm, bringing you more options to build, edit, and publish your custom church website from Realm. Realm-specific widgets, such as groups, events, and giving, always match the data within Realm. This means if you add a widget for an event to your website, and later make changes to that event, the widget automatically displays the updated information without you having to make additional changes to your website!
Communications: Constant Contact – Statements
You can now send giving and pledge statements via Constant Contact through Realm. You have all of the advantages of using Realm to track and manage contributions, plus the bonus of being able to send contact lists and statements to Constant Contact where you can customize them to match the branding of your church.
Giving: Pledge and Giving Form Updates
In 2021, we released online pledge forms to give you a way to collect pledges online and even have your contributors create recurring gifts to meet their pledges. We’ve continued to work on pledge forms to give your contributors a better experience as they pledge to your ministry. You’ll notice design changes, such as the amount number being larger, a clearer Start and End Date process, and a summary at the bottom of the form to better show a donor’s pledge. Plus, some of these same updates will carry over to our giving forms to create a seamless contributor experience.
Websites Milestone: Refresh Websites
Having a clear and concise church website is one of the first ways you interact with new visitors. ACS Technologies is proud to bring you Refresh Websites, a solution to build and create custom websites with widgets, and so much more.
Giving is such a critical part of any ministry. And it’s important to you that you have ways to offer a customizable giving experience so your ministry speaks for itself.
In 2020, we announced that Realm eGiving included giving forms. We’ve now extended that experience to pledge forms as well. Like giving forms, pledge forms allow your church to add your logo, color scheme, and messages so pledging is more customizable than ever! Select as many funds as you want per form and offer as many forms as you need.
Communication is key in your church. With a brand-new integration between Contact Contact and Realm, you’ll have the tools you need to keep your church family up to date at any time. Enable a daily sync between Realm and Constant Contact, assign user permissions, create and send custom lists of people from Realm, and more.
Time is of the essence when you’re trying to get families in the door and properly checked in. With mobile check-in, individuals can use the Realm Connect mobile app as safe, contactless check-in for themselves and their family members. Administrators can also track attendance data to better understand how many individuals attend virtually compared to in-person.
Running your ministry effectively includes proper management of the back end of your church. Churches who have Realm Accounting included with Realm can import all general ledger transitions from a CSV file directly into Realm Accounting.
Communications are important to your church. With the inclusion of Realm’s email history, churches can now view a history of emails that have been sent, view statistics about email email, and more.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of your church, and leaning on your volunteers is an essential part of running your church effectively. Churches using Realm can now recruit volunteers for any serving opportunity and feature the opportunities that may be most important to the church.
Volunteers can discover new serving opportunities, automatically match with opportunities that are a good fit for them, and express their interest in serving.
Your staff, volunteers, and anyone else who helps support your church, parish, or denomination are crucial to the success of your ministry. That’s why Realm now allows you to create profiles for your personnel and house even more about your ministry in one place. Personnel profiles are a focus of Realm in 2021 and they’ll be more features added later this year.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of your church. And leaning on your volunteers is an essential part of running your church effectively. Realm now has the ability for your church to assign volunteer team leaders. Volunteer team leaders can manage the day-to-day needs of their team, such as creating schedules, managing the roster, or marking attendance, which allows your staff to focus on the bigger impacts of your ministry.
Giving statements mean more than just simply listing gifts for tax purposes. They’re a powerful communication tool for the church. Realm’s pledge and contribution statements have been further enhanced so churches can customize and personalize statements, such as:
- adding images, titles, and footers to statements
- creating and personalizing cover letters
- and more
Events: Large Enhancements
Events are what fosters fellowship and growth in your church. Realm’s Event Registration solution now allows churches to create records for guests as soon as they sign up, and even before the event takes place. This means you’ll always know who’s attending your events, even if this is their first interaction with your church, and follow up with them as necessary.
Additionally, churches also benefit from the ability to add registrants to discipleship tracks or groups before the event takes place, allowing the church to make sure no one is falling through the cracks.
Churches rely on volunteers to manage events throughout the year. To do this, they need to understand the engagement levels of their volunteers. Volunteer attendance history indicates their commitment to their role and allows the church to hold volunteers accountable.
In addition to all the other aspects of Realm’s Volunteer Management solution, churches now have the ability to:
- mark attendance for volunteers for each serving opportunity
- enable check-in for all volunteers for events or groups
- print marking sheets for churches who prefer taking attendance by hand
- find volunteers with low participation and put them on a track for success
Events: Virtual Events and Meetings
Recording the location of events is important so staff are aware and can plan to allocate the proper resources needed, such as a certain room or hall at the church. With Realm’s most recent release, churches now have the ability to add online meeting links to registration events as well. Churches simply add the link for their remote event or service and registrants can access the link from their Realm account.
Without a schedule, volunteers don’t know where and when to serve. The newest milestone in volunteer management gives volunteer organizers new ways to communicate scheduled assignments to volunteers. Volunteers also now have a new “My Schedule” page where they can view and manage their assignments and requests. Additionally, churches using Realm Volunteer Management are able to:
- save schedules as drafts
- notify volunteers via their communication preferences
- allow volunteers to auto-accept scheduled assignments
- send serving reminders
- view and manage volunteer assignments
- allow volunteers to request their own replacements
Additionally, volunteers can view, respond, and manage assignments right from the Realm Connect mobile app. No matter where they are, volunteers can always know where they need to serve and be better connected to your church.
Volunteer Management Milestone: Texting Volunteer Teams
As with all relationships in life, communication is key. And that holds true for volunteer teams as well. Ministry Partners using Realm’s Volunteer Management solution are now able to offer text messaging as a communication method for volunteer teams. This includes serving reminders and additional notifications sent from the volunteer team leader.
Communications: Create Information-only Content
Having the right tools to effectively communicate your message to your congregation or small groups is one of the most important aspects of ministry. However, sometimes pastors or leadership only need to get the message out without the need for back-and-forth conversation.
Now, when communications are made in groups, the sender has the ability to create no-reply communications to a small group or the entire church, allowing for more effective communications without adding noise.
Using multiple solutions to perform a single task is a big headache for your ministry and can create issues such as duplicate entries and other security risks. That’s why Realm and Realm Accounting are fully integrated and built under one roof. And now, it’s even better because Realm Events integrates with Realm Accounting’s general ledger. That means when you accept payments for your registration events, those payments will automatically post to your general ledger.
Expertise: MinistrySmart Community
You’ve got questions and other Realm users have the answers. We’re happy to announce the brand-new MinistrySmart Community, a forum where you can discuss ministry challenges and solutions, tips, or best practices for using Realm. And best of all, it’s completely free and accessed right from within Realm.
A key aspect of managing volunteers is to know when volunteers are available to serve the church. We’re excited to report that volunteers can now view and update their own serving preferences. This means they can indicate which days of the week they are available to serve, enter dates when they’re unavailable, and update their skills and interests.
Best of all, when scheduling volunteers, Realm automatically displays these preferences to help match individuals with the serving roles that fit them best.
Events: Virtual Meetings and Events
Among other things, 2020 has been the year of remote events and worship services. Now Realm can help with that. Easily add an online meeting link from Google Meet, Youtube or Facebook Live, Zoom, etc., to group and RSVP events. When your registrants attend the event remotely, they simply click on the URL meeting link to join remotely.
Expertise: MinistrySmart Staff Pass Pro
Realm helps you do ministry better, but where do you turn when you need to know how to implement best practices for your ministry? That’s where MinistrySmart Staff Pass Pro comes in.
MinistrySmart Staff Pass Pro builds on what is already available in MinistrySmart by offering additional training courses to help staff reduce risk and improve the overall ministry health, safety, and welfare of their staff, volunteers, congregants, and children.
Additionally, church staff get access to expanded and advanced topics, ministry training libraries, and more to help your church thrive. MinistrySmart Staff Pass Pro includes:
- Premium live and on-demand webinars
- Advanced Realm training
- Training for risk management and preventative measures
- Training for successful ministry enablement
Giving is such a critical part of any ministry. And it’s important to you that you have ways to offer a customizable giving experience so your ministry speaks for itself.
We’re happy to announce that Realm eGiving now offers a way to customize and brand your church’s eGiving experience through giving forms. Need a way to communicate giving on your website for your youth ministry differently than for your entire congregation? That’s exactly what giving forms do. They also allow for:
- Church logos
- Designed colors schemes
- Custom messages
- Unlimited Funds
Events: Feature Important Events
Events are critical to the success of your church because they bring together your congregation for fellowship and support. However, it can be tough for some to know what’s happening in the life of your church.
Realm solves that problem with featured events. Your staff can now feature up to five registration events at a time. They’ll be highlighted at the top of the event list to help people more easily find and register for them. Additionally, your congregation can use the Realm Connect mobile app to see featured events as well.