Budget. Return on investment. Value. Frequency of use. Ah, those pesky but necessary terms that help churches determine whether to make a purchase. The fact is, when investing in technology, these are very real things to think about. This is why finding solutions that may not be super feature rich, yet meet your needs, and are affordable (or even free) can help make these leaps of faith easier on the digestion.
The ability to offer online meetings is definitely one of those options that churches would like have but balk at it because of cost and how little it may be used. Fear not! There is an option that gives some of the benefits of GoToMeeting but at the cost of Skype (that’s free, by the way). It’s called join.me.
join.me is built by LogMeIn who connects millions of people to their devices, data, and apps every day. Their basic plan, which is free, offers you the ability to connect 10 people to a meeting, plus these features:
- Mobile apps – works with iOS and Android.
- Screen sharing – show your desktop to participants.
- File transfer – send files to each other during the meeting.
- Internet calling – connect through Voice over IP.
- Share control – can give control of organizer’s screen to others, one person at a time.
For an annual bill of less than $13 a month, you get some nice extras:
- Up to 250 participants
- Unlimited audio – free international calls and meeting access via phone.
- Share a window – choose a window to share, and keep the rest private. All alerts, email notifications, and third-party chats will be hidden.
- Presenter swap – let someone else show his/her screen and become the presenter. Works with PC, Mac, or iPad.
- Meeting lock – control who sees your screen.
- Annotation – everyone can mark up the screen. As the presenter, you can take a snapshot of the screen for your records and clear the screen to start fresh again.
- Record your meeting – record audio and visual and store it in LogMeIn’s cloud, Cubby.
If you want to have online meetings or have staff, committee members, parents, or teens attend an in-person meeting they might have otherwise missed, join.me is a great option for parishes looking for a simple needs solution or are limited by their budget. Nervous about trying it? Liturgical Publications, Inc. uses it for their online meetings across the country. Give it a try!