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What is church management software?
Church management software (ChMS) handles functions such as accounting, donation tracking, service attendance, membership, event schedules, and activities. Churches use church management systems to automate and organize administrative functions including document creation, outreach, and event scheduling. These systems help churches better track resources and foster communication between administrators, staff, ministry leaders, members, and visitors.
The benefits of church management software
- Easily track membership. Maintain all members' contact details and preferences, family profiles, education, volunteer history, and group membership in one place.
- Quickly account for contributions. Easy access to information on all your pledges, donations, and tax receipts for simplified IRS reporting. Manage your accounting and income statements in a tool designed specifically for the needs of churches.
- Centrally manage event scheduling. Combine the complex moving parts of scheduling events, classes, and worship services, as well as tracking attendance and sign-ups, with a convenient, single platform.
Typical features of church management software
- Donation management: Track financial donations and issue tax receipts/documents.
- Membership management: Database of members' personal information, such as activity/group membership history and contact details, and allow members to update addresses and family information.
- Small group management: Organize members and schedule recurring small group meetings, from Bible studies to volunteer efforts.
- Event management: Schedule and manage the logistics of activities and other gatherings in a single place, and allow members to find information about upcoming events.
- Member directory: Maintain a directory of members (for external use) that is printable and allows members to connect with each other.
The church management software directory lets you filter by feature(s) to only view options that meet your business needs, which can help you narrow your software shortlist.
Considerations when purchasing church management software
- Buy a system with room to grow. Church management systems can help you grow your ministry, so be sure to buy a system that can handle more than your current needs.
- Think twice about building your own system. It may seem tempting to build your own church management software to save a little money, but in the long run you will end up spending more. Leave the software to the experts and focus on what you do best: building your congregation.
- Beware of "free" solutions. You get what you pay for, and most free church management systems are only an intro system to get you started. Typically, you end up having to pay for additional users and features, which can leave you stuck with a system that doesn't fit your needs or exceeds your budget.
Relevant church management software trends
- Internet-enabled smart devices allow churches to automate presentations and maintenance tracking. The internet of things (IoT) allows internet-enabled devices to do everything from alerting your maintenance team to necessary repairs to automating presentation notes during church services. According to a Capterra research, 73% of small and midsize businesses are using or plan to use IoT technology within the next one to two years. Expect IoT functionality to become more standard and necessary in church management systems in the coming years.
- Livestreaming and virtual service attendance. Already, "megachurches" are using livestreaming technology to share their services with members or interested parties worldwide. As the costs for quality streaming hardware and software decrease, expect smaller and midsize churches to get in on the action as well, enabling members who are deployed in the military, sick or housebound to share in a church service with those present in the physical building.