When it comes to donations, you may think that your church needs an entirely separate system to help you keep track of everything. How else can you run reports, split donations out into separate funds, allow your members to make donations, and handle all the other things you need to manage when it comes to giving?
But there are many church management systems that have very good donation management modules.
Some of them help you more on the tracking and analysis side of your donations, others offer a portal for your members to actually make the donation, and some do both. Whatever you choose, having these modules as part of your complete church management system is often the best way to go, as it allows you to integrate everything together in one place and doesn’t force you to go back and forth between systems or send your members to a 3rd party website to make a donation.
Each church management system handles donations in different ways—so which way is the best for you?
Below I’ve listed seven different church systems and the way that they each manage donations so you can compare and contrast, and decide for yourself:
Active Network allows you to offer online giving and payments directly on your church website. Your church can choose from offering debit-only, debit or credit cards, and bank drafts. It also allows you to accept donations and payments with mobile devices (at no additional cost). If you have a larger church this type of donation module is lets your members and donors can go straight to your website and donate there without having to send a physical check in to the church.
The benefit of having this type of donation management as part of your ChMS is that it is fully integrated with your church database, and can also be customized on your website. Often if you use a 3rd party donation system, it doesn’t connect with your church database and it will take your website visitors to a different page to make a donation. This can cause your members to be confused if they find themselves on a different website, and makes it less likely they will return if they have just left your site to make a donation.
The giving module is sold separately and costs $199.95 to activate, and has a recurring monthly fee of $39.95.
Roll Call by By the Book is a simple solution for churches to manage their contributions on top of their contacts. It’s essentially a way for your church to track all of your donations without being restricted on the size of your database—it speeds up the process of entering your donations, prepares contribution reports, and also produces year-end tax statements.
This solution does not have a portal for your members to actually make donations, but as many churches do not receive all their donations online, this is a great way for you to manage the donations that you receive by check or by cash. Even if your church does collect online donations through a 3rd party website, you’ll save a lot of time by having one place to manage and track both online and physical donations.
Roll Call’s contribution management module is part of the basic ChMS and is not sold separately. The total price for Roll Call starts at $129, and goes up based on the number of entries in the database. This system is great for small to medium sized churches, as you can start small and then upgrade as your church grows.
Fellowship One offers an online giving option for church donations as part of their church system. It completely integrates with your Fellowship One membership database, allows you to automatically separate your donations into designated funds or pledge drives, allows eCheck and/or credit cards, stores check images, tracks individual giving history, and reports church-wide giving trends.
Having a system that both accepts online donations and also tracks your giving and runs reports is a huge time-saver for any church, but especially for large churches since typically larger churches manage a larger number of donations. It also saves your administration staff the time of making double entries into your church database, as a member’s donation history is automatically appended to their database profile and is fully searchable and trackable.
The fact that this system allows for both the receipt of donations and tracking and managing them is especially helpful for large or mega churches, as they can both receive and manage a large volume of donations all in one place. This giving module comes as part of Fellowship One’s three software editions—the only features that are not included in all editions are batch entry, credit card processing, and integrated remote deposit capture for automated bank deposits—these features come only in the Premier edition.
ACS Contributions lets you track the giving of individuals in your church, produce graphs comparing pledges to gifts for multiple funds, create IRS compliant statements and tax receipts, and give and review contributions online (with Access ACS). This module can also interface with ACS General Ledger to create custom reports and, when combined with ACS People, lets you enter your contributions all in one place. ACS Technologies has other giving modules as well, such as ACS SpeedCheck and The City.
Similar to Fellowship One, ACS Contributions allows for both the receipt of donations and the management and tracking side of it too—for this reason, larger churches are a great fit for this combined functionality as they have a higher volume of donations. This module is sold separately and can stand alone or integrate with your church management system.
Elexio offers a newer, very simple way for members to make contributions: a self-service kiosk. This solution lets them choose which fund they would like to donate to (such as church missions, buildings, etc.), and allows them to make either donor-specific or anonymous card transactions (debit or credit).
You can set up this kiosk in the most convenient place for your members so that you can remind them to give. If your church is big, you can place multiple kiosks in different places to accommodate more people and get more donations.
This kiosk is best suited for larger churches with many buildings or locations, as each location can host its own kiosk. However, if you are a small church that holds many events, this could also be a great way to get donations during events and fundraisers. The kiosk itself costs $2,200 per unit, and the software cost is $30/month if purchased with Elexio’s database system, and $50/month if purchased separately, with a one-time fee of $200 for setup. It is available in a standalone option, but can integrate with Elexio’s church management software as well.
Excellerate’s Contribution module helps you to accurately track all of the money that is contributed or pledged to the church. You are able to see who has given, how much they have given, and to what fund they have given, and you can also manage money that was pledged vs. money that was donated to a capital campaign. You’re able to analyze the total income of the church by producing statements and reports, and also it provides you with the tools to fulfill the government’s reporting requirements.
This system is for tracking and managing contributions, not for receiving, and can serve any size church—it is beneficial for smaller churches as it is free for up to 50 members, and then increases in price as your church grows. The module is a part of Excellerate’s full church management system and is not sold separately. It completely integrates with all of the other Excellerate church management modules so that everything can be kept in one place.
Churchteams offers an online giving option that integrates with your contribution management in the Churchteams ChMS offering. When people give online, their contributions are then posted right into the church’s bank account, and can also be divided out into multiple funds. They are also simultaneously credited to the person’s giving record within Churchteams. Weekly online giving reports can be run that show amount and percentages by each contribution method.
The online giving module is aimed at churches of all sizes and is sold separately from Churchteams’ ChMS. Pricing for the module varies based on how much you get in online donations per month.
Know of any other ways that church systems manage donations? Add them in the comments below!