If you’re exploring church online giving software, you may have heard about Pushpay and wondered whether your church should adopt this solution or one of its competitors. Whether your church is new to online giving or seeking to upgrade your current system, it’s worth putting in the research to understand how Pushpay stacks up compared to the alternatives.
To help you gain a more complete view of your church giving platform options before you make the best selection for your congregation, let’s take a look at some of the most important features of Pushpay and its competitors. We’ll discuss:
Let’s begin with an overview of the benefits and drawbacks of this online giving solution and then explore your other choices.
1. Pros and Cons of Pushpay
Pushpay encourages giving by providing members with several convenient ways to make their contributions, largely focusing on simplicity and mobile giving.
Pushpay’s notable features include:
- A Church App. Pushpay facilitates giving that occurs outside of weekly services through a church app that you can use to alert members to giving opportunities.
However, your givers can’t complete their gift inside the app and will be redirected to the Pushpay website to complete their gift. The app only engages the folks in your congregation who are already the most engaged. And lifestyle app usage has seen a massive decline, so it’s unlikely to be the answer to your mobile engagement and generosity needs.
- Simplicity. Pushpay claims to make church finance simple.
Unfortunately, Pushpay’s definition of simplicity includes adding an unnecessary step for givers by requiring them to choose their campus in order to give. Then they are required to create an account (unless they happen upon the virtually hidden link that will take them to guest check-out). Either way, givers will be directed from your website to the Pushpay website to complete their gift, which is the most-cited reason for charitable gifts to be abandoned before completion.
When it comes to ministry designations, Pushpay does offer simplicity: Givers can choose from a simple, text-based dropdown list of funds. However, there is no option for presenting ministry opportunities with rich-media imagery, video and descriptions to inspire them to greater generosity.
Simple is only better when it’s easier, more secure and more inspiring.
- Customized thank you messages. Your church can personalize your thank-you messages to indicate the specific programs your members contributed to in-app.
This benefit is overshadowed by the fact that these email acknowledgments will come from DO NOT REPLY@pushpay.com instead of your church, which can alarm and confuse your givers. You will not have the ability to use your data or rich media to customize your emails to address giving milestones or history, or encourage givers to further explore ministry opportunities they’ve shown an interest in.
- Offline Giving and the Back-Office. Pushpay enables offline giving with a version of check and cash envelope scanning.
This is not a seamless process. You may find yourself scanning checks multiple times, manually splitting gifts, or entering information like amounts, the MICR, and profile IDs by hand. Velocity and batch size limits will delay receipt of your funds.
- Church Management Integration. Pushpay enables integrations with some popular church management systems.
The problem? The limitations to Pushpay’s data syncing results in more work for your staff than you might expect. By pushing data into your systems without smart matching, you can expect duplicates and time-intensive manual gift entry as you struggle to reconcile batched amounts against specific gift amounts. Pushpay’s accounting integrations are managed via CSV file export.
Pushpay is also one of the most expensive systems, because of its monthly contract and other fees. If you’re looking for a more robust church giving system, these challenges may make Pushpay a poor fit for your church.
2. Our Favorite PushPay Alternative: Vision2
Vision2 is a church giving platform designed to save both your members and your staff time through multiple easy-to-use giving options and back-office automation. Comprehensive and highly customizable to suit your church’s needs, Vision2 supports all online and traditional giving methods.
Using Vision2, members can choose to make their gifts multiple giving channels:
- Your church’s website. Vision2’s patented technology allows you to securely embed your giving form on your website so that givers can complete their gift right on your giving page.
- Their smartphones. A mobile-responsive giving page allows members to access the same informative and easy-to-use giving page on their phones or their computers, at any time and from any place.
- Text-to-give and Text-to-Pledge. An excellent giving option for after services or during church events, text-to-give allows members to make their contributions simply by texting a keyword to a number assigned to your church and then following the prompts to complete their gifts. The entire process is branded with your church’s name and logo, addresses the giver by name, and includes the ability to choose a ministry designation.
- Cash and check. Some of your members still use these traditional giving methods and closely associate them with the meaning of the gift itself. Vision2’s best-in-class check scanning and processing features and cash envelope scanning features make it easy for your team to process these gifts and preserve the contributor’s intent. No more manual entry, manually splitting gifts or scanning multiple times.
No matter which giving method they choose to use, your members will be able to:
- Set flexible recurring giving schedules. Recurring gifts lay the foundation for the growth of your church community. Members can login to their self-service portals to set their fully customizable recurring giving options.
- Browse and search through ministry opportunities that demonstrate the impact of their gift. Your giving form can contain an unlimited number of rich-media giving opportunities displayed with imagery, descriptions, and video to provide members with more information on each of your ministries or programs.
- Receive customized acknowledgments from your church. Your church values each of your members and wants to acknowledge their individual reasons for supporting your good work. Where giving solutions like Pushpay send Pushpay-branded acknowledgments, Vision2 remains invisible to your givers and enables you to build a real relationship with givers with personalized, targeted messages around giving milestones or behavior.
Back Office Features
Vision2’s features make contribution management just as easy for your team as giving is for your members.
Vision2 offers your church:
- Smart Campus Giving. Set and track giving by campus automatically without restricting funds or requiring givers to choose a campus as the first step of giving.
- White-Glove Service. If you have trouble reconciling, creating content for your giving page, or anything else, Vision2 will step in to help. A real person is only minutes away, and, as a processor with full visibility to the bank, Vision2 will always be able to answer even the trickiest payment-related questions.
- Secure and Streamlined Contribution Management. Level 1 PCI compliance and full bank reconciliation ensure that your members’ giving experience is secure and that contributions are never lost, misplaced, or otherwise unaccounted for. Vision2’s excellent financial management features make it a comprehensive standalone system for all gift processing.
- Comprehensive Data Management & Integration. Integrations with many of the most popular accounting software solutions and church management systems allow all of your financial transactions, member information, and other essential data to stay organized and updated.
Identify giving patterns and gather information about your members’ preferences, all within a highly secure system that keeps member data protected. Deduplication and automatic bi-directional syncing features ensure that the information changed in one system is always reflected in the other.
Other features that your church is likely to look for in a comprehensive church online giving solution include true reconciliation, fully automated management of every donation from start to finish (because Vision2 manages bank tests, NSFs and chargebacks), and much more.
3. Other Pushpay Competitors
Planning Center Giving
Planning Center Giving is a popular church online giving platform that you may have come across in your initial research. It is part of the larger Planning Center suite of church management software solutions.
Planning Center Giving’s membership management tools are more robust than Pushpay’s, helping your church gather, organize, and store additional member information beyond giving histories.
Planning Center Giving’s useful features include:
- A member directory and member portals
- Multiple ways for members to give
- Useful reports and statements
Information entered into Planning Center Giving syncs with other Planning Center modules your church opts to use. New users may find the Giving module difficult to navigate and lacking in some features, but it may be a good option for churches that already use Planning Center as their church management solution.
Simple Donation is a church giving software option focused on simplicity. This solution offers basic forms, text giving and a host of other capabilities through Zapier.
We like Simple Donation’s identity as a no-frills solution for your church. Their focus on exclusively handling processing provides a different path forward than many of the other solutions listed.
Some of Simple Donation’s best features include:
- A simple interface that members will find easy to use
- A unique suite of integrations
- Helpful customer support
While Simple Donation has customizable giving forms, its other features are limited and church staff will have to do much of the legwork to build around it.
MyWell offers a simplified solution for your church. We appreciate their mission as a non-profit to pass savings on to the church.
We like MyWell’s commitment to partner with churches, especially its contract-free approach which empowers the church to leave anytime. MyWell can connect to custom solutions through its API, should you have one.
Some of MyWell’s best features include:
- Text Giving
- ACH Support
- At cost processing.
MyWell’s two major drawbacks are that it does not support offline giving and that your church will have to build around it. If your church is already wrestling with its other custom systems like RockRMS, this solution may not be the right one for you. If you’ve built your own custom solution, it may be a good option.
offers online payment processing solutions to a wide variety of organizations, including churches, businesses, educational institutions, and nonprofits. GivePlus, Vanco’s faith-based solution, offers online, mobile, and kiosk-based giving.
We like the Vanco GivePlus card reader, which your team can easily plug into their smartphone to collect one-time gifts whenever members are gathered together in person.
Some of Vanco GivePlus’s best features include:
- Notifications to your church’s staff when gifts are received.
- Ability to deactivate and reactivate giving accounts.
- An option for members to give directly from their bank accounts.
Vanco’s plans are customizable, meaning that the basic plan does not come with all the giving methods enabled and your church will have to add on text-to-give, kiosks, and card readers. However, it is a flexible and multifaceted solution.
Realm by ACS Technologies is a cloud-based church management solution that offers giving as one of its features. Realm’s design is intended to save your staff time in every aspect of church management.
We like Realm’s reporting features, which track completed as well as pledged gifts. This helps facilitate the creation of statements to send to members at the end of the year.
Some of Realm’s best features include:
- Adaptability to churches of any size.
- Member management tools.
- Communication features.
Realm offers multiple plans; some features are not included with the basic plan. Realm’s member-facing tools are much more limited than back-office tools, but they do feature an intuitive design and a positive user experience.
Choosing the right giving software system for your church requires careful consideration of your members’ needs, along with plenty of research. The right church giving software is the solution that gives your members the most options and makes the process most efficient for your team so that your church can focus on serving your community and expanding your mission.
To help you make the best decision for your church when it comes to choosing an online giving platform, we’ve compiled a list of additional resources that you can consult for more information:
- Payment Processing and Merchant Services for Churches. Sound financial management is an essential component of any church giving software solution you may select. Learn the features to look for with the help of Vision2’s guide.
- Funds2Orgs’ Church Fundraising Ideas: 25+ New Ways To Fund Your Ministry. Fundraising events are a great way to get the members of your church involved and motivated to give. Check out Funds2Orgs’ list for some creative ideas.
- 5 Best Practices for Online Tithing at Your Church. Once you have a church online giving system in place, encourage your members to make the most of it with these helpful tips from Vision2.