Pastor-designed South African church management solution expands overseas

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GoDoChurch was never meant to be a startup. Designed in 2008 by Cape Town-based pastor Andrew Hunter, it began as a solution to a problem faced by his local church.

GoDoChurch provides churches with easy-to-use web-based church management software, with a mobile app component. The online management software is designed for church staff, and the mobile app designed for the congregation, with the two integrating with each other.

So successful was it at Hunter’s church that others heard about it, and it just grew and grew. It was only in 2015, however, when it really became a “startup” as such, with the decision taken to scale. It now has a remote team working across South Africa and Nigeria, and is headed up by chief executive officer (CEO) Ryan Brear.

“Churches require a huge amount of administration: running events, Sunday rosters, kids church classes, following up with first-time visitors, communicating with the congregation, raising funds…” Brear said. 

“Most churches use disconnected systems like bulk SMS, Excel sheets, and online event software to solve their admin needs. The fact that these systems are disconnected makes team collaboration a real challenge. GoDoChurch solves these problems by integrating these fractured admin systems.”

Though there are plenty of church management solutions out there, most are US-based and too expensive for Africa-based churches. 

“We saw an opportunity to provide a solution at a price point churches in Africa could afford,” said Brear.

Since deciding to scale, GoDoChurch has received huge levels of interest. It currently has churches in South Africa, Nigeria, Namibia, Ireland and Canada, though its short-term focus, and marketing spend, is in South Africa and Nigeria. It currently has around three churches signing up for a trial of the product each day, and is heading towards 200 customers.

The startup closed a funding round with AngelHub Ventures in March of last year, and is in the process of raising further funding to help it grow. Revenues come from monthly subscriptions paid by churches, which is tied to the size of their database. 

“We also provide churches with a full eventing solution and add a small service charge to any tickets sold online,” Brear said.

Growth has been positive, but Brear said there had been many challenges along the way for GoDoChurch. Its inside knowledge, however, has given it an edge.

“We have a passion to help the local church succeed, and that is what motivates us to make it work. One advantage we have is our team has a combined ministry experience of over 70 years, so we really understand our target market,” he said. 

“In many ways we are trying to build a product for ourselves, to solve the needs of the churches in which we are involved. This level of insight makes it easy to know what to do to improve the product.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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