3 Top-Rated Affordable Church Management Software

By: Ashish Upadhyay on May 9, 2024

Church leaders and administrators often struggle to maintain member records, plan events, and track attendee numbers. Investing in an affordable church management tool can help streamline such administrative tasks and contribute towards managing contributions and overall church finances. 

This article lists three top-rated church management software solutions based on verified user reviews and pricing found on vendor websites. Per our research, we’ve considered products with base plans priced less than $35.50 per month as affordable software and arranged them in ascending order of their prices. 

All products listed in the article are dedicated church management solutions that provide features and services for churches and other kinds of faith-based organizations. All the products offer the core features of church management software: donation management and membership management.

What is a base software plan?

A base plan is the most affordable pricing tier offered by a software provider. Besides having the lowest price, base plans provide access to all core software features. However, they may have limitations compared to higher-tier plans in terms of the available functionality, storage capacity, number of user seats, support options, etc.

We selected products for this article based on their average ratings between April 2022 - April 2024, which may differ from their current overall average ratings.

1. ChurchTrac

ChurchTrac is an online giving and church management platform that helps church leaders and congregation administrators accept and track online and offline member donations and attendance for church events. The software also features a website mobile app building feature which you can use to create a church member portal. The portal can help you gather online prayer requests, register new members into a congregation, or connect with church members via chat. 

ChurchTrac’s base plan allows you to track unlimited giving and pledges, online donation management, and attendance tracking. Upgrading to an advanced plan allows you to leverage its accounting functionality. This assists in budget creation, finance management, and monitoring fund balances for your church.

Base plan features*:

  • Unlimited giving and pledges: Track contributions, accept donations online, or import from other church giving platforms. You can also create a campaign and add donors with their pledge amount. Once created, you can monitor progress and generate reports throughout the campaign.

  • Unlimited check-ins: Create single or multiple check-in stations for your entire children's ministry. You can also print security labels for children and corresponding pickup tags for parents and record information, such as known allergies, medical notes, and emergency contact.

  • Built-in member portal: Create a church website or an app that functions like a member portal for church members. You can gather online prayer requests, accept online donations, and create an online member directory accessible only to church members for security.

Starting price: $8.10 per month

Cost to upgrade: $21.60 per month

Billing cycle: Annual

Customer support options: Help center, FAQ, and email support

Who should consider ChurchTrac?

Churches witnessing considerably larger donations and pledges can benefit from ChurchTrac and its ability to track and monitor unlimited donations. Additionally, if your church often hosts prayer meetings and congregational events, you can use the built-in member portal to share information among members and track attendance for individual events.

ChurchTrac

ChurchTrac

4.81 out of 5 stars

750 reviews

2. ChMeetings

ChMeetings is a church management solution that helps church leaders effectively track and organize members and groups and store their data. You can collect and track pledges and donations with ChMeetings and manage, share, and track church events. The software also features a form builder in which you can add the fields you require, customize it according to your church, and share your form as a link with members or embed it on the website. 

ChMeetings’ base plan offers contribution tracking, people and group management, event check-ins, and a mobile app with member access. Upgrading to an advanced plan will grant you access to volunteer scheduling, service planning, and integrational support.

Base plan features*:

  • Contribution tracking: Collect, track, and manage contributions from members and non-members, online and offline. You can export contribution data, email or print statements, or create mailing labels. The software also helps create pledge campaigns and automatically track how much members have contributed compared to their pledged amounts via a donor management dashboard.

  • No-cost data transfer: Migrate congregational and member data from any third-party platform to the ChMeetings dashboard at no added cost if you purchase a paid plan.

  • People management: Create, view, edit, or search people profiles, individually, or in bulk. Import people lists, merge duplicates, and even transfer between ministries and groups. 

Starting price: $12 per month

Cost to upgrade: $25 per month

Billing cycle: Monthly

Customer support options: Help center, FAQ, and email support

Who should consider ChMeetings?

ChMeetings is ideal for a small church or religious organization that requires basic member management and donation-tracking functionality. The church operations software offers free data migration from any third-party platform which is beneficial for churches whose budgets don’t allow paying for data migration. Additionally, ChMeetings’ mobile app supports more than 18 languages, which is beneficial for churches with members and volunteers from various nationalities.

Chmeetings

Chmeetings

4.84 out of 5 stars

77 reviews

Pro tip

Check if the church management mobile app offers built-in real-time messaging for church members to communicate with church leaders and vice versa. Such functionality makes communication more efficient and effective.

3. Planning Center

Planning Center is a church administration and management solution that helps churches plan worship, manage events, and schedule on a cloud-based shared calendar. The software also supports event check-ins, volunteer management, donation processing and reporting. You can also create custom web pages and share sermon videos and audio online for easier access. 

Planning Center’s base plan offers access to all features related to administrative tasks including a calendar for event planning, up to ten daily check-ins, event registrations, donation tracking, group management, and web publishing. Upgrading to an advanced plan increases the number of events you can schedule, donations you can track, and attendee registrations you can accept.

Base plan features*:

  • Centralized calendar: Plan, schedule, and share your events, manage your facilities, and track resources from a single church calendar. You can display your church’s most regular gatherings, such as services and small groups, or post details for unique events, such as picnics, choir rehearsals, and guest speaker events.

  • Member groups: Cultivate community in your church by making small groups for people to connect. Organize your groups how you want, such as by member information or shared activities, and share them on your church app or website for people to easily find the group they want to join.

  • Service planning: Create unique plans for each service, including details on people, songs, and notes. You can also file plans under ministry categories, such as children’s ministry, and set the order and length of each item in the service so your church staff knows what to expect.

Starting price: $14 per month

Cost to upgrade: $29 per month

Billing cycle: Monthly

Customer support options: Help center, FAQ, and email support

Who should consider Planning Center?

Churches that have specific management needs can benefit from the software’s ‘pay for what your church needs’ pricing model. This option allows users to choose from a list of features and functionalities and create a personalized plan instead of purchasing the whole product suite. Additionally, the church management system has a member groups feature that lets you create specific groups to tailor effective communication. You can send targeted messages, announcements, or event invitations to specific groups rather than broadcasting to the entire membership base.

Planning Center

Planning Center

4.71 out of 5 stars

1125 reviews

Top 3 church management software features users rate as highly important

All the products listed in this article include the features mentioned below. To identify these, we asked users to rate, on a scale of “low importance” to “critical,” how important different features are for church management software. The features showcased are those that the highest percentage of reviewers rated as “highly important” or “critical” over the past two years (as of April 21, 2024).

Feature name

Criticality rating (%)

Description

Membership management

84%

Allows churches to maintain detailed profiles for each member, including contact information, family relationships, attendance history, and involvement in various church activities.

Member communication

81%

Support various communication channels, such as email, text messaging (SMS), in-app messaging, and even social media integration. This allows churches to reach members through their preferred channels.

Donation management

77%

Allows churches to track all types of donations, including tithes, offerings, special gifts, pledges, and in-kind donations. Each donation is recorded with details, such as the donor's name, donation amount, date, and purpose.

Member directory

76%

Maintains detailed profiles for each member, including personal information such as names, contact details, family relationships, birthdays, and anniversaries. Some platforms also allow members to update their own profiles, ensuring data accuracy.

Volunteer management

54%

Enables churches to create volunteer schedules for events, services, classes, and other ministry activities. Volunteers can view available opportunities, sign up for shifts, and receive automated reminders about their commitments.

How much does church management software cost?

Church management software solutions can cost as low as $9 per month or up to $199+ per month, depending on various factors—features, number of users, infrastructure requirements, business size/type, training availability, deployment options, integrations, and customization options. Most church management solutions typically include the following pricing plans:

  • Free trials: Range from seven to 30 days and give users access to either all or limited features of the software. These no-cost trial plans are ideal for churches that wish to try out a tool before purchasing it.

  • Free versions: Offer perpetual access to limited software features. These free plans are ideal for a small church or individuals on a budget. 

  • Entry-level plans: Start at $9 per month and offer access to standard features. These are suitable for small churches or teams with basic church management feature requirements, such as donation tracking, membership management, and basic reporting.

  • Mid-tier plans: Range from $24 to $49.50 per month and offer advanced features such as automated donation tracking, auto-transaction matching, online giving, customizable member management dashboards, and advanced reporting. These are suitable for churches that have outgrown entry-level church management solutions but don’t require the full range of functionality offered by enterprise-level tools.

  • High-end plans: Cost more than $199 per month and offer a range of advanced features, including unlimited access to entry-level and mid-tier features, priority customer support, and integrations with third-party systems. These are suitable for large churches with multiple team members and departments and extensive church management needs.

Hidden costs associated with church management software

Besides the software license, additional costs can include:

  • Training expenses: Initial training for new users and ongoing training for updates or new features can lead to additional costs.

  • Data migration costs: Migrating data from your existing system to the new tool may require expert assistance, adding to the software implementation cost.

  • Software upgrades: Additional costs may be incurred for software upgrades to access the latest church management features and security patches.

Frequently asked questions when selecting affordable church management software 

  • What features are included in the base plan?

Understand what features are included in the software's basic package and whether they meet your church's essential needs, such as member management, donation tracking, and communication tools. Additionally, ask about any hidden charges for additional user roles or features such as real-time messaging.

  • Are there additional costs for add-on features?

Inquire about any additional costs for add-on features or modules that may be necessary for your church's specific requirements, such as event management, volunteer tracking, online giving capabilities, and group management.

  • Are there any limitations or restrictions on the number of users or members?

Clarify whether there are any limitations or restrictions on the number of users or members that can be added to the system and whether there are additional costs for exceeding those limits.


Methodology

To be considered for this list, products had to:

  • Have at least 20 unique product reviews published on Software Advice within the past two years, with an average rating of 3.0 or higher (as of April 21, 2024). 

  • Include the core features of church management software: donation management and membership management.

  • Meet our market definition for church management software: “Church management software handles functions such as accounting, donation tracking, service attendance, membership, schedules, and activities. Churches use these applications to automate and organize administrative functions including document creation, outreach, and event scheduling. It helps churches better track resources and foster communication among administrators as well as staff, ministry leaders, members, and visitors.

  • For products that met the first three criteria, we assessed the monthly subscription price of the base plans and found the average price to be $35.50 we considered only products with publicly available pricing information. We then shortlisted products with a monthly base price lower than $35.50 for this article.

*Our research team identified these features from vendor websites (as of April 21, 2024) based on their analysis of what users find valuable in or expect from church management software. This list is not exhaustive. For additional features, refer to the vendor's website.  

We select and rank products based on an objective methodology developed by our research team. While some vendors may pay us when they receive web traffic or leads, this has no influence on our methodology.

Note: Products evaluated for the pricing calculation were taken from Software Advice’s church management directory. The pricing ranges exclude freemium versions of the products. The features highlighted were identified based on their relevance and the percentage of products in the Software Advice directory that offer them. Only products with publicly available pricing information, as of April 21, 2024, were considered for the pricing calculation.