How much easier would buying things be if cost wasn’t a factor? You could get the product you wanted every time, with no restrictions. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality we live in. It’s certainly not the reality for churches—and, even if it was, those churches wouldn’t be good stewards if they spent that way.
The truth is, when you’re searching for a new church management system (ChMS), cost matters. It matters a lot, probably as much or more than any other factor. That’s why you want to have a high cost awareness throughout the process.
Three essential tips when considering ChMS costs
Here are a trio of key things to keep in mind when it comes to the costs associated with different church management systems:
1. Before you start gettings hands-on with software, know the price
The cost of a system should never be something mysterious or unknown. Many times churches will fall in love with a software before they know how much it costs. Then they get the contract in hand and they’re floored. You definitely want to avoid falling into that trap.
Make sure whatever software you’re evaluating is upfront about their pricing. Don’t be afraid to ask straight up, “How much is this going to cost me?” If a salesperson is unwilling or unable to give you a straight answer, consider that a red flag.
2. When you sit down to consider cost, look beyond the numbers
Don’t look at the price of a software and think that’s the bottom line. Look beyond the numbers. What efficiencies is this software going to bring to you and your team? If there’s a process that’s currently taking hours for you to complete and this system can whittle that down to minutes, that’s building efficiencies and allowing your team to focus on more important things. There’s value to that.
For example: Let’s say it’s a person’s job to go through and set different status levels for church members each week based on attendance or contributions or participation in events. If a new church management system can do that job automatically, that person can spend their time doing other things. That’s going to make your team better. The system pays for itself in that capacity. Be sure to calculate that into your budgeting.
3. Don’t forget about transaction fees—what’s the long-term cost?
There are a lot of systems out there that take a cut whenever a contribution to a church is received through the software. That’s how they make money; that’s part of their revenue stream. While the overall price on a system may appear lower, it comes with higher transaction fees to make up for that over time. Always be sure to ask about transaction fees and merchant provider fees. What you might find is some systems aren’t quite as cheap as they appear to be—and will actually end up costing you more in the long term.
One thing TouchPoint does is we don’t take a cut of any contributions that occur in the software. We also integrate with a merchant provider called TransNational, a secular company that has a ministry called MyWell, which passes along the charges of each transaction at cost. What that means is, if Visa charges you 1 percent they charge you 1 percent. They don’t take a cut. So between TouchPoint and TransNational, you’re getting the best possible rate for your transactions.
Thinking about getting a new church management system? Download our content paper “5 Signs It’s Time to Break Up With Your Church Management System” for more helpful tips.