Capterra Church Management Blog

How pastors and administrators can manage their church with technology

Top Software Programs for Church Management

Share This Article

Top Church Management Software

Today, we’re excited to announce the next infographic in our ‘Top 20 Most Popular’ series:
The Top 20 Most Popular Church Management Software Solutions.

Church Management Software help churches handle accounting, donation tracking, service attendance, membership and more. Churches are better able to track resources, manage contacts and foster communication between administrators, staff, ministry leaders, members and visitors.

As we continue to move forward with our top 20 series, it’s important to reflect on the “why” behind the research. If you’re unsure as to why Capterra is releasing a Top 20 list of popular software, refer to CEO Michael Ortner’s blog post on our LMS infographic.

The Research

We began our church management research in a manner similar to our previous infographics.  To start our list, we looked at Capterra’s own Church Management Software Directory to find which vendors had received a high number of reviews. From there, we used third-party analytics to measure web traffic for all 150+ vendors listed on Capterra.  This process resulted in an initial list of more than 60 church management vendors to examine in more detail.

The research for church management was the first time we had to alter the type of data we were collecting.

Our usual data collection consists of:

1. Total number of customers (or installs)
2.  Total number of users
3. Online presence

For church management we switched to:

1. Total number of churches
2. Estimated number of church members managed (based on average church size)
3. Online presence

Note: In terms of member size, many churches were only able to reveal the average size of the churches using their software; to get an accurate assessment of the marketplace, we then multiplied that average size of the churches times the number of churches using their software to get their estimated number of members managed.

For a full breakdown of our step-by-step methodology to determine the Top 20 Ranking, refer to our blog post for the LMS Infographic.

The Data

Below is a table that highlights the data for the Church Management Software Solutions featured in the Top 20:

Church Management Software Data

Social Media

It is interesting to note the variation in social media usage between different software sectors. We found the social media presence to be much smaller with church management than other sectors, particularly when it comes to presence on LinkedIn. There is a presence on Twitter and Facebook, but again, much smaller than other industries.

Each software sector has its own needs based partially on where their audience is congregating (no pun intended) online, and we are always interested in the differences among software sectors. Some industries may maintain relationships via conferences, emails and phone calls because their customers and future customers are not as active online. The question remains, what will social media look like in years to come?

One final note: Some of the vendors provided “lowball” estimates of their users or customers so please take that into consideration.  Although we believe this is the best research regarding the church management software industry available online, it remains far from perfect.

If you have any suggestions, question any of the vendors listed, wonder how other vendors didn’t make the cut, or even catch an error, please let us know!

Share This Article

About the Author

Jordan Barrish

Follow on

Jordan is a lover of all things social media. When she's not spending time doing research for Capterra she is running, cooking, reading or watching The Office. Follow her on Twitter @jordanbarrish.

Comments

Jordan – Your calculations for members state that their are 2500 members per church (ie for ACS 125,000,000 / 50,000). I find that hard to believe since the average church in America that would be using church software is no where near that size, let alone ACS would have to have every single large church in the market to put up those kinds of numbers – Source (which excludes Catholics but can definetly shed light as to why the above figures are incorrect. – http://hirr.hartsem.edu/research/fastfacts/fast_facts.html#sizecong

Secondly, members are not users of the software so that is a totally miss leading statement. Membership of a church do not all use the church’s software.

I would also question why the initial 60, or even the 150, were not presented with their figures. This raises suspicion as to why Capterra selected the 20 and tells readers to just believe you at your word. When doing studies all data is presented – not parts of it.

The one plausible metric that I see is the social media because you can see how many people actually follow a vendor based on the followership of said social media- the rest of the information presented are assumptions.

Jay,

Thanks for your comment. I’ll let Jordan chime in more about why we decided to use church membership as a metric instead of number of software users, but I think she makes it clear that it’s based off of the number of members managed in place of number of users. I would expect the reason is that most churches have very few administrative users of the software, so it would likely be close to a 1 to 1 ratio of churches to users– not very helpful when differentiating market share of these solutions.

As for the members per church, not all of the data listed suggests there are 2500 members per church. For Servant Keeper, it’s 750 on average, and for Power Church it’s just 225. The average across the top 20 list is just under 900 members, and it goes down to 650 when you eliminate the top 5. That does skew higher than the average church, but I would guess that most churches using a church management system are larger than the national average. Also, the study you link to references regular attendants, but many churches have far more members in their software databases than regular attendees.

Finally, as for the original 150+, she did present them- the full list is located on our ChMS directory (179 to be precise): https://www.capterra.com/church-management-software. From there, we used Compete.com to narrow down the list to the 60 solutions with the most web traffic. That process is fully outlined in the research methodology explanation she links to.

I hope this information helps address your concerns! As Jordan mentioned, we recognize that the methodology is far from perfect, but we do strive to be fully transparent with all the data that went into the rankings.

Best,
Katie
Capterra

Katie and Jordan – Thank you for the comment, however I believe that several points were miss interpreted by Capterra from my previous comment.

1. The numbers as stated say that every client that ACS has, has a membership of 2500 per church. This is not anywhere near true. I understand that you want to use membership instead of actual users – but that is not my point. My point is that the numbers are not accurate in any way. If you simply divide the amount of users by the churches they have, you are saying ACS has 2500 members per church. This is not even feasible when the average church in America has about 450 – 600 members. So is Capterra saying that ACS clients are at least 2500 per church? Doubtful because that would mean they own the entire market for large organizations and then some – and they don’t.

2. The list that you provided gives the church software vendors names – however I was looking for the list of data on those providers – which you “did not” give. In other words Capterra put the data in for the 20 top church software vendors – like membership, social followers, etc. Where is this data for all the others? Any analysis where you “narrow” a list down should still provide every piece of data across the entire spectrum of software vendors to ensure all software providers are represented equally (transparent) – which sounds like that was the goal of the survey.

3. The assumption that the larger than average church are the ones using the church software systems is without foundation and no data to back it up. Many churches in the 100 – 500 member area, are running some sort of software for their membership. By doing this lopsided survey, Capterra does a disservice to those organizations by giving them the top 20 software solutions that these churches would never be able to afford – therefore keeping them from buying anything. I thought Capterra was in the business to make connections between software solution providers and clients looking for that software? Seems like the assumption takes this philosophy and throws it out the window by not helping these organizations.

4. While I understand the methodology you are trying to use and be transparent, and I don’t expect it to be perfect. However, I do expect it to at least give somewhat of an accurate view of all solution providers, fair, and at least be within the realm of what the basic market shows for churches in relevance to USA population, church market, how many churches are in the USA, and church affiliation of the USA population. This survey does none of this and why I wanted to point out the things people should not use for any of their metrics when looking at software – like the membership or only limiting it to the top 20 when their is not a “full” disclosure of all data. This is why I said the only plausible piece is followership.

Lastly people need to take these surveys with a “huge” grain of salt because it still doesn’t answer the question if church software A will work better than church software B for the church based on their needs. Metrics (ie: followership, client list, member supposedly using their systems) – no matter how good they, say nothing about the solution itself and will the church be happy with the product. In fact, I would argue that most churches should not even look at metrics when they are evaluating software until the very end of the review process and they have found 1 or 2 they like – based on user interaction, process, user interface, and can it get the job done. Then they can review metrics and decide.

I can see both points of view – Capterra had/has a particular view of what they think is important when evaluating software for the church market. That may or may not line up with what persons who are looking for a solution find important. I suspect Jay might be associated with one of those vendors further down the list (below 20) considering the passion of his responses – but he also makes some very valid points.

Granted, the data expressed does not say that EVERY church that ACS has as a customer has 2,500 members. That’s just an average. You throw in some mega-churches and numbers get skewed. Plus, since they have the majority of the Catholic market, we know that many are just members in name only or for social/political purposes – just the nature of Catholicism.

Numbers of members do show a little something about the load that the software can handle, but since ACS is mainly client/server, that really doesn’t weigh in a whole lot either. I also suspect that the numbers are self reported by the vendors since Capterra would not have access to actual data directly.

I do take one exception to Jay’s final comment that a church should ignore data until after they narrow down to a couple. With 179 vendors in the market, you have to start somewhere. You can’t try out all 179 and narrow down to 2 and then look at data about then.

Evaluations should definitely begin with ease of use, priorities of modules really needed, cost, administration requirements, whether you want members to access the data themselves, etc. Those requirements will be different for each church.

Happy Hunting!

Comment on this article:


Your privacy is important to us. Check out our Privacy Policy.