The Top 6 Best Church Management Software for 2021

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The best church management software (ChMS) can help to improve church rankings while ensuring all congregation members are kept informed and engaged. Ultimately, you’ll need a stable and fully functional ChMS that assists churches in particular with data automation, organization of events, services, and databases, and of course, keeping track of finances, what comes in, and what goes out. These are essential for you to have an overview of the functionality of the church in the community.

Best CHMS Softwares

1 . Aplos

Overall Rating

4.7
Ease of use
4.7
Value for money
4.6
Features
4.7
Customer support
4.8

2 . Breeze

Overall Rating

4.5
Ease of use
4.5
Value for money
4.1
Features
4.0
Customer support
4.4

3 . Church Community Builder

Overall Rating

4.3
Ease of use
4.2
Value for money
4.1
Features
4.1
Customer support
4.8

Contrary to popular belief, churches and other religious organizations also need management software. For instance, a church management system is beneficial for fully automating everyday processes, including streamlining management and administrative tasks.

Like traditionally used management software, these systems provide easy accessibility to key church metrics and offer a robust suite of tools for improved church administration processes.

Furthermore, choosing the best church management software (ChMS) can also help improve church rankings while ensuring all congregation members are kept informed and engaged. Ultimately, you’ll need a stable and fully functional ChMS that assists churches in particular with data automation, organization of events, services, and databases, and of course, keeping track of finances, what comes in, and what goes out. These are essential for you to have an overview of the functionality of the church in the community.

Online Church Management System

Choosing one can be a tough nut to crack when it comes to an online church management system. This is mainly because the advancements in software and technologies have resulted in many companies offering their version of ChMS.

So, how does one know which option is the best one? Many factors need to be closely considered when choosing a church management software (but more on that later).

It is also advised to shop around and compare the different options when looking for the best ChMS. Each church, religious institute, or non-profit organization is going to be unique and thus have its special requirements. Therefore, it’s best to compare both standalone applications and comprehensive management systems; And evaluate their price, features, customer service, and other value-added services before you sign on the dotted line.

If you were wondering, we have put the church management software options listed here to the test and have gathered some interesting information on their usage, features, and more. Alongside the list of information on various ChMS, you’ll also find the method that we used to decide which one to highlight in this review.

Methodology

Like management software used by businesses and large corporations, church management or church accounting software will also be a significant investment, which means you would want to get it right the first time. But, if you have been researching the church management software market, you are aware that there are quite a few options, which makes choosing one even more confusing.

Luckily for you, instead of going through every tiny detail from one ChMS to another, all you need to know is right here, in this guide to the best church management software.

These are some of the few factors that need to be considered when choosing a ChMS:

  • The size of the congregation and the size of the church
  • The primary use of the CMS
  • Will the software be used to improve engagement?
  • How much software integration are you looking for?
  • Do you already use another management/accounting software?
  • What features are you looking for in the ChMS?
  • What platforms will you be using the software on (Android, iOS, or others)?
  • What level of customization are you looking for?
  • Your budget?

While you will need to consider plenty of other factors when choosing a ChMS, answering the questions given above should be a good place to start.
If you have been wondering about, “How can you evaluate which are the good Church Management software (ChMS) programs for you?” then you’ve come to the correct place.

Once you have answered most of the above questions, it’s time to break down each of the church management software options based on their features.
With no further ado, the following are some of the features that we took into consideration when ranking the best ChMS:

Common Features – These are the features that most online church management systems offer: the more features and tools, the better. Having more features in a single church management software lets you avoid the hassle of connecting to third-party applications.

Data Management – Data management is a service that not all church management systems offer as a premium service. This ensures that your data is stored safely, which is usually on the cloud.

Membership and Attendance – One of the core functions of church management software includes tracking memberships and attendance of church members. Consequently, you’ll need a ChMS suited with robust member management software options, as well as a ChM member portal.

Event Management – Another significant feature of any software includes event management. This is especially important for those churches that often organize events, charity drives, and various other community events. These churches will also benefit in the long run if they opt for a ChMS that provides good church presentation software.

Report Generation – This feature lets users get an in-depth idea of collected data on donations, memberships, attendance, and other data.

Bulletin Publishing – This is an added feature that is an excellent option for letting church members know of upcoming events.

Donation management – The donation management module ensures that all donations and contributions are accounted for and managed. This is why you need to research various ChMS and look for a stable and fully suited church donation software to provide you with a robust donations solution.

Contributions – This feature is offered either as part of the church management software or as an add-on later.

Facilities Management – This feature ensures that all information on the various church facilities is updated. All your church software programs must be running smoothly.

Fund Accounting and Payroll – Of course, a church will have a supporting staff, which is where the fund accounting and payroll module comes in handy for a smooth payroll generation process.

Check-in/Checkout – This is a crucial feature, especially for parents and guardians who want to keep track of their children; thus, a child check-in feature it’s a must. On the plus side, today’s ChMS has an excellent feature that notifies parents when to pick up or drop off their children.

Payment processing – A payment processing feature streamlines the process of making payments to third-party vendors or other parties.

Online availability (24/7) – A church management system must remain online 24/7 mainly because, unlike regular businesses, a church never closes. Fortunately, almost every ChMS comes equipped with robust, smooth, and easy-to-use church apps. That way, your church would be a click away, and your church community too.

Pricing Models – The cost will always be a major factor in the decision-making process when hiring a church management system. While some providers offer umbrella rates with several features, others allow users to customize the tools and features they require and pay accordingly.

Deployment Speed – The speed at which a provider can deploy or integrate a church management software into the church or non-profit organization is key to streamlining everyday processes and avoiding bottlenecks.

Ease Of Use – You would want the church management system to have a low learning curve so those using it will have no problems navigating their way around the system once it’s operational. Since not many, or maybe none of the churches, have their IT department, ease of use and quick accessibility are essential.

Who is it best for? – Since the church management software has been specifically designed to be used by churches, it is an excellent option for both large and smaller churches to track, record, and manage everyday church processes, including their members and church activities.

How secure is it? – Some of the newer church management systems utilize multiple security features and follow industry best practices for data security. However, it’s always best to ask for the details of the security features and protocols being used by a church management software provider.

Customer Support – Customer support is essential mainly because it ensures whenever a user is stuck or unable to use a tool or module. Additionally, support staff will be accessible and help provide a solution or navigate users through the issue.

Buyer’s Guide

A church management software allows users to fully automate everyday processes such as accounting, member management, and many other features, making church management software a must-have for churches regardless of their size.

Of course, church management systems come in various types, such as SaaS church management systems, On-Premise church management systems, and OSS church management systems. They all come with their fair share of pros and cons, which need to be evaluated before choosing the best church management system.

Saas Church Management System – SaaS, or Software as a Service ChMS provides cloud-hosted solutions. In other words, this kind of ChMS you can access regardless of where you are. Even better, you have nothing to do or worry about its maintenance, upgrades, implementing new features, etc. All these are the responsibilities of the vendor. As a user of their services, you will either pay a monthly or yearly subscription, and it is you that can decide when to quit their services and move on to another one.

On-Premise Church Management System – This is a ChMS that you’ll find being implemented on the PC of the person who has the right to control the system, i.e., an authorized person. Additionally, this ChMS has no monthly/yearly subscription; instead, you make a one-time payment, and you are free to use it. This is a much costlier option rather than the SaaS. However, this way, you can have a complete overview and control of all data security.

OSS Church Management System – OSS, or Open Source ChMS, is entirely free of charge software that you can download and use. BUT, unlike the two other types of ChMS, this one functions differently. Meaning, you need to handle everything, from maintenance, support, data storage, upgrades, etc.
Consequently, free or open-source church management software often contains bugs and glitches that can end up wasting a lot of time and money on correcting these issues. Not to mention those unexpected system crashes that can easily wipe out the data of your members. Though, if you found yourself stranded from all sides, you can reach out to the software online help docs and instructions, or a support forum that consists of users like you are.

Why use church management software?

No matter how small or large a community a church has, it is crucial to use church management software to keep all church members updated and engaged.
The management system offers many features and tools, which help streamline almost all church processes and activities. For instance, integrating such a church system means automated workflows, tracking of members, finances, and daily church activities. The finances, charity drives, and other social gathering events can reach a seamless performance, by having a feature like automatic donation receipts.

Ultimately having a ChMS on your side will lead to many benefits, and among the many, you notice increased giving and uninterrupted communication at all times between the church and the community it serves.

Conclusion

To sum up, church management software is undoubtedly a must-have for a church, non-profit, or any organization. It even makes us think how they ever managed to pass by without it until recent years.

Anyway, we are glad that churches have given way to today’s technology and are quickly adopting a new method of running and organizing day-to-day church activities. By implementing a church management system, the church is being more transparent and open to its community too.
Features like ChMS Member Portal, Texts, Email notifications, Chats help sustain a strong communication between the church leaders and the community in the long run. As well as various church apps that let you oversee things and stay in touch with people no matter the place or the time – this is of high importance and value to everyone.

Don’t forget the integration of payroll management apps and donations solution features that contribute to a smooth and functional finance gathering. Ultimately, it is the church accounting software that makes a real change when it comes to the overall financial organization of the church.

Go ahead and try one of the excellent church software reviewed in this guide on the best church management software for 2021—let the church management system help you stay organized and devote your time to the relationship between the church and its members.

FAQs

1. What do you mean by Cloud-based Software?

Cloud-based software means all of the data is stored safely in the cloud. This ensures better security of user data without the risk of losing data due to damaged physical servers, etc.

2. Using ChMS, can we connect to social media?

While some ChMS allows social media integration, it is best to research and find those church management software programs that offer easy integration with major social media platforms.

3. Can we import data from another software?

Yes. But, that again depends on the church management software provider, so users need to ask key questions; Such as software integration and importing or exporting data, along with pricing before choosing a ChMS.

#1. Aplos

Best for Asset Management

  • Built-in Accounting
  • Account Integration
  • Campaign Management
  • Budgeting and Forecasting
Overall Rating

4.7

Pros
  • Ideal for small to medium-sized churches.
  • Plenty of features.
  • Voted as the “top-rated church management software.”
  • Affordable.
Cons
  • Non-tech users could find it a bit difficult to navigate.
  • The accounting software has its limitations.
  • A third-party app it’s a must for payroll management.

Founded in 2009, Aplos is a cloud-powered platform that has been designed specifically for churches and non-profit organizations. Aplos is one of the top-rated and best church management software for 2021, according to Software World.

The software includes a whole suite of services that streamlines everyday processes in the church. For instance, users get an accounting and fund management system, online donation tracking, reporting and fundraising functions, event management and planning tools, and communication tools tailored to their specific needs.

The church management software is ideal for small to medium-sized churches and non-profit organizations, but that doesn’t mean that the platform cannot handle more demanding tasks. One of the highlights of using Aplos is that it simplifies the entire process of accounting and fundraising for churches with a shallow learning curve, making it one of the more sought-after and one of the best church accounting software out there.

When it comes to pricing, Aplos offers three packages:

  • Aplos Suite ($59 per month)
  • Aplos Suite + Text To Give ($79 per month)
  • Aplos Suite + Advanced Accounting ($159 per month)

Though Aplos isn’t a free church management software, it still provides a fifteen-day free trial for those who cannot decide which package to choose.

This ChMS is available in English; And offers a wide range of features that have been specifically designed for churches:

  • Church Management
  • Church Accounting
  • Online Giving and Tithing
  • Marketing and Communication
  • Event Registration
  • Website Builder
  • Reporting and Analytics
  • Text to Give
  • Payroll
  • Prepaid Cards, and more.

There’s also a dedicated training and support center on the Aplos website for those having trouble navigating through the features of the church management software. Some of the features that Aplos has to offer includes financial statement generation, True Fund accounting, and complete church bookkeeping solutions.

Users also get custom email and letter templates, bulk texting options, and the ability to create people lists, along with complete event management and registration. Aplos also uses the very best security features to ensure the safety of client data.

The church management software provider also enjoys stellar reviews for its excellent customer support, which makes it one of the best options out there when it comes to smart church management software. However, if you are looking for an alternative to this service, then PowerChurch Plus or Blackbaud should be right up your alley.

#2. Breeze

Best for Church Management

  • Powerful Church Management
  • Work Flow Automation
  • Data Storage and Organising
Overall Rating

4.5

Pros
  • Easy to use.
  • Excellent customer support.
  • Data Import is very easy
  • Fixed pricing.
Cons
  • The email editor needs improvement.
  • Some processes can be complicated for new users.

Founded in 2013, Breeze is another highly intuitive church management software. This web-based option is the ideal choice for small to mid-sized churches or non-profit organizations. And it provides all of the essentials for tracking and keeping records of accounts and donations; moreover, it enables online giving for churches.

Some of the highlights of Breeze include an easy-to-use platform where users can create groups and manage databases all under one platform. Users can also send emails and text messages to church members or completely automate the entire process. Breeze makes registering and managing volunteers for church events or community services, print name tags, and member directories easy.

Another central selling point of this software is that it completely integrates with QuickBooks for more robust and accurate accounting management. Users can also sync all of their group or individual contact data using MailChimp, which is an added advantage. Other features that

Breeze is used for includes tracking children’s check-in and attendance of members. But, more importantly, there are no setup fees or contracts required to use Breeze, which alone sets it apart from the rest. You can also move all of your existing data (if you already have a church management software program) to Breeze for free.

Users will like this management system because the pricing has been kept simple—a base fee of just $50 a month to get access to all of the features. Currently, the software is only available in English and is web-based, but that does not mean it restricts its users to PC and laptop use only, because you will also have access to the Breeze app.

Breeze boasts of being an easy-to-use church management software, and it’s not hard to see why. The platform offers smooth navigation, and users do not have to deal with a steep learning curve when integrating Breeze into their system. The software has a ton of features that have been broken down into categories aptly named:

  • People
  • Events and Check-in
  • Move-in Data
  • Giving,
  • and Groups.

Breeze follows industry best practices when it comes to data security and has built a reputation for providing exceptional customer service.

Charity Tracker and Planning Center are two alternatives that closely follow Breeze in terms of features and services but don’t expect the same pricing.

#3. Church Community Builder

Best for Member Communication

  • Accounting Integration
  • Donation Management
  • Member Portal
  • Multi-Location
Overall Rating

4.3

Pros
  • Easy to use dashboard.
  • Constantly evolving tools.
  • Dedicated customer support.
    • Various integrations to choose from.
Cons
  • Some features may feel complicated.
  • They don’t offer a free trial.

This is another top-rated church management software that offers users a complete suite of tools for better organizing and management of church activities. Some of the features that Church Community Builder has to offer includes, but are not limited to, contribution management, online giving, check-in, volunteer vetting and management, customized forms, guest follow-up, metrics, and more. But what sets this service apart from the rest is that they also offer solutions implementation coaching for those who need it.

Apart from the standard church management tools, users get access to online payment and contribution tools, also payments can be set to recurring or one-time. Additionally, payments can also be made for concerts, retreats, or all other church events. The church management system can also be used for notifying staff members and volunteers of various positions that are available or when scheduling a community project.

The church management software provides additional security to parents by providing them with a check-in attendance feature and child security feature to keep children protected and text paging and checkout notifications to parents or guardians.

Church Community Builder software is known for delivering an exceptional level of customer support and offers users multiple modes of communication (via email and phone).

Regardless of the size of the congregation, the Church Community Builder is a great option for those looking to get the complete package. The platform offers dedicated software for Church Management, Digital Giving, ChurchStaq, along with a lead and church app for better engagement.

The Church Community Builder offers three packages: Core, Advanced, and Complete. However, users will need to request a quote to talk to an expert before they can get the exact pricing. This ensures that all users get the most out of the software by getting a fully customized suite of church management tools. This is one of the most robust and comprehensive church management software and comes with stellar customer support and the latest security features. According to church rankings and satisfaction scores, some of its best alternatives are Pushpay and Churchteams.

#4. Planning Center

Best for Online Giving

  • Automatic Login
  • Listing and Privacy Controls
  • Service Planning and Scheduling
  • Group Listing and Sign-up
Overall Rating

4.2

Pros
  • Multiple essential features all under one platform.
  • Easy-to-use dashboard.
  • Exceptional customer service.
  • Free to choose and combine the features you need for usage.
  • Free Church App.
Cons
  • The app’s member directory can be confusing.
  • Phone support requires prior scheduling.
  • It can get complicated for people with limited tech skills.
  • It is less customizable compared to other church software.

The Planning Center was developed back in 2006 by two church leaders; Their goal was to find a way to keep pace with the planning and scheduling of church activities, shoulder to shoulder. The result – a robust and reliable platform where users can plan and schedule all facets of church activities, including reliable and comprehensive spreadsheets to ensure better use of resources where needed. One of the advantages of using the Planning Center is that it has been designed for all churches struggling with planning and scheduling activities, no matter their size.

Some of the standout features of the software include a module that makes it easy for users to reserve rooms and publish event calendars. Each event, resource, or room has its dedicated calendar feed, which can be synced with iCal, Google Calendar, or Outlook for more streamlined communication.

Planning Center is available as a web and mobile application and can be displayed on ipads, smartphones, and tablets. The software has garnered much attention because of its high quality of customer service and exceptional security features to ensure that all user information is kept safe.

The website also features a dedicated support module for beginners and a Getting Started guide for those looking to transition from their existing church management system to Planning Center.

Planning Center is available as a 30-day free trial, with no contracts and full feature access available when it comes to pricing. The exact monthly pricing is determined by the level of services required that have been broken down into:

  • Registrations
  • Services
  • Groups
  • Giving
  • Check-ins
  • and Calendar.

The Membership Management is free for all packages. Some alternatives to Planning Center include Churchteams and Charity Tracker.

#5. Churchteams

Best for Membership Management

  • Campaign Management
  • Member Directory
  • Mobile Access
  • Child Check-in
Overall Rating

4.2

Pros
  • Comprehensive tools and features.
  • Easy to use platform.
  • Affordable pricing.
  • Completely customizable features.
  • Excellent customer support service.
Cons
  • The GUI interface is lacking.
  • No option to format giving statements.
  • The interface could use more modernization.

Churchteams is regarded as one of the best church software that provides a complete package with robust and reliable mass communication tools, membership management, check-in tools, contribution management, and other essentials for churches.

The platform has been designed for churches and non-profit organizations of all sizes, so it’s easy to find the features you need depending on your necessities. Churchteams is also optimized for mobile devices, which means that you can access it from just about anywhere.

One factor that separates Churchteams apart from the rest is that it is designed on group memberships. For instance, whenever the system is updated with a new member, that member is automatically assigned to either a single or various groups (event volunteer, ministry team, small group leader, home group, etc.) defined by the administrator.

The platform is a great resource for those who are looking to narrow down their membership data based on interests, class attendance, and birth dates. Using the platform, users can also take coaching or pastoral notes or prayer requests on the fly and create comprehensive reports and profiles of all members.

Other features of Churchteams include

  • integration for check-in stations,
  • the printing of name tags and barcode scanning,
  • along with tracking the attendance for worship services and all other church events.

Churchteams have been around for a while and have garnered much praise for their excellent customer support and features. Some notable features offered on the platform include:

  • Text-To-Church
  • Dashboard
  • Giving
  • Membership
  • Groups
  • Check-In
  • Volunteers
  • Registration
  • Communication
  • Complete Workflow Automation.

First-time users can take advantage of the thirty-day free trial option, or just choose any of the three packages:

Small/Medium ($37 a month – up to 200 people; $67 a month – up to 500 people)
Medium/Large ($97 a month – up to 2000 people; $147 a month – up to 6000 people)
Extra Large ($197 a month – up to 10.000 people; $297 a month – up to 20.000 people)

Users can choose from any of the three options based on the number of members of their congregation. Furthermore, to make it easier on first-time users, Churchteams has a dedicated training and support team and in-depth and informative webinars to help users go through and understand all of the features.

Some alternatives include Planning Center and CharityTracker, but you won’t get the same level of customization or pricing.

#6. Tithe.ly

Best for Digital Giving

  • Custom Statement Descriptor
  • Quick Donation
  • Auto-populate Donor Info
  • Transaction Details and Reporting
Overall Rating

4.1

Pros
  • Fully Customized.
  • One of the best online giving for small churches.
  • Easy to use interface.
  • Low upfront costs.
Cons
  • Slow bank deposit transfers
  • No reports for email data.
  • Outdated framework in ChMS.There are just a few integrations with other apps.

Tithe.ly is a cloud-based platform that gives it an edge over many of the other options on this list. The platform has been designed for churches of all sizes and offers plenty of solid and reliable features and tools to fit specific needs. The platform is also available as a mobile application, ensuring ease of use and better coordination. Some of the highlights of this platform are custom church website building, event management, digital giving, and more.

Their products are broken down into easy-to-find modules such as:

  • Giving
  • Messaging
  • People
  • ChMS
  • Apps
  • Events
  • Pay
  • Sites
  • Media
  • Worship

These products have something to offer and allow users to customize the tools and modules they use on the platform.

There is also a dedicated learning section on the Tithe.ly website, making it easier for users to understand the various features and tools that are offered on the platform. There’s also a dedicated section with free books, sermon series, and guides to equip users for ministry, which is a nifty addition to the platform.

Users can sign up for free and use the Giving platform free of charge—there are no contracts and cancellation fees. However, an all-access pass will cost you $99 a month + a $149 setup fee, or you can also get access to individual apps depending on your needs.

The following are the prices of their apps:

  • Sites – $19 a month + $149 setup fee
  • Church Apps – $59 a month + $149 setup fee
  • Messaging – $5 a month + 2.9 cents a text (over 200)
  • ChMS – $49 a month + $149 setup fee

The platform is known for offering excellent customer support and uses the latest security features to ensure the safety of all user data. Tithe.ly’s best alternatives are Pushpay and Servant Keeper.