CommanderBill.net

Insight from a Children's Pastor & Awana Commander

Recordkeeping Software – Clubmouse

UPDATE: This product is no longer available

Today we focus on another of the software products. I was introduced to Clubmouse back in the late 90’s or early 2000’s at an Awana Conference. At the time, I was deciding which software product to use for my club and I opted for the A.R.K. (Clubmouse and A.R.K. was all I knew of at the time) as I noted yesterday mainly because of the pricing at that time. So the only experience I have personally with the software is the demo version. I have not personally met Ken Bearden, but he is responsive when I send requests, like for this interview, and has worked to help me keep the information about his software up to date on the comparison chart I developed.

I asked Ken the same questions I asked the others, and here are the responses I received to my interview:

I feel the need to share that I do not receive any compensation of any type from any of the software products on my website. The information is made available to help you decide which product meets the need for your club.


Please share your heart behind why you developed and still offer/maintain the software.

Clubmouse began as an experiment in 1982 to see if the overwhelming task of AWANA record keeping could be streamlined using automation. A season of many failures, gaining knowledge, and appropriating better software tools resulted in real success.  In 1997 Clubmouse version 1 was completed.  The experiment quickly turned into a ministry when we started demonstrating how a club filled with secretaries could be managed by just one “computer secretary”.  The program was redesigned and rewritten in 2004 to bring it’s technology up to date with the programming languages and operating systems of that day.

What operating system(s) does your software currently run on?

Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7

Are there plans to have it available on Mac?

Possibly via a web application (stay tuned).

With the proliferation and popularity of Smart Phones and Tablets (iPad, Droids, etc), have you considered having an app for the software? Would that even be feasible?

It is certainly feasible; however, I am not sure the process of record keeping for Awana fits a small device like a phone.  I do think that a tablet makes great sense for replacing paper and can envision the use of one to record check-in activities as well as achievements.

Do you think that there will ever be a commercial web-based recordkeeping database for club use?

Yes.

In this culture where people want immediate responses, if someone has an issue with the software during club, or at an odd hour of the night, is there any help for them? What type of support do you offer for the software?

In order to keep costs to our customers down, we offer daily e-mail support.  Instant feed-back is not feasible on a national level unless full time personnel are paid to provide that level of support.  Our customers would have to bare that cost.  To date we have never charged for the support that we provide.

How often do you update the software, and what do you do to help you decide what updates, or features, to add?

Clubmouse typically offers a yearly update to accommodate changes that Awana has made to the programs for the upcoming year.  In the past, a hotfix or two has been issued in the event of a critical bug in the software.

What are the key features of your software?

The ‘method’ of record keeping is ‘the’ key feature of Clubmouse.  It gives the user a proven process to keep records that is both simple and efficient.  Everything from the weekly reports to print to the forms to enter the data (and the order in which things are entered) has been mapped out and refined over several years of using the software to keep records.  Of course, the user is free to come up with their own process to keep records and will most certainly benefit from the time saving features of the Clubmouse data entry forms.

Some people think that some of the record keeping software is an Awana product. I know that you are a “third party” product, meaning that you are not developed by, or supported by Awana, you are completely independent of Awana. How do you find out about revisions to the Awana program (like the change to bones and patches from seals for T&T)?

Typically the Awana website will indicate changes to a program and that is where we begin.  Ultimately, examining the new materials and comparing them to the old ones yields the set of changes.

What is the best way for someone to see and evaluate your software?

Request a free 15-use evaluation CD via www.clubmouse.com order page.

Please share anything else about you and the software that you think would benefit clubs that are looking at which software package to use for their club.

Simple. Simple. Simple.  Our philosophy is that a user needs to be able to install the program and with very little instructions should be able to figure out how to keep records for Awana.  Keep the application focused on the main thing and don’t clutter it up with every possible feature.  In the end, the secretary needs to maintain Clubber Data, record his/her achievements/checkin info/bucks and be informed of what awards were earned.


To learn more about the software,  please visit their website

Do you use Clubmouse? Click here to leave a comment about the software to help others decide which product to use. (You must be join the  CommanderBill.net community to post a comment there, joining is free)

 

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