Please review the questions we prepared for you in this church software faq page on how to choose a church software package, what to look for, individual module questions, and so much more. If you don’t see your question here make sure you send us an email or give us a call!
The short answer is – probably not. There are two major considerations. One is that a church that has 10,000 members has different software needs than a church that has 500 members. Secondly, the church software in the larger church more than likely has many components that a smaller church will not need. Most of the time these extra components increases the price, making it cost prohibitive to a smaller organization. The cost for some of the current software on the market can range between $2,500 – $10,000 dollars or more annually.
These reasons are why churches should seek out similar size organizations in their area that have similar types of ministries and find out which solutions those organizations use and how satisfied they are. One word of caution – every church is dynamic and their needs vary greatly. The church should have reasonable expectations of the feature set, which may not satisfy every single need in the church but come very close. This process should give you a handful of church software vendors to choose from.
The team’s characteristics are an important consideration to ensure that the software will work for the entire church operation. Additionally, the team needs to come to a consensus on one church software solution that they all feel will do the job and that the church board will approve. While this sounds easy, it’s anything but easy.
There are certain characteristics to look for, like strong bonds, conflict resolution, and problem solving characteristics to name a few, when considering who should be on the team. Church politics and past personal feelings need to be checked at the door, so that the team can make a decision that increases the efficiency and effectiveness of the entire church and not a few selected areas. Along with this there are certain technical skills that should be represented. For example, a CPA for church fund accounting is essential to ensure everything is in compliance. An IT (Information Technology) person is important to understand and explain various different technologies to the team as a whole and what additional cost there will be above the software (e.g. possible server installation). One or more pastors can explain the current ministry difficulties and how best to solve them, and a representative for the donation and church member data entry can offer insight into the day-to-day operations.
A church can’t make a decision on a church software solution without discussing the security of each solution. There are many truths and myths in this area that are popularized in the media or other venues. This is where an IT person on the team can help a lot because they understand many of the differences and what should or shouldn’t be considered within the realm of security. Part of security should be a recovery plan in which the client knows what happens when there is a power outage in the cloud, the Internet goes down or another type of disaster. There are methods to mitigate any of these but the question is whether the church software company deploys these or not.
The price includes all modules except payroll, child check-in and event registration. With the main package the church gets technical support via phone or email, training webinars, encrypted connection, software upgrades, online forum for enhancements or questions, and backups completed by Icon Systems.
Note: Payment processor fees apply for child check in, online donations, and event registration.
Short answer – Absolutely! Data conversion costs should always be noted when comparing one church software to another. Why? If you take two similar products with a similar feature set and one church software vendor charges $1,000.00 for a data conversion and the other charges $300.00, all other things being equal, which one would you choose? Another reason is that data conversions are what they call a sunk cost in the software industry. It means the church doesn’t get this money back if they don’t like the software and change at a later date – even if it is only a day later. A church’s resources are very valuable to them in the economic times that we face, so church leaders need to justify paying for something that is a sunk cost.
Yes. There are many ways to get training for the software. We’ve developed several in-depth “getting started” guides for each area of the system, and all users should read these before they begin using IconCMO. These guides are located right in IconCMO for convenience. Additionally users can call support to get quick answers for any questions they have. We also provide free webinars – either one on one or by the group to train users on the system. And lastly users can email their questions to our support desk.
Yes. Unlike many software packages, IconCMO was developed (1999 – 2002) from the ground up to work on the web. It is a pure SaaS (Software as a Service) system where we update the software so your church doesn’t have to. All you need is an Internet connected computer and a web browser. In other words, you could be sipping on your favorite blend at the local coffee shop while updating your church membership records, recording contributions, or entering accounting transactions.
The architecture of the church software is very important to understand and facilitates the church’s direction in their church software selection. A majority of churches are moving to a true web-based solution as church leaders are warming up to the idea of having the church’s data in the cloud. Some church solutions are truly web-based meaning they work and function within the Internet browser, whereas others may look like they are web based and aren’t.
Many times churches that are looking for a true web-based system settle for a hybrid church software solution, where part of the system is on the Internet or it works through a 3rd party interface to display the information to the user. A common way to tell the difference is if the church software provider charges you more as concurrent users are increased. It is an important question to ask when evaluating church software prices and adding more users (e.g. two users verses ten). Why does it cost more? Because the church software provider must pay a licensing fee to companies like Citrix for the number of people that are accessing the interface at the same time, which increases the price for the church. Another way to find out if the church software is a true Internet based solution is that it should work on any Operating System (Linux, Windows, Mac,
IconCMO is priced by families, not individuals. A family can have many individuals or just one (ie single person). Many systems charge by the individual and the church ends up paying more for those families. An example is if the church has 800 individuals, more than likely the family count is somewhere between 250 – 300. With most systems you would pay based on the 800, not the 250 – 300 range. Check this pricing page out to see the various tiers. In step one just change the drop down box to the family count for your church to see what your annual price is.
Icon Systems handles all updates, including hardware and software for the IconCMO application. The user only needs an Internet connected computer.
Absolutely. While many packages have a maximum number of simultaneous users logged in at one time, IconCMO doesn’t have any such requirements. Many of our clients have have 10 – 20 logged in users at the same time, and there’s no extra charge for doing so.
There are many areas of the system that are customizable, such as groups, talents, and attendance. Other lists that can be customized include status codes, phone and email types, relationships, gender, and milestones.
The short answer is – No. While there are many good software companies for different sectors of industry (e.g. retail sales, telecommunication, or banking software), most will not understand the unique processes and compliance issues that churches have that set them apart. In other words, every niche sector has its own software that serves the sector better and churches are no different.
No. The organization only has to provide an Internet connected computer (PC, MAC, Linux, etc) with a browser (ie: Edge, FireFox, Safari, Chrome).