ChurchTrac Review: Church Management System with Fund Accounting

ChurchTrac Review: Church Management System with Fund Accounting

ChurchTrac is a very affordable, effective church management system with its own fund accounting solution. It is ideal for small to medium churches that want a system strong in accounting, and plan to leverage a separate system to maximize member engagement.

Pros

  • Enables fund accounting and payroll as a part of proprietary accounting solution
  • Customer support resolves 87% of issues within one hour according to the company
  • Affordably priced compared to alternatives

Cons

  • Comes with less marketing functionality than other church management systems
  • Emails are sent through a third-party, which requires a separate subscription
  • Doesn't offer immediate telephone support

Editor's Rating

4.5/5.0

ChurchTrac Pricing & Cost

ChurchTrac's price is based on the number of active names you have in their system.

  • Plans start at $5/month for up to 75 names and go up to $50/month for unlimited names
  • 5 cents per voice message
  • 2.5 cents per text message plus $2/month to purchase your phone number
  • Donation processing costs 2.9% + 30 cents for credit and debit transactions, or 25 cents for ACH transactions.

To see more pricing information from ChurchTrac, visit them here.

Table of Contents

Full Review: ChurchTrac

Byron Tedder, ChurchTrac's founder, began developing the software in 2002 at the request of his pastor. Today the company's web-based church management system is used by over 10,000 churches. ChurchTrac is based in Jacksonville, Florida.

ChurchTrac is a web-based church management system for small and medium churches. The system distinguishes itself from alternatives with its proprietary accounting system. Many other solutions in the market are not built to handle fund accounting and payroll. ChurchTrac has built its software to make it easy to add funds, transaction categories, create accounts and generate accounting reports.

ChurchTrac also offers some unique features as a part of member profiles. Specifically, it allows you to maintain a SHAPE Ministry Profile for each person in your church. While it does not offer a mobile app, ChurchTrac is mobile-responsive, so you can access and use the application on your mobile phone.

All software comes with trade-offs. While ChurchTrac stands out on the accounting side and enables basic marketing, group management and online giving, it is not as strong on member engagement as other tools. The company requires you to integrate with a third-party system for email, and does not support complex automated campaigns. It does not offer a mobile application for your congregants and the member portal is less robust than alternatives. With that said, for churches that do not need complex marketing tools or plan to tackle them with other systems, ChurchTrac is a tested, very affordably priced option.

Key Features

Below, we'll discuss some of the key features of ChurchTrac, and how they would benefit your church. We have also included images to give you a sense of the look and feel of the software.

Member Management

Each person in your congregation will have their own profile in ChurchTrac. Common data points captured for each individual include member status, name, birthday, contact information, family, internal notes, group membership, and donation history. In addition to pre-defined profile fields, ChurchTrac allows you to configure your member profiles with custom fields. You can also dynamically add members to smart lists based upon their profile data, which enables features like sending group emails or text messages. Here's a look at the member profile interface in ChurchTrac:

ChurchTrac member profile

Adding new members to ChurchTrac is relatively simple. For new customers, ChurchTrac offers a free one-time bulk import of your members and associated information. Once set up, you can access a window to manually add one individual or an entire family. Here's what that window looks like in the system:

ChurchTrac add member

ChurchTrac also offers a unique SHAPE ministry profile for each member. SHAPE is an acronym for the categories below. Managing this profile will allow you to better utilize your members for ministry:

  • Spiritual Gifts (e.g. teaching, leadership)
  • Heart for Ministry (e.g. choir)
  • Abilities (e.g. musical ability)
  • Personality (e.g. introverted)
  • Experiences (e.g. vocational)

ChurchTrac also allows you to organize your members into groups and group categories. Group categories are a collection of related groups. For example, you might create a category of "Wednesday Night Groups" and a specific group for "College Members". For each group, you can select if you would like to monitor event attendance. Here's a look at the interface for managing groups in ChurchTrac:

ChurchTrac groups

Member Communication

ChurchTrac allows you to send your members emails, text messages, voice messages, and print letters. You must purchase credits to send text and voice messages. To send any of these messages, you select the type of message, the audience, and then create your message. All have the ability to mail-merge dynamic fields from the members' profiles, for example, if you would like to add each members' first name to your greeting. While easy to use, the system does not come with advanced templates or the ability to create custom designed emails.

Here is a look at the email message builder in ChurchTrac:

ChurchTrac email builder

Event & Facilities Management

ChurchTrac has an events page from which you can create and view calendars, add locations, create new events, generate name tags, and take attendance. Each new event stores the event's title, date, location, calendar and an open text field for additional details. You can check a box to designate a recurring event, or to add the event to your reminders. Once created, you are able to add individuals, smart lists and groups to the event, and send event invitations with one click. Finally, you can easily print roll sheets to manage attendance.

Here's the interface for creating a new event in ChurchTrac:

Creating an event in ChurchTrac

Giving

With ChurchTrac, you can set up online giving to accept credit and debit cards on your church's website. ChurchTrac charges a normal fee of 2.9% + 30 cents for credit and debit transactions, or 25 cents for ACH transactions. ChurchTrac's application includes a Giving section where you can also manually log contributions for your members, track pledges and generate giving reports. To receive an accurate contribution statement, each member needs to be assigned to a family and the appropriate donations need to have been accurately marked as tax deductible.

Accounting

ChurchTrac's proprietary accounting solution allows you to manage your church's accounts, budgets, payroll and more. Since the solution is built specifically for churches, it supports fund accounting and comes pre-loaded with common transaction categories. You can also create an unlimited number of accounts and corresponding funds. Finally, you can program transactions to come from several funds. To help save time, ChurchTrac allows you to save recurring transactions.

Here is what the accounting interface looks like when you create a new recurring transaction:

Creating a recurring transaction ChurchTrac

Is ChurchTrac right for you?

ChurchTrac is a web-based church management solution for small and medium churches. The system distinguishes itself from alternatives with its proprietary accounting system. Most alternatives in the market are not built to handle fund accounting and payroll. However, all software comes with trade-offs. While ChurchTrac stands out on the accounting side and enables basic marketing, group management and online giving, it is not as strong on member engagement as other tools. With that said, for churches that do not need complex marketing tools or plan to tackle them with other systems, ChurchTrac is a tested, very affordably priced option.

To learn more or start your free trial with ChurchTrac, visit ChurchTrac here.

Bruce Hogan

Bruce Hogan is Co-founder & CEO of SoftwarePundit, a technology research firm that provides advice, information, and tools to help businesses thrive. Bruce has experience investing at multi-billion dollar private equity firms, leading teams at venture-backed Internet companies, and launching new businesses.