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OurPrayerCenter articles about how to build a free online community for Christian churches

OPC Staffwriter
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What is SaaPS?

You may have heard the term Software-as-a-Service. SaaS is a popular buzzword today in the web technology field. As the internet has proliferated and high-speed access become more readily available, more companies are choosing software that is provided over the internet to run their mission critical applications.  

In the SaaS business model customers rent the use of the application in a “pay-as-you-go” arrangement and users connect to it over the internet through a web browser like Google Chrome, Apple Safari or Mozilla Firefox. It’s a delivery method more common than many people realize. If you’ve used services like Google’s Gmail or Microsoft’s Outlook you’ve used SaaS. 

Recently more sophisticated business applications for accounting like Xero, email services like MailChimp, and help desk support like Zendesk have gained popularity. We use MailChimp and Zendesk to help us run our organization. These applications charge a subscription fee based on the tier of service. 

Freemium For-Profit Business Model

Many of these traditional for-profit enterprises offer a trial version or feature-light tier as a trial with premium feature tiers with more functionality at a paid plan. In 2014 Eric Seufert defined the freemium business model in his book Freemium Economics.  In the for-profit world the freemium model is used as a marketing approach to lower the barrier to new customers by eliminating the upfront investment. 

SaaS + Social Enterprise = Changed Lives, Better World

In our nonprofit world we use the SaaS business model and the freemium model in a new and unique way. As a social enterprise our mission as a nonprofit is to change the world for the better by providing leading edge software to empower Christian faith-based organizations to grow their real-life faith, fellowship and ministries. We want to be the platform to grow the Christian faith in the world and in doing so see the Christian call to action carried out living the ministries of care, compassion and service to one another. 

SaaPS a new kind of SaaS

Our business approach is the convergence of the social enterprise and software as a service, something we like to call Software-as-a-Profound-Service or SaaPS. We use the freemium business model to offer a feature rich platform of private online communities to every Christian church everywhere. We also offer paid tiers of premium software services and add-ons for larger churches and organizations or churches wanting more functionality. These paid tiers and add-ons then provide a sustainable revenue stream for our nonprofit enterprise to continue to offer the free tier for everyone. 

We’re setting up OurPrayerCenter as a nonprofit organization so that all of our revenue is invested in the platform services. We never intend to be bought or sold to a larger tech company or to 'go public’ in an IPO. We haven’t filled the legal paperwork just yet but we intend to do that soon in 2017. 

Inspiration from Giants

We’d love to say that we thought of this all on our own. The truth is, we’ve been inspired by many others. We’ve borrowed ideas for our organization from other giants in the tech world. One of our most admired mentors is John O'Nolan who cofounded the platform a nonprofit organization dedicated to building an open source blogging platform for journalism. We admire their mission and dedication to transparency. 

We’ve been inspired by other thought leaders in the social entrepreneurship movement including Jason Haber and his book The Business of Good. His message of bringing market forces together to make the world a better place resonates deeply with us. 

We believe that there is a prevailing wind in some areas of the tech world to use Software-as-a-Profound-Service and we are delighted to be among the first to harness its power.

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