Determining the true value of your church management system (ChMS) is never as simple as just looking at the sticker price. It involves weighing a number of different factors—including ongoing fees, data management capabilities, and the growth impact your system has on your congregation.
While calculating the real cost of your ChMS can be a challenge, it’s important to consider all the factors to ensure your system is giving your ministry the very best return on its investment.
Why spending too much on your church software is a problem
Let’s be real: technology is expensive. That’s just the nature of the world we live in. While church management systems are beneficial in a variety of different ways, they also require a significant financial investment. With the needs and budgets of today’s churches, you don’t want software costs dragging you down—especially at a time when religious giving is in flux.
The Giving USA 2019 report (which looks at data from 2018) showed a 1.5% decline in religious giving last year. An analysis of the report by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy notes, “even as giving to religion declined in total dollars this year for the first time since the great recession, giving to religion as a share of total giving has been experiencing a downward trend for several decades.” The same post also notes that churches may already be seeing decreased donations because of the new tax reform—which lifted the standard deduction, resulting in fewer people itemizing charitable donations.
Given these factors, churches need to be careful not to overspend on church management software. While this technology is a vital tool that will benefit your congregation in a number of ways, you also want to make sure you’re getting the most for your money. Every dollar you spend should be returning value.
Why spending too little on your church software is also a problem
It’s always good to save money. But cutting corners when it comes to church management software could end up costing you more in the long run. If your ChMS isn’t getting the job done for you—if it’s not providing all the capabilities you need it to, if it’s not effectively collecting data if it’s not increasing efficiencies for your ministry—then it’s not providing value (no matter how low the cost maybe).
Remember, investing in the right church management system is building infrastructure for your church that will enable you to grow. Being able to know as much about your members as possible will help you serve them better. A high-quality ChMS will help you not only identify people who are already giving a lot to your church, but having good data will also enable you to find people who can invest more treasure (dollars), time (volunteering) and talents (teaching, lay leaders, discipling, etc.) to strengthen your ministry.
Also, keep in mind, even if you’re spending less on your ChMS, you’re still investing a lot of money in this technology. If you’re using software that isn’t meeting the needs of your congregation or isn’t intuitive or user-friendly to your team, people will inevitably start to wonder: “This is what we spent our money on?”
To determine if you’re spending too much or too little on your ChMS, check out TouchPoint Software’s free eBook “5 Hidden Costs of (the Wrong) Church Management System”.