Church Offering Software: Finding the Right One for Your Church You’ve decided to use software to manage your Church offering in an effort to help you better manage the numbers. When you first begin to evaluate what Church software is available it can be confusing and overwhelming. There are many options out there and finding the one that is right for your church can seem hard. Hopefully, this article will help clarify some of those issues and be of assistance in helping you decide.
church management software
Free church management software is typically a limited version of a paid church management system. The two options you’ll learn about below offer several core features with limited capacity. These are viable options for very small churches with basic member directory needs and not much else. Vendors typically offer this type of pricing model with the goal of upgrading churches into one of their paid tiers as the church grows with the software.
ChurchTrac was founded in 2002 in Florida with hopes of providing software that makes church leaders’ jobs easier at a reasonable price. ChurchTrac includes features for membership management, donations, check-in, worship planning, church accounting, event planning, website management, and more.
Intro to ChurchTrac (Source)
What you get for free: ChurchTrac offers a free plan with membership management for up to 75 individuals, with family management, reports, directories, and tech support.
Cost to upgrade: With the $5/month Standard plan, churches can add online donation management, child check-in, attendance tracking, volunteer scheduling, event management, priority support, and more for up to 75 members.
With the $15/month Plus plan, churches can add everything in Standard plus financial management and accounting, advanced scheduling, worship planning, song library, and more for up to 75 members. Prices increase based on the number of members, and churches can get two months free with an annual commitment.
Have you used ChurchTrac? Leave a review here.
Planning Center may have a secular sounding name, but it is 100% designed for churches from the ground up. The software was first developed in California in 2006 by two full-time church leaders scrambling to stay on top of all facets of worship planning, from scheduling volunteers to preparing music by manually updating spreadsheets. Planning Center claims to serve 90 of the 100 largest churches in the country, but also caters to small, neighborhood churches. The software itself is packaged as a collection of apps, from calendar and donations to publishing.https://www.youtube.com/embed/ApYhtmvlMW8
Intro to Planning Center (Source)
What you get for free: Planning Center’s free version includes an unlimited membership database with communication tools, a calendar with unlimited events and up to two meeting rooms, 15 daily check-ins, up to 10 monthly donations, small group planning for up to 25 members, event registration for as many as five attendees, and service planning for up to five administrators.
Cost to upgrade: Users can expand each application to accommodate the size of their congregation. For example, a 10-room calendar, 50 daily check-ins, 100 monthly donations, 125 small group members, 20 event attendees, and service planning for 25 administrators would cost a church $84/month. Publishing plans start at $14/month. All apps are optional and include a 30-day free trial.
Have you used Planning Center? Leave a review here.
Open source church management software
Open source church management software is completely free to download and use. In fact, users can even alter the code themselves to tailor it for their specific needs. So what’s the catch?
Open source church management software, like any open source software, requires the user to host (meaning that you’re responsible for storing the data), maintain, and update the software as necessary.
In other words, if the system crashes at 8 a.m. on Sunday morning and you can’t retrieve your sermon notes, there won’t be a technical support team standing by to help you.
ChurchCRM is built off of the ChurchInfo open source framework. Because it runs on LAMP, you can use it on any device with an internet browser, including tablets and smartphones. ChurchCRM also offers membership management for unlimited members, calendar, donation tracking, volunteer management features, and more. An active developer community is constantly working on new features, and is available for support via chat.https://www.youtube.com/embed/SMjZpo3aO5Q
Intro to ChurchCRM (Source)
Have you used ChurchCRM? Leave a review here.
ChurchInfo is a free, open source database that helps your church manage and track members, groups, donations, and payments. It is supported by an open source community of volunteer developers who work to make it as accessible as possible to churches. It is a web-based solution, meaning that you can run it through any internet browser.https://www.youtube.com/embed/HqlLW8DR8YY
ChurchInfo installation walkthrough (Source)
Have you used ChurchInfo? Leave a review here.
Why you should consider paid church management software
Hopefully one of the options we looked at above works out for you and your church. But if a free option isn’t right for you—whether that’s because it doesn’t offer enough functionality, capacity, or support—you should consider paid options.
While it’s always tempting to try and get something for free, the time and energy you spend attempting to make the “free” system work might be costing you more than the modest monthly fee for a paid solution in the long run.
Also, if you’re still hungry for more free church stuff, check out these articles:
- The 20 Best Resources for Free Church Graphics
- 13 Awesome and Free Social Media Templates For Your Church
- The Best 3 Free and Open Source Church Accounting Software Options
This article was updated in May of 2021. Free products considered for this article had to be in the 2021 Capterra Top 20 report for church management software and:
- Offer a free, stand-alone version of the software (not a trial version of the software where you must purchase a product after a limited amount of time).
- Meet our church management software definition: Church Management software helps churches and other religious organizations track members, manage small groups, and engage with visitors in order to grow the congregation.
- “Top” free tools had a minimum overall rating of 4.5/5 stars from reviewers on Capterra at the time of publication.
The two open source options appeared on the first page of Google search results in an Incognito search for “open source church management software” in May of 2021.
Churches have faced a great challenge when it comes to providing offerings. The challenge is that offering donation forms in churches should be very detailed because they offer a mixture of percentage and fixed-amount donations. Although, offering software has played a vital role also by helping churches to make their offering processes easier, faster and more flexible.