What. A. Year.

In 2016, Planning Center celebrated ten years of great apps and even greater people, and I was honored to start working at Planning Center as a Support Agent on the first possible day in 2016!

I still can't believe I work in a place as amazing as this one.

Planning Center sets itself apart from other companies by allowing and encouraging a family atmosphere at work, time to brainstorm new features, and availability to dream about the future. That's what keeps me coming back to work every day and helps you, as a customer, continue to use our products.

Family

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When I first visited the Planning Center offices (right before I was hired), they were having a Christmas Party. They sang carols together, ate yummy brunch food, and simply enjoyed each other's company on their last day before a week-long Christmas break. I quickly realized I was walking into a family not just a company. This year has proved that in many different ways:

  • We added seven new employees, bringing our family to a whopping 53.
  • We celebrated eight new babies, and each of them received a Planning Center blanket.
  • Eight of our families moved houses (some of them moved states)!
  • We all turned a year older and received a personalized gift.
  • In August, our families came together for a whole week to hang out–we had a beach bonfire, Korean BBQ, frisbee golf, a fancy kid-free dinner, and we ended the week with jet skis and volleyball on the beach. Krista, a developer's wife, said, "My daughter has been talking about this week non-stop–this is like a family reunion for our kids."

It was a family reunion for all of us. With 23 remote employees, almost half of our family aren’t in the office from week to week, so we fly all the remote employees to Carlsbad four times a year. Our Remote Weeks this year consisted of dodgeball, packing 1,656 food boxes for Children’s Hunger Fund, all the games of Jungle Pong, karaoke with some amazing singers, and a couple of awesome nerf wars.

In the midst of all that fun, we also got a ton of work done!

Features

Remember when Jeff Berg, CEO and Co-Founder of Planning Center, said we would never be a Church Management Software?

Yeah, we laughed, too.

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2015 was the year of adding new apps; 2016 was the year of making those apps better, as well as completing our Church Management Software suite with the launch of Groups.

  • On average, 10 new churches joined the Planning Center family each day.
  • Our Support Team collectively wrote 14 million words.
  • Services Project Evergreen took over profiles as well as the Songs and Media pages
  • Statements were created in Giving
  • We launched Text-to-Give
  • Registrations announced Assignments
  • Check-Ins brought us Roster Stations
  • 40 trees were sacrificed at the hands of 17 million labels, but we partnered with National Forest Foundation to plant 500 trees in their place
  • We launched Groups and found out the importance of attendance reporting
  • Churches currently have a total of 250,000 group members, who can all have their attendance taken and reported.
  • We introduced a new logo!
  • We interviewed people for My Planning Center and created viewnicorn.com in the process
  • People launched Duplicate Detection to help keep databases clean
  • We re-launched Text-to-Give…this time for free
  • Resources got a makeover as well as some new features
  • We launched a Planning Center Slack Community, and 500 people are currently brainstorming about how to make their churches even better

We take pride in and work hard on our features, so we listen to each request that comes in and talk about how to make a new feature happen. When we experienced downtime on Sunday, February 21st, we took time to research and make our product more reliable.

We also have way too much fun working on our features, which is why we built a Super PiCO's Arcade! I'm sure we'll be adding lots of games to that console as we continue to grow!

Future

For the first time in four years, we don't plan on launching any new apps, which means we will spend this year making our apps better than before. Here are some ways we plan to do that:

  • More cross-app integrations
  • Text messaging
  • Even better lesson guides
  • Services will finish Project Evergreen
  • Giving will be available in Canada, eh!

But, as you've already found out, we're not just focused on features. This year, we plan to expand giving back to our world. In addition to our annual Children's Hunger Fund box-packing and planting trees to replace the ones we use, our employees will be going all over the world to serve it. We're partnering with Children's Hunger Fund, Cherish Uganda, and many other organizations to continue to give back.

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If you wanna follow along as we go, check out #pcoservecation.

At the end of this year, we plan to be better than ever, with more family members, stronger features, and an even brighter future than we can imagine right now. We're glad you've chosen to be a part of it!

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~ Jessica