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Posted on May 1st, 2017

Planning Center Integration for Churches

Today, we launched our integration with Planning Center, the go-to Church Management Software for churches in the U.S. It is comprised of 9 standalone apps that churches of all sizes can use to manage nearly every department of their church.

Side note: if you’re not (yet) using Clearstream and aren’t sure what we provide, here’s our 5-second elevator pitch*: Clearstream is an online text messaging software for churches, non-profits, and businesses. Churches of all sizes across the U.S. use Clearstream to communicate with their members, visitors, staff, and volunteers via text message. With a simple yet powerful web-based software and iPhone app, we provide a better communication tool for churches. *Disclaimer: none of us have actually made this pitch in an elevator.

Our Planning Center integration lets you easily text your PCO People Lists from within your Clearstream account. People is Planning Center’s member management app. It is the hub for your church’s contacts. Like Clearstream Lists, People also has Lists. These can be created and customized based on almost any criteria. Now, you can sync your People Lists with your Clearstream account.

Side note: our software doesn’t just let you send message blasts to your lists. Our Inbox is a powerful two-way texting tool for your church congregation. There's quite a bit more too.

Why Did We Do This?

Before getting into details and setup instructions, I want to quickly cover why we built this integration. Though organizations of all types use Clearstream, our focus is serving churches. Our team comes from the church planting world and has a deep understanding of what churches need.

Our product is continually evolving based on how we can best serve churches, and what churches that use Clearstream are asking for. We found that most of the churches using Clearstream also use Planning Center (PCO). It became obvious that we needed to build an integration so that churches using both Clearstream and PCO don’t need to worry about managing contact/member lists within multiple applications. It’s all synced.

What Is The Cost?

There is no additional cost. If you don't yet have a Clearstream account, you can signup here. We have both monthly and pay-as-you-go plans. With all plans, there is no contract or setup fee. You can upgrade, downgrade, or cancel anytime.

How It Works

Quick setup: Login > Account Settings > Integrations > Planning Center.

[Skip to Video Walkthrough Below]

As mentioned earlier, this integration syncs all or selected People Lists with Clearstream Lists. It’s a one-way sync from People to Clearstream. This means that People List data is being pulled into your Clearstream account. Currently, Clearstream will not push data back to People. Why? Most likely, your church is not using Clearstream as its primary ChMS. You’re using PCO for this task, and Clearstream treats PCO People as the most reliable source of up-to-date information about your members.

List Auto-Create

After connecting your PCO and Clearstream account, you’ll first choose which People Lists you want to sync. When you sync a People List, we’ll automatically create a new, uneditable List in your Clearstream account. The name of this List will be the same as the People List it’s pulling from.

When you view your Lists, any synced People Lists will be marked with a PCO icon. PCO Lists cannot be tied to Keywords, Website Forms, or Longcodes. They are connected exclusively to their corresponding People List.

List Auto-Format

When you sync a People List, Clearstream will pull the following data fields for each person: Mobile Phone (required), First Name, Last Name, and Email. Invalid mobile numbers will also be scrubbed before being added to your Clearstream account.

Auto-Update Lists

People Lists are auto-synced every 24 hours. You can also manually sync them at any time from within your Clearstream account by clicking the “Sync Now” button in Account Settings > Integrations > Planning Center.

When People Lists are resynced, Clearstream will also update any changed data fields for a person. For example, if you change Jane Doe’s email address in People, it will also be changed in the Clearstream List when it’s resynced.

Automatically Removes Unsubscribes

When you send a message to a synced People List, anyone who opts-out/unsubscribes will be removed from the Clearstream List. Any past unsubscribes will not be added back into your Clearstream account when the People List is resynced. The only way they will be able to re-subscribe will be to join through one of your Keywords, Website Forms, or Longcode.

Video Walkthrough