There are lots of church software services that are doing great things to serve staff and congregants alike. Increasingly, I see these 3 software categories on a collision course.
It used to be that you’d have to find a different vendor for each of these:
- electronic giving
- church management software (ChMS)
- mobile app
But already many of the competitors in this space are offering 2 of the 3 in-house:
- church mobile app developers that now offer an electronic giving service
- electronic giving services that now develop mobile apps
- ChMS platforms that integrate with 1 specific electronic giving provider (functionally an in-house service)
And then there’s an investment conglomerate that has bought up several of each, along with other church software services. But for the time being, they continue to be run as separate brands.
How long before a single brand offers all 3 across an integrated platform?
UPDATE 11/14/2018: The answer is: 7 months. Tithe.ly announces launch of ChMS
UPDATE 06/03/2019: The answer is actually: several years ago – I just discovered ChurchBase.com that has been offering an integrated platform for some time; they integrate website management, too
The other thing that’s happening (finally!) is that church software services are starting to sync with each other. And some of them are syncing with other popular non-church-specific services like MailChimp.
If you’re thinking about adding another of these church software services, you’ll want to look through this convergence lens:
- Does your current provider already offer that other service? – maybe it was recently added
- Has the other provider already lined up to play nice with what you already use?
- Is there any talk of mergers or acquisitions?
Think Long Game
If you’re a new church planter, you don’t have any of these yet. Before you sign up for the first of these church software services, think about the long game. You don’t want to, say, hurry up an pick any old electronic giving service to get going with your fundraising only to find out months later that they won’t integrate with the ChMS you like. Switching is hard. In this case on both you and your givers.
Be smart. Do a little homework. Then go with your best option and keep an eye on their ongoing feature development.