Any nonprofit can tell you that gathering donations and allocating resources is a difficult job. Churches especially know that gathering money little by little here and there can grow into a sum that you can do a lot of good works with.
So if your church is already operating on a tight budget, does it really make sense for you to shell out extra money for a church management solution when Excel stores your members’ information just fine?
Of course it does.
A ChMS can help you manage members more efficiently, keep better track of contributions, reach out to all your contacts in a timely manner, and even facilitate online giving. The time you’ll save in doing this will allow you to better target your members’ needs on an individual and personal level, encouraging them to come back Sunday after Sunday.
On a spiritual level, a ChMS will allow you to grow and attend to your flock. However, on a practical level, more members means more possible donors, more donations means a bigger budget, and a bigger budget means a greater opportunity to invest in your growing community.
In short, a ChMS is not only a money saver, but also a time saver. And in the case of your staff doing data entry, it could be a lifesaver.
But if you’re going to ensure your donors that you’re investing wisely, you need to know which ChMS is best for your church and your budget. Instead of sifting through almost 200 options to find a wallet-friendly solution, check out Capterra’s Top 20 Most Affordable Church Management Software report to see which solutions offer robust functionality at a reasonable price.
To create this report, we looked at the available features of a system, the cost of those features, and what actual users said about those systems in customer reviews, which came from our website and our sister company, Software Advice’s, site.
For our analysis, we compiled a pricing scenario based on a “typical church management buyer,” included below:
ABC church has one location with 250 active members. They average an attendance of 150 members each week. They are looking to purchase their first church management system. There will be three administrative users accessing the system, along with two volunteers with limited access. They are looking to use the system for at least two years and need the features listed below, as well as several customer service resources (ability to import existing members/contacts, videos, articles/training documents, a free demo, email/help desk assistance, and access to an FAQ page or knowledge base).
The standard, expected features considered in this pricing scenario are included below.
- Membership management
- Donation management
- Member directory
- Attendance tracking
- Calendar management
- Small group management
- Pledge management
- Online giving (built-in or integration with a third party)
- Volunteer management
- Event management
- Member outreach
Half of the solutions in our Top 20 Most Affordable report offered all of the above features.
Below is a breakdown of the monthly cost of the Top 20 Most Affordable Church Management solutions, based on our pricing scenario:
Most church management solutions charge based on number of members. However, this can differ between software solutions: Some solutions charge based on active members, and some charge based on total member records. These numbers are important to keep in mind when considering migrating member data between an old solution and a new one, as you may want to do some tidying up in terms of members who haven’t attended a service for quite some time.
Based on our member count of 250 active members and our request for as many of the above features as possible, we found that most ChMS’s will charge you about $0.25 per member per month. Most solutions in our Top 20 Most Affordable report, however, charge only $0.17 per member per month, on average. For 250 members, that’s a savings of about $25 per month! IF math isn’t your strong suit, that means $300 more per year that you can invest in your congregation, no small consideration for a medium-sized church.
While functionality and price are important factors to consider when deciding on a ChMS that’s right for your church, we understand that ease of use is a major consideration, as well. For more information on system usability, you can see our research in our other new report, the Top 20 Most User-Friendly Church Management Software.
Using these reports together, along with our Top 20 Most Popular Church Management Software, can help you make an informed decision about which solution is best for your church. Once you’ve narrowed your choices down, we recommend doing three to five demos of different systems to find the one that best fits your church’s needs.
But what do you think? Did we miss any of the most affordable church management software vendors? Let us know! We update this research a few times a year.
Looking for Church Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Church Management software solutions.