Church & Donor Management Software – ChMS

Written by Nick B. Nicholaou on . Posted in Articles

© 2015 by Nick B. Nicholaou, all rights reserved
Ministry Business Services, Inc. President
Reprinted from inSIGHT

Solutions from church and donor management software (ChMS) providers keep getting better and better in their ability to help churches and ministries fulfill their mission! With more features to track and communicate with people, improved web and mobile device interfaces, and powerful database tools, this category of software is a big help and a useful asset for today’s ministries in reaching many with The Gospel.

Church Software Historical Perspective
In the mid-1980s the number of these programs had grown to 262! Then some merged, some consolidated, and some went out of business, reducing the number to only 34. Then the Internet made it so easy for those writing solutions to share them that the number of solutions has since more than doubled! Our research this year found 72 focusing on the church and ministry market, of which 32 qualified for this article (requirements include active marketing, minimum growth, and active development of their solution).

We always include new providers (those three years old or less) to give them a chance to compete with ‘the big guys’. It also keeps all of the providers ‘on their toes’ as these up-and-comers sometimes develop new technologies that benefit many churches and ministries.

Why Church Management Software?
The solution providers on the following pages meet the sophisticated needs of churches and ministries. Tracking more than just names, addresses, and phone numbers, many of these also help build community and track family relationships, spiritual gifts, talents, interests, attendance, nursery security, contributions, fundraising campaigns, volunteerism, small groups, and more.

Church and ministry offices can be stressful workplaces because of the many deadlines that must be met by an administrative staff that is typically smaller in number than what would be found in a similar-sized secular business. Church management software, if well written, can be a soothing balm. If it’s powerful, capable, fast, and stable, the ministry team can rely on it to help them get the most possible work done— efficiently and with minimal stress. And if its abilities are broad enough, every ministry in the church or parachurch organization can focus on just one database, increasing synergy and minimizing cost.

Church Management Software Defined
Some time ago Steve Hewitt, Editor-in-Chief of Christian Computing Magazine, labeled the software category tailored to meet the needs of churches as Church Management Software, or CMS. More recently some began calling it ChMS to help prevent confusion since so many software categories are called ‘CMS’. Parachurch ministries need to track similar data, so we invited those solutions into this article too. Following is a well-researched list of the leading ChMS providers at the time of this writing, with each stating at the top of the feature chart whether their focus is church, parachurch, or both.

Not-for-Profit Accounting
Churches and ministries exist in a unique accounting niche that most software (and even most CPAs!) can’t help with. But many ChMS packages can help in this area.

One of a ministry’s most vulnerable areas is finance. All too often we hear about churches and ministries that have suffered embezzlement by a trusted team member. One of the best protections is an accounting system that has a good audit trail, tracking the detail of every transaction whose entries cannot be altered in any way. For these reasons, some ChMS providers have written their own fully-integrated accounting system.

Some churches and ministries want a ChMS that has a fully-integrated accounting system, and so we list the functions they look for in the chart. Others may not care whether the ChMS provider has written its own accounting system, and for them it’s good to know that most ChMSs can interface with ‘third-party’ accounting systems such as those provided by Microsoft, Intuit, etc.

Feature Chart
We’ve tried to give you the most comprehensive and quickest format possible of those ChMS database and accounting functions ministry teams request most. We removed features from the list that are provided by all ChMS providers to help focus on differences. We’ve also given you information on each provider such as how to reach them, how long they’ve been making their solutions available, how many organizations they currently serve, their technical support hours, and how often they update their software. All of the information in this article was provided by the software companies.

The chart uses two symbols:

  • The ” 1 ” symbol indicates features ChMS companies provide directly, and
  • The ” 2 ” symbol indicates needs they meet through an outside (third party) source.

Happy Hunting!
Shop wisely. We recommend all prospective buyers do their due diligence and check with current users of the software. Ask questions like:

  • Does the software do what was promised?
  • Is their technical support team capable and available?
  • If you were faced with the same decision today, what would you do differently?

Feel free to contact any of the providers listed.  They would love to help you in your ministry.  Happy hunting!

CLICK TO MAGNIFY

chms-chart

 

List of ChMS Providers in Chart

ACS Technologies
Phone: 800.736.7425
Email: solutions@acstechnologies.com
Web: www.acstechnologies.com
Company Founded in 1978
Years Marketing ChMS: 39
Ministries Currently Using: 50,000
Number on Team: 370
Support Hours: 9a-8p M-Th, -6p F Eastern
Last Major Release: Oct, 2015
Updates per Year: Ongoing via Web
Excellerate
Phone: 888.371.6878
Email: info@excellerate.com
Web: www.excellerate.com
Company Founded in 1989
Years Marketing ChMS: 17
Ministries Currently Using: 2,313
Number on Team: 2
Support Hours: 9a-5p Central
Last Major Release: Sep, 2015
Updates per Year: 12
Active Fellowship One
Phone: 888.820.5808
Email: faith@activenetwork.com
Web: www.fellowshipone.com
Company Founded in 2004
Years Marketing ChMS: 11
Ministries Currently Using: 4,700
Number on Team: 2,500
Support Hours: 24∙7
Last Major Release: Oct, 2015
Updates per Year: 12
Faithful Steward (Diakonia)
Phone: 800.325.6642
Email: info@faithfulsteward.com
Web: www.church-software.com
Company Founded in 1992
Years Marketing ChMS: 21
Ministries Currently Using: 1,083
Number on Team: 3
Support Hours: 9a-5p Central
Last Major Release: Oct, 2015
Updates per Year: Ongoing via Web
AgapeWORKS
Phone: 760.718.3273
Email: sales@agapeworks.org
Web: www.agapeworks.org
Company Founded in 2004
Years Marketing ChMS: 7
Ministries Currently Using: 5,825
Number on Team: 5
Support Hours: 9a-5p Pacific
Last Major Release: Mar, 2015
Updates per Year: 12
FlockBase
Phone: 877.883.5625
Email: info@flockbase.com
Web: www.flockbase.com
Company Founded in 2006
Years Marketing ChMS: 9
Ministries Currently Using: 2,750
Number on Team: 2
Support Hours: 9a-5:30p Central
Last Major Release: Jun, 2015
Updates per Year: 2
Aplos Software
Phone: 888.274.1316
Email: support@aplos.com
Web: www.aplos.com
Company Founded in 2009
Years Marketing ChMS: 4
Ministries Currently Using: 2,150
Number on Team: 15
Support Hours: 9a-4p Pacific
Last Major Release: Sep, 2015
Updates per Year: Ongoing via Web
Fresh Vine
Phone: 888.708.1905
Email: sales@freshvine.co
Web: https://freshvine.co
Company Founded in 2008
Years Marketing ChMS: 4
Ministries Currently Using: 160
Number on Team: 3
Support Hours: 8a-5p Central
Last Major Release: Sep, 2015
Updates per Year: Ongoing via Web
Breeze ChMS
Phone: 888.320.6030
Email: jon@breezechms.com
Web: www.breezechms.com
Company Founded in 2013
Years Marketing ChMS: 2
Ministries Currently Using: 490
Number on Team: 4
Support Hours: 9a-5p Eastern
Last Major Release: Oct, 2015
Updates per Year: Ongoing via Web
Helpmate Technology Solutions
Phone: 888.858.3247
Email: sales@helpmate.com
Web: www.helpmate.com
Company Founded in 1996
Years Marketing ChMS: 19
Ministries Currently Using: 2,3000
Number on Team: 5
Support Hours: 9:30a-5p Eastern
Last Major Release: Mar, 2015
Updates per Year: 3
By The Book
Phone: 800.554.9116
Email: info@bythebook.com
Web: www.bythebook.com
Company Founded in 1992
Years Marketing ChMS: 23
Ministries Currently Using: 4,100
Number on Team: 5
Support Hours: 8a-5p M-F, 7a-1p Sun Central
Last Major Release: Nov, 2014
Updates per Year: Ongoing via Web
Iglesia Hoy
Phone: +52 1664 2515478
Email: info@iglesiahoy.com
Web: www.iglesiahoy.com
Company Founded in 1999
Years Marketing ChMS: 16
Ministries Currently Using: 2,500
Number on Team: 6
Support Hours: 8a-6p Pacific
Last Major Release: Jul, 2015
Updates per Year: 4
Cahaba Creek Software
Phone: 205.621.9649
Email: sales@cahabacreek.com
Web: www.cahabacreek.com
Company Founded in 1997
Years Marketing ChMS: 10
Ministries Currently Using: 1,054
Number on Team: 8
Support Hours: 9a-5p Central
Last Major Release: Mar, 2015
Updates per Year: 3
Intacct
Phone: 877.437.7765
Email: info@intacct.com
Web: www.intacct.com
Company Founded in 1999
Years Marketing ChMS: 15
Ministries Currently Using: 1,000
Number on Team: 300
Support Hours: 6a-5p Pacific
Last Major Release: Nov, 2015
Updates per Year: 4
CCIS Church Software
Phone: 800.295.7551
Email: sales@ccissoftware.com
Web: www.ccissoftware.com
Company Founded in 1981
Years Marketing ChMS: 35
Ministries Currently Using: 6,704
Number on Team: 60
Support Hours: 8a-5p Eastern
Last Major Release: Mar, 2015
Updates per Year: 3
MemberLink (CAA Ministries)
Phone: 706.864.4055
Email: support@caasoftware.com
Web: www.churchmemberlink.com
Company Founded in 2005
Years Marketing ChMS: 2
Ministries Currently Using: 60
Number on Team: 5
Support Hours: 8a-5p Eastern
Last Major Release: Oct, 2015
Updates per Year: Ongoing via Web
CDM+
Phone: 877.891.4236
Email: sales@cdmplus.com
Web: www.cdmplus.com
Company Founded in 1987
Years Marketing ChMS: 29
Ministries Currently Using: 4,850
Number on Team: 24
Support Hours: 8:30a-6p Eastern
Last Major Release: Jul, 2015
Updates per Year: 6
MinistryTracker
Phone: 360.450.3542
Email: support@ministrytracker.com
Web: www.ministrytracker.com
Company Founded in 2004
Years Marketing ChMS: 11
Ministries Currently Using: 2,300
Number on Team: 5
Support Hours: 9a-5p Pacific
Last Major Release: Sep, 2015
Updates per Year: 7
Church Windows
Phone: 800.533.5227
Email: sales@churchwindows.com
Web: www.churchwindows.com
Company Founded in 1987
Years Marketing ChMS: 28
Ministries Currently Using: 12,200
Number on Team: 25
Support Hours: 9a-6p M-Th, -5p F Eastern
Last Major Release: Oct, 2015
Updates per Year: Ongoing Via Web
ParishSOFT / LOGOS
Phone: 866.930.4774
Email: info@parishsoft.com
Web: www.parishsoft.com
Company Founded in 1998
Years Marketing ChMS: 18
Ministries Currently Using: 13,815
Number on Team: 110
Support Hours: 9a-7p Eastern
Last Major Release: Sep, 2015
Updates per Year: 4
Churchteams
Phone: 817.405.9750
Email: support@churchteams.com
Web: https://churchteams.com
Company Founded in 2000
Years Marketing ChMS: 8
Ministries Currently Using: 900
Number on Team: 7
Support Hours: 8:30a-5:30p Central
Last Major Release: Jul, 2015
Updates per Year: Ongoing Via Web
Rock RMS
Phone: 623.777.3347
Email: info@sparkdevnetwork.org
Web: www.rockrms.com
Company Founded in 2013
Years Marketing ChMS: 0
Ministries Currently Using: 40
Number on Team: 3
Support Hours: via Web
Last Major Release: Aug, 2015
Updates per Year: 3
ChurchTrac
Phone: 877.704.0222
Email: support@churchtrac.com
Web: http://churchtrac.com
Company Founded in 2004
Years Marketing ChMS: 12
Ministries Currently Using: 5,400
Number on Team: 6
Support Hours: 9a-5p Eastern
Last Major Release: Sep, 2015
Updates per Year: Ongoing via Web
Seraphim Software
Phone: 855.681.6160
Email: info@seraphimsoftware.com
Web: www.seraphimsoftware.com
Company Founded in 2012
Years Marketing ChMS: 2
Ministries Currently Using: 120
Number on Team: 10
Support Hours: 8a-8p Eastern
Last Major Release: Nov, 2015
Updates per Year: Ongoing via Web
ChurchWatch
Phone: 306.955.3657
Email: admin@churchwatch.com
Web: www.churchwatch.com
Company Founded in 1998
Years Marketing ChMS: 16
Ministries Currently Using: 720
Number on Team: 2
Support Hours: 9a-10p Central
Last Major Release: Nov, 2015
Updates per Year: Ongoing via Web
Servant Keeper
Phone: 800.773.7570
Email: sales@servantpc.com
Web: www.servantkeeper.com
Company Founded in 1994
Years Marketing ChMS: 21
Ministries Currently Using: 30,000
Number on Team: 24
Support Hours: 9a-6p Eastern
Last Major Release: Sep, 2015
Updates per Year: Ongoing via Web
Concordia Technology Solutions
Phone: 800.325.2399
Email: softwaresales@cts.cph.org
Web: www.concordiatechnology.org
Company Founded in 1869
Years Marketing ChMS: 30
Ministries Currently Using: 4,200
Number on Team: 25
Support Hours: 7:30a-5pm Central
Last Major Release: May, 2015
Updates per Year: Ongoing via Web
Shelby Systems
Phone: 800.877.0222
Email: sales@shelbyinc.com
Web: www.shelbysystems.com
Company Founded in 1976
Years Marketing ChMS: 40
Ministries Currently Using: 8,700
Number on Team: 84
Support Hours: 7a-6p Central
Last Major Release: Oct, 2015
Updates per Year: 3
Congregation Connect
Phone: 855.536.1251
Email: info@cloud4good.com
Web: www.congregationconnect.com
Company Founded in 2010
Years Marketing ChMS: 2
Ministries Currently Using: 53
Number on Team: 38
Support Hours: 9a-5pm Eastern
Last Major Release: Oct, 2015
Updates per Year: 3
Software4Nonprofits
Phone: 416.423.7722
Email: info@software4nonprofits.com
Web: www.software4nonprofits.com
Company Founded in 1999
Years Marketing ChMS: 16
Ministries Currently Using: 5,500
Number on Team: 2
Support Hours: 9a-9p Eastern
Last Major Release: Jun, 2015
Updates per Year: 15
Donarius Church Management
Phone: 888.479.4636
Email: question@nuverb.com
Web: www.donarius.com
Company Founded in 1993
Years Marketing ChMS: 17
Ministries Currently Using: 2,165
Number on Team: 1
Support Hours: 9a-5p Eastern
Last Major Release: Oct, 2015
Updates per Year: 20
Specialty Software
Phone: 800.568.6350
Email: sales@specialtysoftware.com
Web: www.specialtysoftware.com
Company Founded in 1982
Years Marketing ChMS: 33
Ministries Currently Using: 6,000
Number on Team: 10
Support Hours: 9a-5p Eastern
Last Major Release: Oct, 2015
Updates per Year: 4

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Comments (2)

  • Jim

    |

    Do you know when you will do your Fall update on software?

    Reply

    • Nick B. Nicholaou

      |

      The research begins in October and should be completed by the end of November every year.

      Reply

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