Church management software (ChMS) makes running your church easier. But the tools can be pricey, which means they are tough to justify if you operate on a small budget. To solve this problem, I’ve made this list of the best free church management tools.
The majority of these free tools are limited versions of paid SaaS platforms. They are typically restricted by the number of members you can add, the available features, or both. Nonetheless, the functionality will be enough to streamline small churches.
I’ve also included two open-source platforms. These are free to use with no restrictions. The only issue is that you need somewhere to host them.
We’ve also added several non-church-specific tools to this list. Still, you’ll see that they have plenty of features useful for churches.
The Best Free Church Management Software
Here’s a shortlist of the best free church management software. I’ve included one of the key benefits of each tool in the list.
- ChurchInfo – free and open source
- ChurchCRM – free if you have an existing website
- ChurchTrac – free with feature limitations
- TextEmAll – 25 message credits free
- Flocknote – free for under 40 members
- Continue to Give – free for up to $5000/month
- CHMeetings – free for up to 100 people
- Raklet – free for 50 contacts
- Bitrix24 – free with feature limitations
- Cahaba Works – free with feature limitations
Best Free Church Management Software Comparison Criteria
What do I look for when I select the best free church management software? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:
- User Interface (UI): A clean, intuitive UI makes a tool a pleasure to use.
- Usability: Is the tool easy to learn and master? This is all especially important if less tech-savvy members of your congregation will use the tool. Also, look out for tools with online support and helpful resources.
- Integrations: Many of the platforms below integrate with other tools you use. For example, your church website, calendar, or church accounting software.
- Feature-Rich Free Plan: Many paid tools have free plans. We included the most generous ones on this list.
Free Church Management Software Key Features
There are plenty of features that make church management easier. Here are some of the most useful ones.
- Profiles: Creating profiles for the congregation lets you track member activity and pledges. Some tools allow your congregation to manage their profiles. Many of the free tools limit the number of profiles you can add.
- Messaging: Tools with email or SMS messaging make it easy to connect with members of your congregation. Look for email editors that let you create media-rich emails.
- Contribution Tracking: Many of the tools on this list allow you to accept and track online donations. They also provide an overview of how much you have received in a particular period.
- Event Management: These features let you create events. You can assign organizers from within the tool and highlight each event on your church’s calendar.
Be aware that while most ChMS tools have these features, they don’t all offer them on the free version of the tool.
Additionally, some of the tools focus on a particular element. For example, Continue to Give specializes in contribution management.
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Overviews Of The 10 Best Free Church Management Software
Here’s a brief description of each free church management system. I’ve tried to showcase each platform’s best use case, some noteworthy features, and screenshots.
1. ChurchInfo – Best free and open-source tool
ChurchInfo is database software that enables online giving and helps with church membership management. It’s a web application which means you can access the information from anywhere with an internet connection.
A feature I like is the self-service interface. This allows your church members to manage their own profiles from within the software. Each person can edit their details and make donations from within the tool via its integration with Vanco. Their volunteer management system is also helpful. Just create opportunities and then assign them to people from within the software.
The tool is free and open-source—you just need to pay for a hosting plan if you don’t have one already. ChurchInfo has an affordable option you can use and they’ll even set it up for you. There is also a version that runs on your PC. This is useful if you don’t want to pay for hosting and you don’t need to access cloud-based features.
2. ChurchCRM – Best for churches with a website
ChurchCRM is a free customer relationship management (CRM) system with features designed specifically for churches. It’s an online, cloud-based tool meaning you can access it from anywhere via an internet browser. The dashboard looks great and is user-friendly. It provides a quick snapshot of everything you need to know about your church, as well as links to the most important features.
The tool has all you need to manage a church. Create member profiles, add phone numbers and email addresses, set up small groups, or organize events and enable check-in. It’s also easy to track member contributions so you can see how much everyone has donated. It’s even available in 25 different languages.
The tool is completely free; you just need to pay for a hosting plan. If your church has an existing website, you can install it on a subdomain without paying an extra cent. Its lack of limitations means the ChurchCRM is a great free tool for churches of all sizes.
3. ChurchTrac – Best for free tech support
ChurchTrac is paid software with all the features you need to manage your church. The company also offers a free plan with limited—yet still useful—features. You can track your active members, roles & permissions, attendance records, and even Sunday school participants.
The plan provides users with the ability to manage profiles for people and families. Add contact information and other details to each one. You can also send emails from within the platform. Unfortunately, more advanced features like donations, attendance tracking, child check-in, and scheduling are only available on the paid plan.
The best thing about ChurchTrac is that it has an easy-to-use interface and offers free tech support, even on the free plan. This means that while the free version isn’t as feature-packed as some other tools on the list, it is easy to set up and use. And if you want to switch to a paid plan at any point, it’s easy to do so. Plans start at just $5 per month.
4. Text-em-all – Best for free text messaging
Text-em-all is a super helpful tool for managing church communication via text messaging. The tool allows you to create and schedule SMS messages to go out to your congregation. You can then manage replies from within the tool. It’s a helpful way to keep people updated about the goings-on at your church.
The tool has several features that make texting easy. There are several templates you can use for different situations. You can give messages a personal touch by automatically adding the name of each recipient. Manage all these features from within the web-based dashboard.
As a messaging platform, Text-em-all doesn’t offer some of the features available on other tools on this list. For example, you can’t track attendance and there’s no volunteer scheduling.
The free trial gives you access to all the features, although it is heavily limited by the fact you can only send 25 messages. Monthly plans start at $7.50 per month.
5. FlockNote – Best free messaging for small churches
FlockNote is another church communication platform. It lets you send both email and SMS messages to your congregation from within the online dashboard. The drag and drop email composer is a useful feature. It makes it a breeze to create and customize great-looking emails filled with multimedia. Once you’ve sent the email, you can respond to any replies from within the dashboard.
The tool also offers analytics features. These show whether people are opening your outreach emails as well as what they click on once they do. Use this information to optimize future emails around the content you know people respond best to.
The free plan provides churches with complete access to all the features and unlimited emails and messages but is limited to 40 users. It’s a great option if you have a small congregation. Pricing starts at $8 per month for large churches with more than 40 members.
6. Continue To Give – Best for tracking donations
Continue To Give is software designed to help nonprofits and religious organizations engage their community and increase giving. It enables giving in many forms: from text donations, kiosk giving, mobile app donations, website forms, and P2P fundraising. This variety of options means every one of your members can access a method of donation that works for them: removing any barriers to giving.
Donation management happens within the customizable dashboard. From here, you get a complete overview of where your donations are coming from and the amount you have received. The dashboard is also home to a powerful communication platform that lets you create and send emails, statements, and SMS messages.
You can create audience segments, so people only receive content relevant to them. For example, one segment could be a particular church group; another could be people who attend a particular service. Other features include pledge management to help you follow up on pledges.
Continue To Give is paid software, but there’s a free plan (minus a 3.2% commission) for churches that raise under $5,000 per month.
7. CHMeetings – Best church management for small churches
CHMeetings is an all-in-one church management software solution used by more than 2,000 organizations. It has robust features that help you track and store group and member data and then turn this information into reports with the click of a button.
A cool feature is the contact builder that lets you create and send SMS messages and email to your congregation. It’s an easy way to ensure everyone is up-to-date with happenings at your church.
Meanwhile, powerful event management tools let you create single or recurring events and then collect event registrations. It’s easy to add people to different roles and then add notes to provide more information. When it’s time for the event, you can print off name tags for attendees.
CHMeetings has a limited free plan for up to 100 people, making it good for small-sized churches. To get access to more features or users, you’ll have to add a paid plan, which starts at $10 a month. You can access it on your PC or on mobile devices running both Android and iOS.
8. Raklet – Best for integrations
Raklet bills itself as a community engagement platform. Its features aren’t church-specific, but there’s still plenty available to help places of worship grow.
Central to the tool is its contacts feature. Use these to create profiles for everyone in your church. Just upload a list of email addresses and create profiles for each person. You can then segment these people however you’d like, making it easy to create groups within your overall membership.
It’s easy to connect with these contacts through features like email and SMS messaging. You can use this for use cases like an email newsletter that keeps everyone up-to-date about your church.
I like that the tool lets members communicate with each other. They can create and comment on topics as well as send private messages. It’s like a private social media site for your church.
Other features include the ability to create webinars and accept payments. There is even event planning functionality. The tool also integrates with plenty of the tools you and your congregation use every day like Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, and more.
Raklet has a free plan for up to 50 contacts. If you need more users, the Essentials plan is $49 for up to 1,000 contacts.
9. Bitrix24 – Best for church activity & event management
Bitrix24 is more business-focused than the other tools on this list. Nonetheless, it has a free version for unlimited users and plenty of features that—while not explicitly designed for churches—will definitely help.
The communication tools are central to the platform. These enable you to create a powerful social networking platform. Your congregation can message, email, and communicate within the community for free.
Beyond this, there are a huge array of management tools. There’s CRM, project management, contacts, and even a visual website builder. These are the features that are more business-aligned, and many of them cost money. You’ll have to decide whether they are worth paying for.
Bitrix is available in both on-premise and cloud-based solutions. The great thing about the free plan is that you can add unlimited users. If you feel the need to upgrade, paid plans start at $19 per month.
10. Cahaba Works – Best desktop solution
CahabaWorks is church management software designed to help you track money, including payroll, member contributions, and fund accounting. There’s a free version of the software that is suitable for small churches.
The free version contains three modules: members, contributions, and financials. The first module lets you create profiles to organize member information, while the latter provides some insight into your church’s contributions and financial management. These are all useful features for those in charge of church administration.
Other tools like group management are only available on paid plans.
The tool is desktop-based which means it is only available on the computer you install it on. The good news is that you can add unlimited people and users to each piece of software.
When you sign up, you get a free trial of the paid version, which then reverts back to the free one if you don’t pay up. The standard edition costs $350 and comes with a year of support.
What is the difference between web-based (online) and download (offline) church management software?
Web-based church management software stores all your data online. This means you can access it anywhere with an internet connection. You can also create profiles for other members, who can then access the tool. Another benefit of these tools is that updates happen automatically, so you always use the most up-to-date version of the software.
Offline tools are only available on a single computer in a single location. All the data is stored on your computer’s hardware.
What Do You Think About These Free Church Management Tools?
I think all the tools on this list offer great free functionality for churches—especially small ones. All the free plans differ slightly, so take a look at precisely what they offer and then make your decision based on this.
You can also check out our church management software recommendations for both free and paid options. This will help if you have outgrown free tools and their functional limitations.
Looking for more tools to help your church get up to speed with going digital? Check our list out on the 10 Best Church Giving Apps for Donations and Tithe Collection.
For more insights around church management, check out The Lead Pastor blog.