Frequently Asked Questions
Realm is a Web application delivered through your browser, so you can log into it from practically any mobile device’s or computer’s browser (e.g. Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge). It’s the most accessible application we have ever developed and every screen automatically adjusts to the screen size you’re using.
No. To us, the term “ChMS” accurately represents the traditional church software model, and that’s not what we’re building. There are elements of a ChMS built into the foundation of Realm, but that’s only part of the big picture. Realm focuses on providing something for everyone in your parish, not just the staff.
Realm provides you with administrative, financial, giving, communication, and engagement tools in a single solution. Realm is a true cloud-based solution that can be accessed from any device. And we’ve introduced new features, such as Pathways, which allow you to help people grow spiritually and take next steps in serving in your parish. We’re simplifying reporting with Dashboards and easy-to-use queries. And , Realm is built to serve your ministry by helping drive actions your parish would naturally perform in connecting with your community.
Yes! We released cash basis fund accounting inside Realm, just for your staff. It’s a reflection of what we’ve done for decades in the traditional software world, but we’ve added some new ideas to make it an intelligent, single-system solution for your parish.
No. Realm would replace PDS. We can certainly help you weigh the differences. If you decide to switch, our team can help you make the transition and import your current data into Realm.
No. Realm does not have all of the same features and modules of PDS, but that’s intentional. We focus the feature set around taking advantage of the cloud and have built Realm upon new capabilities available online. However, we’re not done building, and we’ll be adding more and more over time.
Absolutely! We know how important booking rooms and resources is to your parish, so we encourage you to keep Facility Scheduler until we have completely built that functionality in Realm.
No. Realm has a private area that is effectively walled off for your parish staff to use. A person has to be assigned staff access in order to see specific staff features. Alternatively, there are several community-facing features that are available for your whole parish body to utilize.
We offer many training solutions to guide you as you learn and implement Realm. These include virtual training, training schools, and our new online learning tool called MinistrySmart that you will have access to inside of Realm. You can find more information about these training options here.
Realm is already a powerful tool, but we’re adding more to it everyday. We have a team of over 80 people just working on its development. There is a release every two weeks, and major features are released quarterly.
Your data from PDS Church Office can be converted to Realm. There is no cost for that conversion. Check with your implementation specialist to see specific details on what fields are converted and how they look in Realm.
Your data conversion takes approximately 5 business days. We’ll use email to stay in touch and let you know when your conversion is complete.
These best practices should be completed before converting. See PDS help documentation for more information about each of these tasks.
- Delete unused user keywords. In PDS, go to File > Keywords > Member Keywords > User Keywords and select the keyword. Delete the Keyword Name, clear Use For, then delete.
- Review each of the keywords under File > Keywords. For each keyword list, look for similar entries that mean the same thing and use Combine to merge them to a single entry. Edit any misspelled entries. Repeat until all keywords have been examined.
- Identify and remove duplicate individual records.
- Delete unwanted family and/or member records.
- Remove duplicate sacraments, if any. Go to File > Sacrament Setup > Sacrament Place Names and Addresses and click Combine. Make sure the Sacrament Date Names table is clean. Go to File > Keywords > Member Keywords > Sacrament Date Names.
We encourage you to clean your background families up before conversion. However, if you leave them in the background in PDS, they will convert to Realm as “inactive.” If you would like to not have them convert as “inactive” please let your implementation specialist know.
Yes, as long as there is no serious data corruption. A Data Conversion Specialist will review your data. If there is corrupt data, an Implementation Specialist will contact you to discuss the options.
We call this the “post-conversion call,” during which we review where your data landed in Realm, give you a brief orientation of Realm, and give you the tools to move forward using Realm.
Be sure to include everyone on staff at your parish who handles the data that is converting. If you are converting PDS Ledger chart of accounts or vendor data, be sure to invite the person who handles accounting at your parish. If you are converting PDS Church Office data, be sure to include the staff member who works with that data the most in the conversation. This will ensure you are getting the best check possible on your data.
Become familiar with Realm basics. Visit MinistrySmart and complete the Navigating Realm and Settings I courses to learn the basic navigation functions so you are able to navigate during the post-conversion call quicker and easier.
In Realm, you can assign a “Member Type” to each profile. Add a member type of “Non-Parishioner” and assign that type to all students and family members who participate in your Religious Education program but are non-parishioners. If you ever want to see who you have in your religious education programs that are non-parishioners, you can run a custom query on your religious education groups for all of those who have that member type.
No. In Realm, each individual has a separate profile that is accessed by logging in with their email address and password. To keep the records separate, the account emails used to log in must be unique for each person. When two members have the same email address and the parish sends them invites, the first one to respond to the email wins. The second person will get a message “An account already exists for email address…”
However, many email platforms allow you to have multiple addresses that share a common email inbox. Check out the Using Realm with Shared Email Addresses blog to learn more and guide your parishioners to creating unique email addresses.