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SeekerWorks

SeekerWorks.net is a church management website, which helps nonprofit organizations and churches with administrative tasks from any device connected to the internet. Using SeekerWorks.net, churches can edit and update information...Read more about SeekerWorks

4.7 (3 reviews)

Planning Center

Planning Center is an all-in-one church management system designed to help you and your team communicate, organize information, coordinate events, and connect with your congregation. With a suite of different products on a connec...Read more about Planning Center

Chmeetings

Chmeetings is a cloud-based church management solution designed for orthodox, Catholic and Protestant churches. Key features include group text messaging, attendance tracking, event management, small group management and member di...Read more about Chmeetings

Realm

Realm is a cloud-based church management solution that helps users in church administration, accounting and community management. Users are provided with a mobile app to send messages to community members. The solution provides mu...Read more about Realm

Anedot

Anedot is a cloud-based solution that helps non-profit organizations manage fundraising campaigns and collect donations. The centralized platform enables users to create customizable forms and embed them into websites. Furthermore...Read more about Anedot

Breeze ChMS

Breeze is an intuitive web-based church management software that helps small to mid-size churches and organizations monitor people, manage events and track donations. With Breeze, organizations can manage databases, create groups...Read more about Breeze ChMS

Notebird

Notebird is a pastoral care application designed for churches, nonprofits, and ministries seeking to enhance their care efforts. The app offers a centralized location for storing conversation notes, assigning follow-ups, and monit...Read more about Notebird

Clearstream

Clearstream is an SMS marketing software, which helps churches of all sizes communicate with members in real-time and automate follow-ups with first-time guests. Managers can utilize custom fields to share personalized messages, n...Read more about Clearstream

CharityTracker

Meet CharityTracker, the approachable and affordable CRM solution for organizations that lets you focus on your clients to measure real-world impact, not just data. We’ll help you generate meaningful data and collaborative partner...Read more about CharityTracker

Text In Church

Text In Church is a cloud-based church management solution that connects pastors with church members. The solution can also be accessed via native mobile apps available for Android and iOS devices. Key features include tasks remin...Read more about Text In Church

Verified First

Verified First offers tech-enabled background check services, including criminal checks, civil checks, identity checks, verifications, driver records, international searches, and drug screening. This solution was built for a varie...Read more about Verified First

Donarius

Donarius is a church management software solution available for on-premise deployment that serves both churches and other non-profit organizations. Donarius lets users keep track of members, contributions, pledges and more. U...Read more about Donarius

FlockBase

FlockBase is a church management solution that helps businesses streamline processes related to membership management, accounting, communication, online giving, and more from a centralized platform. It allows users to maintain mem...Read more about FlockBase

Sunergo

Sunergo is a suite of tools for churches, which includes a website, event registration and an online donation portal. It offers a contact management platform that helps manage tax receipting, volunteer scheduling and more. Memb...Read more about Sunergo

4.7 (3 reviews)

grplife Church Edition

grplife is a cloud-based church management software designed for small and midsize churches and ministries. It offers volunteer management, surveys, messaging, event management and check-in tools. Mobile apps are available for iOS...Read more about grplife Church Edition

4.6 (5 reviews)

Attendance Now

Attendance Now is a cloud-based attendance tracking solution designed for churches of all sizes. The solution offers native mobile applications for Android and iOS devices. Key features allow users to manage member directories, tr...Read more about Attendance Now

Logos II

LOGOS II church management software from ParishSOFT offers tools to support member profile management, contributions and pledges, small groups, attendance tracking and more for both single and multi-location organizations. LO...Read more about Logos II

ChurchTrac

ChurchTrac is a cloud-based church management solution made for churches of all sizes. It enables users to manage people, groups, attendance, events, contributions and more. Additional features such as messaging, processes and acc...Read more about ChurchTrac

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SimpleChurch CRM

SimpleChurch's church management software (ChMS) is simple, easy to use, and integrated, giving you a whole church management system at your fingertips. SimpleChurch ChMS will help your church: -Access church information from any...Read more about SimpleChurch CRM

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ChurchDesk

ChurchDesk is a cloud-based church management platform that helps users manage the various tools used to engage and support members of a congregation. Churches of all sizes can expect to take advantage of the features available in...Read more about ChurchDesk

Buyers Guide

Last Updated: March 16, 2023

Churches and religious organizations have hundreds of church management software (ChMS) solutions from which to choose. Between standalone fund accounting applications to fully integrated suites, there are many effective options to streamline church operations and save time so church leaders can stay focused on advancing their organization’s mission.

The challenge for buyers is analyzing different solutions to determine which best meets their organization’s immediate and future needs. This guide provides an overview of church management software to help identify the best system for your organization.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is Church Management Software?

Common Features of Church Management Software

How Is ChMS Software Priced?

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Benefits and Potential Issues

Best Tactics to Select New Software

Market Trends to Understand

What Is Church Management Software?

Church management software enables churches and religious organizations to automate common administrative, management and reporting tasks. These feature-rich programs aim to expedite communications, streamline daily operations and support collaboration. Available as both standalone applications and comprehensive programs, organizations of any size and budget can benefit from the features church management software offers. Each system is unique, but most offer similar core functions, which are highlighted below.

Church software donor management demonstration video from Servant Keeper

Common Features of Church Management Software

Membership management

Keep important member, volunteer and visitor information, such as phone numbers, addresses and activity involvement, up-to-date. Search and reporting features allow you to create directories and customize lists for outreach.

Contributions/donor management

Contribution management software provides secure collection and management of individual, planned and major donations.

Accounting

Enables secure tracking and reporting of expenditures and revenues for multiple funds.

Event & facilities management

Event and activity planning reduces the administrative time required to manage group activities and events. Scheduling functions prevent double booking of resources, such as rooms, vans and video equipment. Other functions include Web-based registration, event listing search, payment process support, tracking and reporting.

Volunteer management

Volunteer management software helps churches organize contact information, volunteer history, availability and more. Scheduling features provide outreach tools to contact volunteers for upcoming events.

Communications/outreach

Communications and outreach tools help you increase member engagement through email marketing, direct mail, activities and events.

Check-in & child security

Check-in applications track member and visitor attendance at any event, including seminars, camps and retreats. Many check-in programs integrate with touch screen technology for self-service check-in. Others include child check-in functionality, which keeps track of which children are present in specific church locations, such as classrooms and nurseries.

Many of the above features can also be found in general nonprofit software suites. However, church management systems are designed to handle member relationships unique to churches and faith-based organizations.

Bloomerang-giving-summary

Giving summary dashboard in Bloomerang

Kindful-donor-overview

Donor overview in Kindful

How Is ChMS Software Priced?

Church management systems generally follow three pricing models:

Pricing model

Description

Example products

Subscription based on weekly attendance

A monthly or annual fee based on weekly attendance numbers.

Fresh Vine, ACS Realm

Subscription based on number of member records

A monthly or annual fee based on number of member records stored in the database.

Shelby Church, Church 360, Church Office Online

Perpetual license fee

A one-time per user, or per computer fee. Some licenses allow multiple users one a single license, while others require an additional license for each user.

Servant Keeper, By the Book, CDM+

ChMS pricing tends to increase along with the breadth and depth of functionality included in the system.

(https://software-advice.imgix.net/managed/tinymce_files/images/Church Mgmt/chms-price-visualization.jpg)Packages on the higher end of the cost scale will offer the most robust features, such as online community support, integrated check-in/security and volunteer management. Packages for small churches, on the other hand, will include only the most essential church management functions, such as member records management, email communications and basic reporting.

Generally, large churches will benefit most from more comprehensive packages, while small churches will find packages with less functionality meet their needs and budget. Large churches are not the only buyers of church administration software with the most extensive features sets (as the chart above indicates), but because costs tend to increase with greater functionality, it can be difficult for small churches to afford those packages.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Before purchasing software for your church or religious organization, it’s important to understand your organizational needs and how a ChMS solution can help meet those requirements.

Small or family size church. Everyone may know everyone else in your congregation, but it’s still important for church managers to securely maintain membership information, track attendance and record contributions. ChMS vendors offer affordable installed and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) membership management solutions to speed the handling of administrative tasks.

Medium to large size churches. Churches with 250 to 2,000 members have large budgets that require sophisticated, double-entry accounting and reporting systems. These systems efficiently track spending by fund, department and project, and automate payroll, taxes, fixed asset tracking and member contributions.

Corporate size or megachurch. Megachurch management requirements are considerably different than those of smaller churches and demand an enterprise-level solution to meet the needs of a 2,000+ member congregation. Megachurches may have multiple locations, so a system integrated with a single database that allows leadership to monitor and report from any location is essential for handling the constant outreach and events common within large religious organizations. A communication platform that lets members and volunteers create groups, schedule activities and collaborate keeps everyone informed and connected.

Benefits and Potential Issues

Churches that adopt the right types of software may realize many benefits, such as:

  • Maintaining a secure contact database of every church visitor and member with reporting capabilities to compile the information necessary to make good stewardship decisions.

  • Easily communicating announcements to the entire congregation or select individuals and groups for increased membership engagement.

  • Securely tracking donations and contributions with back-end processing and reporting for statement generation and audit purposes.

  • Empowering members and groups through automated event and activity scheduling.

Churches that fail to realize some of these core benefits often do so because they:

  • Select a management system that does not integrate with other membership, contributions or accounting tools, or doesn’t scale for growth.

  • Overlook essential accounting, compliance or regulatory issues.

  • Do not have the right infrastructure in place to support integration of systems from different vendors.

  • Fail to properly train staff on how to leverage the software’s full scope of features and functionality.

Best Tactics to Select New Software

Evaluating new church management software can be a daunting task—there are many variables to consider and hundreds of products from which to choose. Nonetheless, it’s a step that cannot be overlooked.

We recently surveyed buyers across multiple industries to determine which tactics are most effective for selecting software. Top methods include checking vendor references, having agreements reviewed by an attorney, assessing financial viability of vendors and preparing an RFP.

Software-Selection-Quadrant

Quadrant indicating where selection tactics fall on the “impact” and “satisfaction” spectrum

By sticking to selection tactics that fall in "most effective" quadrant and avoiding tactics in the "least effective" quadrant, you can avoid spending time using methods that are less likely to return information that is most useful finding the right software.

Market Trends to Understand

As a church manager, you know that budgeting, contributions and compliance are ongoing issues that impact your ability to serve your church members and communities. Here are a few other issues to keep in mind as you explore the right solution for your organization:

Adoption of the cloud. Church managers are charged with finding ways to boost contributions, and one of the biggest hindrances to growth is handling financial management tasks. Cloud accounting software allows church leadership to review budgets and monitor program impact in real-time from any location. With automatic reporting and financial information at your fingertips, it’s easier to make proactive decisions that support program impact and growth. An Intacct survey found four out of five churches reporting 1,000 weekly attendees or more have adopted cloud technology, while 55 percent of smaller churches are currently “in the cloud.” According to Intacct, churches that are using the cloud for online giving are nearly twice as likely to see an increase in donations.

Online giving. According to the Blackbaud Index on Charitable Giving Trends, online giving in faith-based organizations grew by 6.1 percent in 2012. Additionally, online giving at over 200 congregations and other faith-based groups that raised more than $110 million in 12 months grew by 16.7 percent from August to October 2013. This trend is expected to continue, which means it’s important to provide members with ways to make mobile and online contributions.

Social media. To foster ongoing communications with members and volunteers, churches and religious organizations are turning to social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook to share information and increase support. Connecting other outreach channels, such as email communication and events, with social media channels can facilitate increased communication among members.