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Church & Donor Management Software – ChMS

© 2019 by Nick B. Nicholaou, all rights reserved
Ministry Business Services, Inc. President
Reprinted from inSIGHT

Solutions from church and donor management software providers keep improving in their ability to help churches and ministries fulfill their mission! Their features to track and communicate with people, their web and mobile device interfaces, and their powerful database tools make this category of software a big help and a valuable asset for today’s ministries in reaching many with The Gospel and discipling them.

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. In the 1990s the internet made it so easy for those writing solutions for their own church to share them that the number of solutions more than doubled! Our research this year found 55 solutions focusing on the church and ministry market, of which 35 qualified for this article (requirements include active marketing, minimum customer growth, and active development of their solution– and completing the article survey).

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

Why Church Management Software?
The solution providers on the following pages meet the sophisticated and complex needs of churches and ministries. Tracking more than just simple CRM datasets like names, addresses, and phone numbers, many of these also help build community and track traditional and modern 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 reliable, the ministry team can use 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 ministry can focus on just one database, increasing synergy and minimizing cost.

Church Management Software Defined
Decades ago Steve Hewitt, then Editor-in-Chief of Christian Computing Magazine (recently re-branded as MinistryTech Magazine), labeled this software category tailored to meet the needs of churches as Church Management Software, or CMS. There are now a lot of software categories abbreviated ‘CMS’, so we now refer to it as ChMS. 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 solution can also meet the needs of parachurch or denominational offices.

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 with a good audit trail, tracking the detail of every transaction and whose data 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 we list the functions they look for in the chart. Others may not care if the ChMS provider has written its own accounting system, and for them it’s good to know that most ChMSes can interface with ‘third-party’ accounting systems such as those in the chart that only provide nonprofit accounting solutions.

The ChMS Challenge
ChMS is a challenge for many of those who work on church and ministry teams. Usually it’s because they haven’t been trained, sparking the concern that the ChMS is not simple or intuitive. As mentioned, though, there are too many types of deep data to be simple or intuitive.

We’ve added to the feature chart the ability to create custom workflows for tasks and roles that help make it simpler and more intuitive. But the key will always be training. We strongly recommend that new team members be trained before being given access to update the ChMS, and that the solution provider be contracted to come on-site or provide interactive remote training at least annually.

Making ongoing training part of your ChMS strategy will ensure that your ChMS investment will last longer and serve your team better.

Feature Chart
We’ve tried to give you the most comprehensive and quickest format possible of those ChMS database and accounting functions teams request most. We removed features provided by all ChMS providers to help focus on solutions’ distinct feature sets.

The chart lists solutions by the name their providers use to market them rather than by the company name. We include the company name in the section following the chart in which we give 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 support hours, and how often they update their software. We have trusted the software companies to provide this data accurately; all of the information was provided by them.

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 doing your due diligence and checking with current users of the software you’re interested in. Ask questions like:

  • Does the software do what was promised?
  • Is their 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 CHART IMAGE TO MAGNIFY

chms-chart

 

 

List of ChMS Providers in Chart

ACS
By ACS Technologies
Phone:  844.467.3256
Email:  solutions@acst.com
Web:  www.acstechnologies.com
Company Founded in 1978
Years Marketing ChMS:  40
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  6427
Number on Team:  400
Support:  9 – 8 M-Th Eastern; 9 -6 F
Last Major Release:  12/2018
Updates per Year:  8
FastFund Online
By Araize
Phone:  866.840.7449, x Sales
Email:  sales@araize.com
Web:  www.araize.com
Company Founded in 1997
Years Marketing ChMS:  22
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  1350
Number on Team:  10
Support:  9 – 5 Eastern
Last Major Release:  09/2019
Updates per Year:  Ongoing via web
Blackbaud Church Management
By Blackbaud
Phone:  800.443.9441
Email:  solutions@blackbaud.com
Web:  www.blackbaud.com
Company Founded in 1981
Years Marketing ChMS:  2
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  85
Number on Team:  500
Support:  8:30 – 8 Eastern, 24•7 option
Last Major Release:  10/2019
Updates per Year:  Weekly
FellowshipOne
By FellowshipOne, a division of Ministry Brands
Phone:  844.459.8525
Email:  sales@fellowshipone.com
Web:  www.fellowshipone.com
Company Founded in 2004
Years Marketing ChMS:  15
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  2000
Number on Team:  43
Support:  7 – 7 Central, 24•7 option
Last Major Release:  10/2019
Updates per Year:  Ongoing via web
Breeze ChMS
By Breeze Church Management
Phone:  888.320.6030
Email:  support@breezechms.com
Web:  www.breezechms.com
Company Founded in 2013
Years Marketing ChMS:  6
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  6958
Number on Team:  37
Support:  9 – 6 Eastern
Last Major Release:  11/2019
Updates per Year:  Ongoing via web
FlockBase Software
By FlockBase Software LLC
Phone:  877.883.5625
Email:  info@flockbase.com
Web:  www.flockbase.com
Company Founded in 2006
Years Marketing ChMS:  13
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  4600
Number on Team:  4
Support:  9 – 5:30 Central
Last Major Release:  09/2019
Updates per Year:  1
CahabaWorks Church Software
By CahabaCreek Software, a division of 2AB Inc.
Phone:  205.621.9649
Email:  sales@cahabacreek.com
Web:  www.cahabacreek.com
Company Founded in 1997
Years Marketing ChMS:  11
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  1681
Number on Team:  8
Support:  9 – 4 M-Th Central; Email 24•7
Last Major Release:  12/2018
Updates per Year:  4
IconCMO
By Icon Systems, Inc.
Phone:  800.596.4266
Email:  sales@iconcmo.com
Web:  www.iconcmo.com
Company Founded in 1992
Years Marketing ChMS:  26
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  2500
Number on Team:  7
Support:  8 – 5 Central
Last Major Release:  08/2019
Updates per Year:  Ongoing via web
CCIS Shield CMS
By CCIS Church Management Software
Phone:  800.295.7551
Email:  sales@ccissoftware.com
Web:  www.ccissoftware.com
Company Founded in 1981
Years Marketing ChMS:  39
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  6800
Number on Team:  60
Support:  8 – 5 Eastern
Last Major Release:  03/2019
Updates per Year:  3
Iglesia En Conexion
By JR Software
Phone:  +52.1.664.251.5478
Email:  info@iglesiaenconexion.com
Web:  www.iglesiaenconexion.com
Company Founded in 1999
Years Marketing ChMS:  1
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  70
Number on Team:  6
Support:  8 – 6 Pacific
Last Major Release:  01/2019
Updates per Year:  10
CDM+
By Suran Systems, Inc.
Phone:  877.891.4236
Email:  sales@cdmplus.com
Web:  www.cdmplus.com
Company Founded in 1987
Years Marketing ChMS:  32
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  3175
Number on Team:  25
Support:  8:30 – 6 Eastern
Last Major Release:  10/2019
Updates per Year:  Ongoing via web
Iglesia HOY
By JR Software
Phone:  +52.1.664.251.5478
Email:  info@iglesiahoy.com
Web:  www.iglesiahoy.com
Company Founded in 1999
Years Marketing ChMS:  20
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  3460
Number on Team:  6
Support:  8 – 6 Pacific
Last Major Release:  05/2019
Updates per Year:  4
Church Community Builder
By Church Community Builder
Phone:  719.266.2888
Email:  sales@churchcommunitybuilder.com
Web:  www.churchcommunitybuilder.com
Company Founded in 1999
Years Marketing ChMS:  18
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  4400
Number on Team:  110
Support:  7 – 6 Mountain
Last Major Release:  11/2019
Updates per Year:  Ongoing via web
Ministry Tracker
By Faithlife
Phone:  855.715.6467
Email:  support@ministrytracker.com
Web:  www.ministrytracker.com
Company Founded in 2006
Years Marketing ChMS:  14
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  531
Number on Team:  4
Support:  6 – 9 Sun-Sat Pacific
Last Major Release:  10/2019
Updates per Year:  Ongoing via web
Church Windows
By Computer Helper Publishing
Phone:  800.533.5227
Email:  sales@churchwindows.com
Web:  www.churchwindows.com
Company Founded in 1987
Years Marketing ChMS:  32
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  12000
Number on Team:  25
Support:  9 – 6 M-Th Eastern, 9a – 5p F
Last Major Release:  09/2019
Updates per Year:  1
MinistryPlatform
By Think Ministry
Phone:  678.404.2467
Email:  info@thinkministry.com
Web:  www.ministryplatform.com
Company Founded in 2005
Years Marketing ChMS:  12
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  820
Number on Team:  20
Support:  8 – 6 Eastern
Last Major Release:  10/2019
Updates per Year:  8
Church360°
By Concordia Technology Solutions,
a division of Concordia Publishing House
Phone:  800.325.2399
Email:  softwaresales@cts.cph.org
Web:  www.church360.org
Company Founded in 1869
Years Marketing ChMS:  9
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  1250
Number on Team:  25
Support:  7:30 – 5 Central
Last Major Release:  10/2019
Updates per Year:  Ongoing via web
Parish Data Systems (PDS)
By ACS Technologies
Phone:  800.736.7425
Email:  solutions@acst.com
Web:  www.acstechnologies.com
Company Founded in 1978
Years Marketing ChMS:  40
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  7405
Number on Team:  395
Support:  9 – 8 M-Th Eastern, 9 – 6 F
Last Major Release:  01/2019
Updates per Year:  8
Church MemberLink
By CAA Ministries, a division of CAA Software, Inc.
Phone:  706.864.4055
Email:  info@caasoftware.com
Web:  https://churchmemberlink.com
Company Founded in 2004
Years Marketing ChMS:  10
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  100
Number on Team:  4
Support:  8 – 7 Eastern
Last Major Release:  12/2018
Updates per Year:  Ongoing via web
ParishSOFT Family Suite
By ParishSOFT, a division of Ministry Brands
Phone:  866.930.4774
Email:  parishsoftsales@parishsoft.com
Web:  www.parishsoft.com
Company Founded in 1998
Years Marketing ChMS:  21
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  9900
Number on Team:  65
Support:  8:30 – 7 Eastern
Last Major Release:  10/2019
Updates per Year:  Ongoing via web
Churchteams
By Churchteams.com, Inc.
Phone:  817.405.9750
Email:  info@churchteams.com
Web:  https://go.churchteams.com
Company Founded in 2000
Years Marketing ChMS:  11
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  816
Number on Team:  8
Support:  8:30 – 5 Central
Last Major Release:  10/2019
Updates per Year:  Ongoing via web
PowerChurch
By PowerChurch Software
Phone:  800.486.1800
Email:  info@powerchurch.com
Web:  www.powerchurch.com
Company Founded in 1984
Years Marketing ChMS:  35
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  38000
Number on Team:  17
Support:  9 – 6 Eastern
Last Major Release:  10/2019
Updates per Year:  Ongoing via web
ChurchTools
By ChurchTools Innovations GmbH
Phone:  +49.721.509.9650
Email:  support@churchtools.de
Web:  www.church.tools
Company Founded in 2015
Years Marketing ChMS:  10
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  1500
Number on Team:  20
Support:  8 – 6 Central European
Last Major Release:  10/2019
Updates per Year:  18
Realm
By ACS Technologies
Phone:  800.736.7425
Email:  salesteam@acst.com
Web:  https://acstechnologies.com
Company Founded in 1978
Years Marketing ChMS:  6
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  7908
Number on Team:  400
Support:  9 – 8 M-Th Eastern, 9 – 6 F, 24•7 option
Last Major Release:  10/2019
Updates per Year:  26
ChurchTrac Software
By ChurchTrac Software, Inc.
Phone:  877.704.0222
Email:  support@churchtrac.com
Web:  www.churchtrac.com
Company Founded in 2002
Years Marketing ChMS:  15
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  8500
Number on Team:  9
Support:  8 – 8 Eastern
Last Major Release:  10/2019
Updates per Year:  4
Sage Intacct
By Sage Intacct, a division of Sage
Phone:  877.437.7765
Email:  info@intacct.com
Web:  www.sageintacct.com
Company Founded in 1999
Years Marketing ChMS:  20
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  3000
Number on Team:  500
Support:  6 – 5 Pacific
Last Major Release:  08/2019
Updates per Year:  4
COMS & EFA for Windows
By Specialty Software
Phone:  800.568.6350
Email:  sales@specialtysoftware.com
Web:  www.specialtysoftware.com
Company Founded in 1984
Years Marketing ChMS:  35
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  6000
Number on Team:  5
Support:  9 – 4 Eastern
Last Major Release:  09/2019
Updates per Year:  4
Servant Keeper
By Servant PC Resources Inc.
Phone:  800.773.7570
Email:  sales@servantpc.com
Web:  www.servantpc.com
Company Founded in 1994
Years Marketing ChMS:  25
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  35000
Number on Team:  30
Support:  9 – 6 Eastern
Last Major Release:  10/2019
Updates per Year:  Ongoing via web
Donarius Church Management Software
By Nuverb Systems Inc.
Phone:  888.479.4636
Email:  question@nuverb.com
Web:  www.donarius.com
Company Founded in 1993
Years Marketing ChMS:  21
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  2430
Number on Team:  1
Support:  9 – 6 Eastern
Last Major Release:  04/2019
Updates per Year:  20
ShelbyNext Membership
By Shelby Systems, a division of Ministry Brands
Phone:  800.877.0222
Email:  sales@shelbyinc.com
Web:  www.shelbysystems.com
Company Founded in 1976
Years Marketing ChMS:  43
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  2150
Number on Team:  95
Support:  7 – 6 Central
Last Major Release:  10/2019
Updates per Year:  Monthly
DONATION and ACCOUNTS
By Cooperstock Software
Phone:  416.423.7722
Email:  info@software4nonprofits.com
Web:  www.software4nonprofits.com/chms
Company Founded in 1999
Years Marketing ChMS:  20
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  4386
Number on Team:  3
Support:  9 – 9 Eastern
Last Major Release:  10/2019
Updates per Year:  12
Shepherd’s Staff
By Concordia Technology Solutions,
a division of Concordia Publishing House
Phone:  800.325.2399
Email:  softwaresales@cts.cph.org
Web:  www.shepherdsstaff.org
Company Founded in 1869
Years Marketing ChMS:  26
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  3000
Number on Team:  25
Support:  7:30 – 5 Central
Last Major Release:  09/2019
Updates per Year:  Ongoing via web
Excellerate Church Management
By Micro System Design
Phone:  888.371.6878
Email:  info@excellerate.com
Web:  www.excellerate.com
Company Founded in 1989
Years Marketing ChMS:  21
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  2702
Number on Team:  2
Support:  9 – 5 Central
Last Major Release:  07/2018
Updates per Year:  8
TouchPoint Software
By TouchPoint, a division of Pursuant
Phone:  214.866.7759
Email:  sales@touchpointsoftware.com
Web:  www.touchpointsoftware.com
Company Founded in 2008
Years Marketing ChMS:  11
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  576
Number on Team:  15
Support:  8 – 5 Central
Last Major Release:  11/2019
Updates per Year:  Ongoing via web
Faithful Steward
By Diakonia LLC
Phone:  314.256.9073
Email:  info@faithfulsteward.com
Web:  www.church-software.com
Company Founded in 1992
Years Marketing ChMS:  25
Ministries/Campuses Currently Using:  1087
Number on Team:  3
Support:  9 – 5 Central
Last Major Release:  10/2019
Updates per Year:  Ongoing via web
 

 

4 Comments

  1. Jeff Ward on September 10, 2019 at 8:32 am

    I’m curious why Rock RMS https://www.rockrms.com isn’t included in your list.

    • Nick Nicholaou on September 10, 2019 at 10:46 am

      Hi Jeff,

      Thank you for your comment!

      Your observation comes up often about them not being included in the article! You would like to know we invited them to participate in the article (which is 100% free and whose survey only takes about 20 minutes). They declined to participate multiple times. We think it’s because they don’t have a marketing team to complete the survey.

      That may not help much, but at least you know we tried to get more information about them. We would love to have them participate.

  2. Bob on October 3, 2019 at 9:20 am

    why is “planning center” not listed?

    • Nick Nicholaou on October 3, 2019 at 9:26 am

      Hi Bob!
      Good question! We’d love for them to participate, but they refuse! We’ve pursued them, to no avail.
      Nick

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