How Migrating Its Regular Bookings to Sharesy Has Helped St Peter’s Church To Focus on Community
About the church
St Peter's Church sits at the heart of De Beauvoir in Hackney. It offers a warm welcome to everyone and aims to serve the whole of the community in De Beauvoir Town. With a range of programmed activities including Warm Wednesdays, Crafty Church for children each Sunday, and plans to recruit a Parish Nurse, the church team is committed to providing a safe and welcoming space to each and every one.
The church has a large crypt, which includes two halls (East Room and The Hall), two consulting rooms, and a cafe area with a terrace and full kitchen. The church itself has fantastic AV facilities and is available to hire for weddings, conferences and performances.
Lettings at St Peter have been thriving for a number of years. The church has had many long term regular bookers running activities from everything from baby sensory classes to life drawing and supper clubs to counselling sessions.
During a recruitment search for a new administrator, Fr Simon found himself acting as administrator. It was quickly apparent that managing bookings in house was unfeasible for volunteers and staff at St Peter’s. During the vacancy, Fr Simon found himself buried in admin: “It took up around half my day. It filled all the space in my calendar with bookings, bookers or enabling bookings.”
He was managing not only new enquiries, but all the existing valued community partners too. Maintaining relationships with the existing bookers was important, but he also had to “handle all the admin - chasing payments, checking schedules and replying to emails”.
Having been referred to Sharesy by Martin Hornbuckle, the Stepney Area Finance Advisor, Fr Simon was encouraged by Sharesy’s “understanding of community space and the needs that charity and community spaces have”.
He was optimistic that Sharesy would help St Peter to achieve its goals and enable the roles of St Peter’s staff to be more manageable.
Reduce the administrative headache: They just didn’t have the capacity for lettings and Fr Simon’s team of volunteers and staff were already at capacity.
Enable St Peter’s to strengthen its links with the community: With all their time spent on chasing invoices and managing the calendar, the team had less time to focus on building relationships with its bookers.
Increase utilisation of the venue’s spaces: The church wanted to see the crypt better utilised and doing their own advertising was prohibitively expensive.
Lettings revenue at the church was already over £4,000 per month, but the internal effort required to manage it was resulting in mounting internal costs, including staff satisfaction and well-being.
Fr Simon had looked at other lettings companies and platforms, but they seemed to offer more of an expensive service contract and didn’t pay attention to the needs of small charities and community venues.
“Talking with Sharesy, it was clear they were different. They genuinely wanted the solution to work for us and were keen to find ways to solve our problems. It felt more like a partnership - we were going to be in this together”
“The flexible terms from Sharesy, along with the fact we only paid commission on successful bookings made it a no brainer for us”
After a few months of partnering with Sharesy, there has been no looking back and Fr Simon’s team is reaping the benefits.
Seamless booking process for us and our bookers
With all new bookings coming through Sharesy, rather than the church team, there has been a massive administrative benefit. Bookers engage with the team at Sharesy rather than St Peter’s but enjoy a similarly good experience: “the booker's experience is as good as ours”.
“We value our employees and volunteers, and this has made their experience so much better.”
Happy regular bookers and no more chasing payments!
There are over 40 regular bookers at St Peter. Sharesy swiftly migrated them to a new system and provided a much simpler process for scheduling and payment. The bookers were happy with the simplicity of it and the church bookkeeper now had only one letting related task each month - to reconcile their monthly payout receipt.
Fabulous team at Sharesy
Sharesy and St Peter are building a partnership together, it’s not just a corporate business relationship. Fr Simon says working with the team “has been a really positive experience.” At the church’s annual community BBQ, St Peter’s Day, Sharesy’s CEO, Felix, attended with his family to show support.
“The fact that Felix came to St Peter’s day was a real blessing. It gave us an opportunity to celebrate our relationship - a relationship which really matters to us.”
Time to try new things
Using the time (and brain power!) saved, Fr Simon and his team are now able to think more creatively about how to use their spaces, like running events for their community and helping marginalised people and those from low-income backgrounds.
“In October half-term, we’ve arranged to host an art exhibition and support those who can’t afford to exhibit in galleries. The capacity to think creatively and plan these types of events wouldn’t have been possible before.”
The church can also make improvements to how the venue is operated. Recently the team at St Peter’s has implemented a new automated key system, making managing venue access much easier for the church and its regular bookers.
Not just commercial advantages, but community ones too
St Peter’s needs to raise over £240K a year each year to break even from all its available income sources including generous donations as well as events and lettings, and has generated over £50k on the Sharesy platform in a little over 8 months. The administration now required to manage existing and new bookers is greatly reduced, saving time and money.
Fr Simon and his team are now able to build stronger relationships with their regular bookers, improve how the spaces are used and strengthen links with the community.
When asked what advice Fr Simon would give to anyone considering partnering with Sharesy, he said,
“It is definitely worth trying and the advantages massively outweigh any potential concerns you might have. Any conceived disadvantages we had turned about to be ill-founded and our partnership is going from strength to strength.”
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