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. I’ve also added several non-church-specific tools to this list. Still, you’ll see that they have plenty of features useful for churches.
If you’re not quite ready for a ChMS, give this article a read first: Complete How-To Guide To Church Records Management
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.
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- Cahaba Works
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What is Free Church Management Software?
Free church management software is a type of software designed to assist churches and religious organizations with various administrative tasks, such as membership management, donation tracking, event scheduling, and communication. These software programs are typically web-based and can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.
Free church management software offers an affordable solution for small to medium-sized churches that may not have the budget for expensive software or IT staff. They can help streamline church operations and improve communication among church members and staff.
How I Selected the Best Free Church Management Software
If you’re wondering how I selected the best free church management software, here’s where I’ll break it all down for you. First of all, I started with free church software that have high user review and satisfaction ratings. Then, using my experience in church management, I discerned what key criteria were most important for free church management software and compared how each of them stacked up against the rest.
I empathize with how much time it takes to source the right software for a job. I do this work so that you don’t have to. I’ve been using and reviewing paid and free church software for years so you can trust me to do the heavy lifting and compile all the facts you need to make your final decision.
If you have more general questions about church management strategy, you can skip to our FAQ at the bottom of the page. Or, you can jump right to the best free church management software overviews if you’re ready to start comparing.
After careful consideration, I’ve determined that these are the most important criteria when selecting the best free church management software. Here’s a brief list outlining the whats and whys of my selection.
User Interface (UI):
A lot of free church software doesn’t have a great look or feel because they aren’t updated often. I look for tools with great navigation and a decent look and feel. I don’t mind a bit of an old fashioned vibe (beggars can’t be choosers!) but menuing, data entry, workflows, and worship planning should be easy to find and use.
Speaking of “easy to use,” if you’re on the market for free church management software I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that resource limitations are a current problem you are facing. That means I focused on choosing software with high quality of life/ease-of-use so you aren’t stretched thin trying to learn this stuff.
Integrations may charge you but they are super handy when working with church management software. For this reason, I tried to shout out any software options that offer integrations. Many of the platforms below integrate with other tools you use; for example, your church website, calendar, or church accounting software. You can decide if this is important to your church needs.
Any free church software is going to have limitations and that’s okay! Where possible, I listed out the limitations (user count, “lite” features, data caps, and so on) so that you would be aware of them. I’ve also highlighted a few free church management software options that are totally free, no strings attached, so watch out for those if you’re interested.
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 church management software
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.
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.
The tool is free and open-source—you just need to pay for a hosting plan if you don’t have one already.
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.
3. ChurchTrac – Best free church management software for 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.
ChurchTrac’s basic free church software costs nothing to 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 one-and-done text blasts
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 church management software for messaging & communications
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. Pricing starts at $8 per month for large churches with more than 40 members.
6. Continue To Give – Best free church management software for tracking donations
Continue To Give is software designed to help non-profit organizations and religious communities 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 free church software “with conditions.” There is a limited free plan (minus a 3.2% commission) for churches that raise under $5,000 per month.
7. CHMeetings – Best free 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. You can access it on your PC or on mobile devices running both Android and iOS.
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.
8. Raklet – Best free church management software 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 free church management software for for activity & events
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 free church management software for desktop
CahabaWorks is church management solution 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.
Free Church Management for Easy-on-the-Budget Software Options
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.
For more insights around church management, check out The Lead Pastor blog.