The Best Software for Church Management
A question that comes up a lot in the Business-Software.com Community is: what is the best software for churches? Church management typically involves the following:
- Membership tracking
- Attendance and contribution tracking
A comprehensive church management software package should include:
- Data entry screens
- Search functionality
- Directory listings
- Contribution reports
- Role-based security
- Compatibility with Windows and MacOS
Best Software for Churches
QuickBooks is the leading accounting software for small businesses in general. While it’s not geared specifically at church use, it’s still a popular choice among churches because of its affordability ($399) and strong functionality. The major limitation, however, is the fact that QuickBooks is designed for for-profit organizations, which is where QuickBooks Premier Nonprofit Edition comes in. QuickBooks Premier Nonprofit Edition tracks donations, pledges and annual organization budgets, along with handling regular accounting. The software also assists in preparing IRS Form 990 and Form 990-EZ.
Church Windows is popular because of its user-friendliness. While setup may take some time – each member’s information has to be put in separately – once you get going, it’s a very intuitive software solution that handles receipts, budgeting, payroll, expenses, and more. Church Windows offers five modules that can be used separately or together:
The software comes in a desktop and web-based edition. Packages start at $475 and go up to $1,070 depending on which modules you would like to use.
PowerChurch handles memberships, contributions, accounting, events scheduling, and records keeping. It comes in a desktop edition (PowerChurch Plus) and a web edition (PowerChurch Online). Unlike Church Windows, PowerChurch’s various modules are combined into a single packaged solution at a relatively low price ($345 for PowerChurch Plus, $445 per year for PowerChurch Online), but extra modules are also available, including PowerChurch Check-In ($189 for the desktop version, $165 per year for the web version), OneBody Web Hosting ($120 per year), and PowerChurch Mailroom (between $199 and $799 depending on volume). The main disadvantage of PowerChurch, however, is that its accounting functionality is not as comprehensive as that of competing solutions, particularly QuickBooks.
The cheapest option on this list, Aplos Software was designed for both churches and non-profits and is entirely web-based. While some may question the security of doing your accounting in the cloud, Aplos offers secure log-in, email validation, user permissions, bank reconciliation, and automatic back-ups. Aplos provides the following built-in functionality:
- System management
- Account management
- Check register
- Journal entries
- Check printing
- Contributions management
- Member database
Use of the software starts at $11.99 per month per user, upon completion of a 15-day free trial.
ChurchTrac is used more for membership management than accounting, but it deserves a mention on this list mainly due to its popularity among churches. The software is currently installed at over 12,000 congregations. The following features are included:
- Membership management
- Groups and attendance
- Contributions and pledges
- Basic accounting and budgeting
ChurchTrac comes in a desktop edition (Windows only), but an online version (ChurchTrac Online) that is accessible on mobile devices is currently under development. Churches with fewer than 100 members can use the software for free. From there on, ChurchTrac uses a tiered pricing model: $99 for 250 names, $199 for 500 names, $299 for 1,000 names, and $399 for unlimited names. Pricing includes basic technical support and free updates.
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