As churches continue to grow and expand, technology is playing a larger and larger role. With social media platforms, instant communication and the battle to make everything as convenient as possible, church management software is now a major decision for a leadership team.
We have compiled this church management software guide to take a look at various software programs, pros and cons to each. This list is divided up into the size of the church and features data for mega churches and smaller churches. Additional categories include accounting and social media or communications. As a note, some programs are ranked best because of a distinguishing feature such as a full social media suite. One thing that was common among most of these programs was the list of features. For that reason, where possible, information about a free trial or demo is included. Because the distinguishing features are so similar that the “best” program for a church becomes a matter of preference over design or ease of use. Those are features that are difficult to point out because they are subjective. A good TIP is to take advantage of a demo or free trial and try products out for yourself.
Ranked Best for Mega Churches because it also offers a full social media suite. The benefits of Elexio is that is fully integrated. This is a web-based program that helps church leaders develop marketing tools, connect with the entire flock, develop and track donations, manage volunteers, and it offers a reporting tool. The powerful program even allows management via online apps and participation from church members via smartphone apps. The premise behind Elexio is that it allows church leaders to focus on leading rather than spending energy on administrative tasks.
You can find information on Elexio Database software here
SimpleChurchCRM, a Close Second, is a subscription based church management system that offers a full-featured software suite of tools including a mobile app. With this software, church members have access to member-specific tools such as Child-Check-In and online giving. For church leaders, there are tools that help to develop and communicate with members of the congregation through a variety of options such as email, text messaging, or via voice message. With each to use features, managers can follow attendance and track and follow up on communications between members of the church and church leadership. The tools within this sophisticated software package help to increase church involvement for all members while making church management easier via online applications.
You can find more information on SimpleChurchCRM here.
Churchteams offers cloud-based church management systems that are ideal for larger churches with large congregations. The benefits of this software suite are that it helps churches to embrace fully web technology. That means better tools for managing groups of people, not just single events. The program splits management into groups of tasks such as donations, social organizations, event management, reporting, and membership management. Churchteams offers a 30-day free trial so that church membership teams can try out the software suite to see how it fits the needs of the church today and for tomorrow.
You can find more information on Churchteams here.
The positive about the Excellerate Church Management Software suite is that it is cloud-based or installed directly onto your machine. The second positive thing about this program is that it is a single purchase. This is not a subscription-based software product, so it is a one-time expense. If you opt for the cloud-based system, then your church incurs a monthly cost. The program is a comprehensive suite of tools that focus on helping your church grow. For that reason, it is more appropriate for a larger church with room to grow. Benefits features include member tracking, visitor tracking, customizable reporting, and customizable to your church. The program uses C++ developing language and that means that the program responds quickly to search and data entry tasks. It is also written with intuitive design, which means that it is easy to learn and understand.
You can find more information on Excellerate here.
TouchPoint is a database for managing people. As such its design features focus on church membership, visitors, families, and potential new members of the church. There is a pivot point that allows people to have a profile page with information, pictures, and a place where people can talk about giving. Members can even set up recurring donations via an online interlink. The events tab allows for organization management, electronic attendance and online registration for those who want to attend an event. The power of this program is in keeping people interested in the offerings of the church. The program makes it a simple task to know if someone is absent and if you should contact them. This is a program that allows you to keep the humanity of managing people intact without the constant struggle to remember everything. You simply have to look at a report and then make an informed decision about how to handle each situation. Communication options include personal, group, or mass email, text, or HTML messaging. Another strong feature is a volunteer management tool that helps keep everyone on task and target.
You can find more information on TouchPoint here.
Church Member-Link is a web-based management and membership software package with an economical monthly subscription rate. A positive feature that sets this program apart is the pictorial directory that it offers. Expect a comprehensive organizer for church members including a group function that allows managers to include specialized groups such as volunteers, classes, and leaders. For event management, there is an online check-in feature that helps organizers know who and how many people will attend. Along these same lines is the attendance tracker for the church that allows leaders to reach out and encourage attendance or to identify members who may need a more personal form of encouragement. There is a mass communication tool that allows for the creation of comprehensive newsletters, emails, surveys and other data sharing forms of communication.
You can find more information on Church Members-Link here.
Logos II Church Management mixes data management with fund accounting and then adds community software to create a comprehensive suite of tools. At $600 the software is affordable and it is installed rather than cloud-based. It comes with training, and online support is available. One plus is that the company has been around since 1980, and that means they know what they are doing. The suite of tools includes built-in accounting and multi-site management tools. Tools for membership include attendance tracking, child check-in, group management, and member directory. The event manager includes calendar management and event management. From the reviews, people either love this program or hate it. The biggest complaint is that the program operates slowly and that the criteria fields are cumbersome. TIP: Be sure to check for free trials before you buy.
You can find more information on Logos II Church Management software here.
eSpace is not a complete management system. It is a software package designed for managing events. As such it has a place here as one of the more sophisticated event-managing tools and something that is appropriate for larger churches that want a single tool to help manage events. The program offers scheduling and reporting features that help maintain complete control over all aspects of an event. It also allows the user to create customized forms. Since every event is prone to scheduling conflicts, eSpace provides Event-Conflict Decision logic that occurs in real-time. The program is optimized for the web, desktop, laptop, and smart devices. For all users, there is a video library of resource available that are easily adaptable for training. Email and phone support are also an option.
You can find more information on eSpace here.
Breeze ChMS Ranks number one because they offer QuickBooks Integration and its high praise by customers. This is a subscription based and web-based church management software tool. They offer a free trial, and their starting costs is $50 per month. This software tool has a long list of management tools that are perfect for a small church that wants to grow its congregation or that wants an easier way to manage member data. Attendance tracking is a fairly standard tool. It offers Quickbooks Integration which is not something that every church management package offers. Positive points include a newsletter manager, donation tracking, online payment or donation, and volunteer management tools. This suite has the potential to help a small church manage a larger audience and market to the greater community. A positive note is a near perfect five-star rating by customers.
You can find more information on Breeze ChMS here.
Roll Call is a close second because it offers letter communication in addition to email communication. Roll Call offers a free trial via download. This comprehensive program offers several tools for data organization and allows mass communication with groups based lists. Expect to send an email or letters to targeted members of your congregation or community. The data collection tool allows for the easy creation of reports that show how each member or group of church members behave. The program is easy to use and offers contribution accounting. Web Integration means data collection and upkeep can happen from any smart device. This program is perfect for small churches or even medium sized churches that are growing their membership.
You can find more information on Roll Call here.
Faithful Steward offers tools to manage membership, donation, and church accounting. The positives: free demo, software comparison tool, offers both subscription or installation services, and multiple products, and accounting software can be stand alone or part of the entire package. This is a global company that has been in business since 1994. The import feature integrates existing data into Faithful Steward saving time and money on building a solid and accurate database. Expect a full suite of tools from donor management to member tracking and attendance. The report writer offers step-by-step guidance saving time and money.
You can find more information on Faithful Steward here.
Church Window Software offers a free live demo webinar, so potential customers get a professional view of how the software works. The program is a full suite of services that is available as a cloud-based or installed system, and the developer has been in business since 1987. Expect services like membership, donations, accounting, A/R, and a scheduler in the tool box. Free online training classes help bring you up to speed quickly. http://www.churchwindows.com/shop/
You can find more information on Church Windows Software here.
Servant Keeper is a cloud-based program that offers a standard range of tools from tracking donations and pledges to managing members, groups, and visitors. Other features include mass communication tools such as email, text, and voice messaging. The downside of this program is that you must register to learn more about it and considering that there are so many complementary programs available that do not require registration it becomes a negative.
You can find more information on Servant Keeper here.
The Aplos Accounting software suite Ranks Best because it integrates seamlessly with the churches bank. Aplos is a church-based fund accounting software package that offers several tools that help make church accounting a much simpler task. Tools range from managing donations, accounting for specific funds, and non-profit reporting. The import feature allows integration between the Aplos Accounting program and the church’s bank. The system also allows for the creation of contribution statements for members who can contribute online as a one-time gift or as a recurring donor. Understanding accounting is not necessary, and the suite of tools comes with unlimited training and support. Expect the same level of security that banks offer their online customers. A 15-day free trial is available.
You can find more information on Aplos here.
Donarius Ranks Next Best because of its superior security program and database partition. Donarius offers a 30-day free demo. One of the positive features of this accounting program is that it allows the church to partition access to the tool box. In so doing, lesser chores assignment occurs without providing deeper access to more sensitive data. The import feature collects data from your existing accounting program and integrates it seamlessly into Donarius. As a bonus, Donarius provides communication features such as email or text. The program is easy to use and has a full reporting suite. It allows churches to track pledges and donations and makes receipt writing a breeze. Receipts for donations can be emailed, which allows the church to save money and collect donor data.
You can find more information on Donarius here.
ChurchBooks/DataBase is third ranked because it requires Microsoft Access. ChurchBooks/DataBase is an automated, integrated accounting package that connects and simplifies the donation, donation tracking, and money handling process. Members can donate online, and the money is deposited directly to the church’s account. There is an A/R and A/P feature that allows for easy paying, tracking of money due and money owed. To compliment the donation cycle, a communication feature allows receipts to be generated, and reminder notices sent. There is a free trial, but it only works with Microsoft Access 2002 or later versions. The program is affordably priced at only $150.00 though they do not appear to offer support beyond an online library.
You can find more information on ChurchBooks/Database here.
Donations is a limited accounting program that is limited to the donations cycle and is not a fully integrated accounting program. It works well and has plenty of five-star customer reviews. This is an affordable program that costs $80, and there is a free trial so that church management can fit it into their program. The program works to track donor donations, issue receipts, and donor data. This is a perfect program for small churches that want more control over just donations and the donor cycle. There is even a free version that offers limited use.
You can find more information on Donations here.
Best software for communication/social networking
grplife offers a 30-day free trial. There is a social media element to grplife and adds to that mix relationship management, group management, and people management outside of data collection and more through interactions, social networking, and productivity. The platform is private and secure, and managers have full control over who has access to the group at all times. The church addition adds tools such as microblogging, volunteer management, private messaging, a survey tool, and attendance trackers.
You can find more information on grplife here.