Browse by Contributor
Church Management Software
Congregational leadership teams are now realizing how technology can not only help the front office with managing their day-to-day activities, but also the many ways in which church management software can help the entire congregation. Congregations have been keen to integrate audiovisual technology during worship services, and are even beginning to offer convenient ways for paying tithes and offerings online.
Church management software can help religious organizations keep track of their congregation's growth and assist in the automation of administrative and financial operations, which can include automated mailings to the entire membership or tailored to specific groups. Another key feature of these software apps is the generation of financial reports that can be used by management teams to validate funds and track expenses each week.
Church management solutions may combine electronic membership databases along with accounting and financial solutions that can be of great help in keeping up with the increasingly complex accounting needs, which may include things like:
Pastor housing and salary Administrative payroll Vendor receipts payable Property and utility payments Monthly tithes Special pledges Plate offerings Congregation supplies and literature Fundraising for special projects Website creation and monitoring
Things are trending toward using free congregation management software or software that has been custom-designed to help meet the unique needs of larger congregations. According to Business Wire, the church management software market is being propelled by the need for congregations to reach global communities. Today's non-denominational organizations can even have members located all across the globe, with thousands in attendance weekly.
For these reasons, church workforce and workspace management software sales are currently projected to grow over $1 billion during 2020-2024, with the US leading the market for church management software. But what exactly are some of the things you can expect from a free church management software?
Church management software can assist in keeping track of pastoral visits, community outreach programs, staff responsibilities, and congregation attendance. With this information, congregations might be able to obtain real-time snapshots of what the ministry teams are actively accomplishing, as well as areas in which the group may need more support.
Church Accounting Software
Today's spiritual institutions often use resources and traditions borrowed from other religions. And in that same way, they might also consider using some of the principals that for-profit institutions use, so that they can operate in a fiscally sound manner. Church accounting software can help congregations improve their financial situations, while also allowing both the ministry teams and office staff to focus on other activities.
Proprietary or free church accounting software allows administrative staff to manage multiple congregation bank accounts and secures an audit trail which can be reviewed for each transaction. Bookkeeping is streamlined as accounts payable, accounts receivable, and payroll and congregation contributions can all be tracked and reported. Often, employees in the finance ministry may not have a background in accounting, but free church accounting software can help keep books balanced, and staff or vendors paid.
A congregation can also benefit greatly from having transparency. As members try to reach funding goals, certain donor contributions can be allocated to specific funds to help those that are underperforming. And if a faith-based organization is audited, a financial accounting on where and how money has been spent may prove to be indispensable. When looking at free church accounting software, you might consider these features:
Can be integrated with other financial tools and bank accounts Tracks all payments to vendors, suppliers, and staff Automatically tracks one-time and recurring gifts Tracks designated funds, such as a new building fund or mission travel fund Can print checks or automate payments online Creates budgets for each fund or account
Many congregations have missions that are focused on helping their communities, their congregations, and society at large. And while their goal is not to maximize profits, congregations are still expected to be fiscally responsible, which can make church accounting software inherently different from that of other businesses. These organizations are typically exempt from federal income tax payments, but they must still pay state and property taxes.
In addition, while businesses create quarterly income statements, congregations must keep track of the performance and income of their different activities, including any assets or revenue generated by a ministry team, along with any expenses. To this end, it might be good to choose a church accounting software that is able to deliver a statement of the group's past and current financial position, liabilities, and assets.
Church Contribution Software
Small- to mid-sized congregations might not necessarily need to implement a full church management system - and budget constraints may only cover the expense of church contribution software or a church CRM, as well. These software platforms are used to manage offerings, gifts, and detailed information about congregation members. A good financial foundation might need the ability to keep track of both their donors and donations.
Both of these platforms might be able to help your congregation to grow and lead members to feel a more personal connection to the organization. Financial bookkeeping and the distribution of charitable receipts for tax purposes can both be accomplished with church contribution software. It can also help you measure the success of your organization. You may want to consider church contribution software that allows you to accomplish the following:
Define a 'giving unit' as a person, a couple, or a family Track the amount of donations per giving unit Uncover weekly, monthly, or quarterly giving trends Track how the organization is giving back to members and the community Look at how much giving is needed in order to meet facility expenses
A church CRM is similar in fashion to other customer relationship management solutions, and can keep track of member attendance, event scheduling, charity marketing, and messaging. Not only can you keep records on individual contributions, but your organization might also choose to include useful member data such as notes, documents, and photos. With a church CRM, congregation members can be assigned to groups for receiving specific information, such as phone calls, letters, emails, or follow-up contact by another member.
Used on its own or as part of a church contribution software application, its benefits include a more streamlined operation and the ability to automate communications. Congregation members can feel better connected with their place of worship when the organization is able to send them personalized messages. These may be birthday wishes, get well messages, or holiday greetings. As congregations grow and members are demographically separated, a church CRM system can be immensely helpful in maintaining good contact with congregation members.
Church Directory Software
Whether your congregation is global or community-based, keeping open communication channels can help your members feel supported and valuable. Since worship services only last a few hours per week, communication outside the group might be a good ability to have. Church directory software supports easy contact with ministry teams, long-term members, and the welcoming of visitors and new members.
The Breeze app is one example of a platform which provides a centralized repository for member phone numbers and other contact information. Members can be placed into groups for mass mailings or managing events. Users can easily download and access the Breeze app using iOS or Android on their phone or tablet.
Another choice for church directory software is a free church membership database download. These downloads can give you the tools you need to automate and manage membership information, such as telephone numbers and email addresses. Church membership directories can also be used to keep track of members’ personal information, along with all offerings and tithes, which programs they serve, whether they volunteer for administrative committees, and even which study groups they attend.
This can make it easy to email everyone who volunteered for a community task, for instance, or send out additional reading material for anyone who attended a spiritual seminar. Church directory software can streamline the process for keeping congregations engaged, informed, and up-to-date.
Church Management Software Pricing
Church management software is typically priced to be flexible, with the ability to adapt features according to the size and needs of your congregation. Some software features, like financial management, may be included as an optional add-on. You might consider starting with a free trial version of your chosen software, in order to make sure it is the right option for your organization before committing to a purchase. Church management software pricing is often determined by the variety of solutions the service offers. Additionally, the size of the congregation itself can often dictate the database size and structure, which will also commonly affect pricing.
A web-based church management system can be a good choice because staff can access information at any time, and from anywhere with an internet connection. These apps are usually more customizable, easy to install, and are priced to grow as your congregation grows. You can build your software to fit your organizational budget by including or excluding features such as:
congregation accounting member management in-person and online giving congregation directory congregation project management
Church management software pricing can typically range from $15 per month to $200 per month, with the higher-end applications offering solutions for helping manage congregation growth or church project management software, such as a new building fund or missionary trips. There are a wide variety of software applications out there that are built to fit large or small congregations
For example, one app is currently priced at around $50 per month. It includes a free trial and can be accessed by multiple users. This web-based church management software is designed to help small- to mid-sized groups manage most all of their congregation-related functions, including budgeting, creating event calendars, and generating financial reports.
Free Church Software
There are also some free church management tools that can be used until small or budget-strapped congregations are able to invest in a specifically-designed church management app. An Excel spreadsheet can certainly be used to create a congregation database. You may want to exercise caution when using open-source church management software, however, since they will often have fewer features, and can be difficult to learn. Free church software options are also available, but these companies will typically limit their free versions to very small congregations with less than 50 members.
One of the main reasons you might consider avoiding free or open-source church management apps is that they will typically feature little (or no) support, including a limited amount of training material and no customer support if - and when - you have problems exchanging documents or grouping members into multiple categories.
There are affordable management tools for faith-based organizations out there which can manage individuals, families, and groups with automated mailings, contributions tracking, and event scheduling.
No matter which church management software or tools you choose, though, you may want to make sure that they are able to empower your staff and members in completing administrative tasks, while at the same time supporting the contributions of the congregation and projects led by ministry teams.