Church Contribution Software
A wide variety of church contribution software is currently available to help churches and nonprofit organizations simplify their financial stewardship processes. The solutions that are presented by these programs are generally simple to understand and maintain. Since many churches are dependant upon lay people and volunteers who manage these areas, finding an application that meets the needs of a growing organization, but is still very simple to use, is very important. While the individual features of basic church donation software can vary, most can help the user track membership, record contributions, create bank deposit records, and generate contribution statements at the end of the year. Other solutions currently available include online record keeping services. These allow members to track their own contribution records online. Accepting online donations is another feature of these web centered applications. Whatever choice an organization might make, the ability to track and maintain financial records can be greatly enhanced by using these programs.
Some of the basic benefits of church donation software might include the ability to track not only a list of members, but also specific information about each member or member's family. That information could include addresses, phone numbers, birthdays, anniversaries, e-mail addresses, interests, small group memberships, and volunteer activity as well as information on monetary contributions. While a member's financial giving can be easily followed using these programs, they also can offer many other services as well. These applications can also help the user create smaller groups within the whole based on selected criteria. Specific reports based on a particular range of dates can often be created using church contribution software. If a letter needs to go out to a specific group, these programs can often not only add names and addresses to letters, but can print out a group of mailing labels as well. Add to that data files for prayer lists, calendars, or administrative committees and it becomes obvious that these programs are quite versatile and can offer any number of helpful data management solutions.
Along with the pluses, there can be a few drawbacks to these programs. Thorough research is key before selecting the application that will best suit individual churches or organizations. Some of these programs are not compatible with many of the widely used examples of business software. That could mean hours of tedious data entry into other applications that are an organization already uses. Some church contribution software is also not designed to be used in conjunction with a computer network. This could be a very serious drawback for churches that operate a networked system. Other applications do not provide a way to keep track of donations that are not financial in nature. Yet some may boast every needed feature and then some ranging from the ability to enter any type of gift whether that gift comes in the form of a check, cash, or other type of contribution. If an organization wants to stage a fundraising campaign, many of these programs can simplify record keeping for these events as well. Reminder letters and payment schedules can also be generated. Some programs can even be used to import contributions that come in electronically. The price of these applications can vary greatly, ranging from a few hundred dollars and up. Products are also available free of cost on the internet. Careful comparison shopping and research are wise steps to take before making any software decision.
Other forms of church donation software feature the ability to manage pledges and contributions that come from an online source. These are generally subscription services and can cost up to a hundred dollars per month or more. Generally included in these subscriptions is a web site that has been created with the organization's name and a means of logging into the account. This service allows members to make their tithe contributions or gifts online. Automatically scheduled payments can be set up by individual members. Receipts can be generated automatically as well. These web sites can be designed to coordinate with an organization's colors or logos. By using this type of church donation software, churches and organizations can retrieve instant answers to such questions as the number of donors to the organization and the last time that they made a donation, the size of the donations, what kind of volunteer activity has the donor provided, and how did they become acquainted with the organization. The Bible describes how Jacob committed to donating a tenth of his property to God. "And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee." (Genesis 28:22)
Internet security would be a major concern for any organization that chooses church contribution software that offers online tithe tracking. However, with adequate security measures, many major corporations and institutions now do business online. Bills can be paid online as well. Those same security measures can be applied in the area of online tithe tracking. Services that offer password protected and encrypted data can generally provide contributors with solid protection against identity theft. Many of these services also will limit the amount of key personal information that they keep in storage. For example, many will not store social security numbers or credit card numbers or other personal information. Another major benefit of this approach is that important data is stored off site and is backed up on a regular basis. Some of these services charge extra if the allotted amount of data that can be transferred in a month is exceeded. Should a visitor to a church's or organization's web site wish to make a contribution, they can easily do so online using this technology. If a church wishes to use their web site as a means of selling books or merchandise, they can do so online using this type of church donation software.
Church Tithing SoftwareChurch tithing software has been created in order for churches of all faiths to be able to keep track of members' giving and if desired, to keep them aware when certain commitments have not been met. It is certainly a real asset for those who are tasked with the responsibility of keeping accounting records for a faith-based organization. Because so many stories of financial improprieties in congregational circles have arisen in recent years, the responsibility falls to leaders of congregations to insure that there are absolutely no hints of impropriety in the management financial income. Church offering software can help do that very thing. Church financial software has become, in most cases, only part of a software package that a thriving congregation needs. The entire scope of congregational administration has become an all encompassing umbrella for church software.
The term tithing may be a strange term to some people, but the word really means ten percent and comes from Old Testament scriptures that record God commanding the Israelites to give Him the first ten percent of the Hebrews' flocks, produce and income. Most Christian churches advocate continuing that practice among its members today, because the method is a solid way to support ministry work without having to resort to bazaars, carnivals, fundraisers of all shapes and sizes and related distractions. But tithing is an Old Testament concept and Jesus advocated giving from the heart in response to God's provision and love for His people and not a legalistic precept. Nevertheless, local congregations need committed and sacrificial givers to keep all kinds of ministries going and congregational financial computer programs can help in the administration of that activity.
For a congregation of a hundred persons, which is the average sized local faith group across America, the task of keeping track of financial records may still be able to be accomplished by a treasurer who keeps track of all records by paper. But a new age of consumer faith has arisen, and more and more large congregations are arising while the numbers of smaller faith groups which have not adapted to the art of culture speak begin to dwindle, the massive job of handling membership data cries out for excellent church tithing software. In countless counties in the United States, at least one congregation of over seven hundred and fifty persons exists, creating an ever growing market for church financial computer programs.
When looking for software that will manage congregational finances, few if any packages designed strictly for churches only deal in financial administration. Most church tithing software is part of an overall church management program for administering a number of different ministry aspects of the organization. But it is the responsibility of any faith based organization to keep excellent reports for any person that contributes to its ministry so that the person may have a tax record for the Internal Revenue Service. And while the Internal Revenue Service looks upon canceled checks or credit and debit records as a more trustworthy financial proof, the church record still remain a viable piece of documentation. Because so many churches today have a number of "pigeon hole" accounts for various ministries, Church offering software is vitally important to help in sorting out the desires of congregational members in where the money should be directed.
Most churches have a general fund or account where the largest contributions usually go. This account pays for things such as salaries, utilities, denominational dues, advertising, communion supplies, books, Bibles and a hundred other line item expenses. Many churches have a building fund or capital expense account where many members give above their regular giving to pay for an already constructed building or one planned for in the future. Then many churches have a mission's account in which missionaries in the States and around the world receive support and supplies for their endeavors. Of course many churches have niche accounts for food pantries, homeless ministries, youth projects and camps, men's and women's ministries and support for singles both young and old so the need for church offering software is great. "If ye fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well." (James 2:8)
Using church tithing software can make giving records easy for staff people to see at any given church. The debate will forever rage about whether or not any staff person in a church should view individual giving records. With a few clicks of a mouse, a staff person can be swayed in how members are personally treated and approached, and that could be a violation of scripture in and of itself. So perhaps members should ask their congregational leaders who has access to view the reports generated by church offering software and why. Making public every move made regarding money makes any ministry more appealing and trustworthy to the general public.
As many churches continue to grow, the business of designing tithing software will continue to evolve because the methods of doing ministry are changing almost as rapidly as technology changes. For example many large churches now consist only of house churches and rarely do all the members get together for a corporate service. This method of doing ministry was almost unheard of fifteen years ago. Software for large churches can be expensive and a bear to master. On the other hand there are some good and relatively inexpensive congregational financial software companies that have products just for the smaller congregation. Without much computer experience or expertise, a congregational treasurer can quickly get a handle on the paper work lying around the house.