Under the Hood of Church Office Online: A Review

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Church Office Online is a church management system that is designed to help you better manage your church, members, events, and contributions. They aim to offer “big features at small prices,” and are perfect for average-sized churches of around 300 members.

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User Interface

The user interface is set up in an easy and self-explanatory manner—it was very easy to manage and organize and did not require much time to figure out how to enter information or how things worked in general.

Church Office Online allows you to easily manage individuals, households, and ministries through calendars, attendance tracking, contributions, reports, and integrated text and email communications.

This is the dashboard:

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Here is how to add and then edit/search a member/individual:

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An administrator will have access to a multitude of calendars (church, service, event, etc.) and can manage attendance by individuals, households, or general attendance. These calendars are laid out very simply, and I had no trouble switching between calendars or adding notes and making entries into them. It was nice to have all the calendars available in one place so that, when making entries in one, it was very simple to check through the others to make sure there were no conflicts.

Here is an example of the church calendar:

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Here is an overview of service attendance:

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Reports

The reporting is a strong point of this software, with its depth and comprehensive number of pre-set reports. You can run reports on many different things: for the church you can run reports on things like anniversaries, birthdays, custom fields, demographics, individuals, and mailing labels.

Reports can be run on the church directory and ministry directory as well. Attendance reports can be run also—these cover check-in sheets, event attendance, meeting attendance, service attendance, service attendance totals, and visitor follow-up.

There are also contribution reports—these cover individual contributions, household contributions, online giving history and pledge campaigns. They offer an extensive list of reports, and they also have the option of adding custom fields to reports if there are any specific fields you need that are not already included.

Here are all the report options:

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Check-in sheets:

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Individual reports:

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Church demographics report (covers member types, age categories, genders, and marital status):

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Contributions

You can manage contributions by batches, adding individual contributions, envelope contributions, and managing anonymous and individual contributions. Online giving is allowed, and is automatically credited to the individual contributor and individuals are able to access their giving information at any time.

Also, the end of year statements can be downloaded by members if they wish, or printed and mailed out by the church staff. It allows for QuickBooks integration as well, so with all of the contribution accountability functions being done by Church Office Online, QuickBooks is more or less like your “checkbook” to record deposits, track spending, and pay bills.

These two programs, when they work together, should ease the stress and reduce all of the paperwork that is typically involved with administering a church. This functionality is a standout component of the software, and provides great speed of entry, simple reporting, and the ability to create and track batches.

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Support

Church Office Online has a knowledge base that allows you to search online articles, suggest features and enter support tickets. Church Office Online also offers video tutorials that provide an easy way to learn how to use all of their features to their full extent.

Additionally they have e-mail support that is available 24/7. They respond to most requests within 24 hours of receiving the support email. Their customer service is efficient and helpful—I heard back from a representative just a few hours after sending an e-mail.

Knowledge base:

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Video tutorials:

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Reliability

The system is very smooth and easy to use. There were no bugs or problems with loading anything, and everything worked efficiently.

Pros

Church Office Online requires no setup fees, and can be accessed from any computer or mobile device that has internet access. While more and more church systems are beginning to have this functionality, many are still strictly desktop based. The multiple different user types you can have allow for distribution of work based on roles within the church (pastor, finance, administrator etc.) to make things easier on everybody.

It provides great demographic reports (has several different pie charts that compare member types, age breakdowns, etc.) that allow you to get reports on just about everything. Having all that in-depth information really makes it easier for you to understand your membership better and take the appropriate actions to retain members as well as grow your membership.

Also, members who have donated can access their profiles to edit their information and view their contribution totals throughout the year—making it easy for members to check their donations on their own and giving them control over changes. Often many systems do not allow the actual church member to edit that information themselves, and it is the office administrator’s job, which means the member has to call in to the office and ask for the appropriate edits to be made instead of just doing it himself.

The software can also generate a congregation map—this allows you to see how many individuals or households are in a certain vicinity, which can be helpful if rides need to be coordinated for events. Additionally, my experience showed that customer service is very efficient and helpful.

Cons

There are just a few drawbacks to Church Office Online. Outside of the contributions, there is no church accounting functionality (though QuickBooks integration is possible), which may be a problem for churches that want an all-in-one system. There are also some limitations on customization, especially in the contribution reports.

Because it is web-based you can’t use the system locally where there is no internet. Finally, the system may not have enough functionality for very large churches, and is better suited to small to mid-sized congregations.

Pricing

Church Office Online charges a monthly fee that ranges in price from $14.75/month (for 60 active records) to as much as $629.75/month (12,075 active records). After 275 active records, the price goes up $10 for every 200 active records added. Subscriptions that are paid on a yearly basis receive a 5% discount. The yearly fee is non-refundable, and there are no setup fees.

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Looking for Church Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Church Management software solutions.

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About the Author

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Leah Readings

Leah Readings is a Software Analyst for Capterra, a company that connects buyers and sellers of business software. She specializes in church management software along with several other software directories. When she’s not helping software buyers, she is, among other things, reading, writing, and spending time with her family and friends.

Comments

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Leah,

Thanks for the great review! You were very thorough and did a great job providing an overview of our software. I am very glad to hear you found everything easy to use, we try our best to make things simple.

Aaron
Church Office Online

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