Online giving software is the present and future of church giving. These easy-to-use systems provide your members with plenty of opportunities to make their gifts according to their individual preferences and contribute whenever and wherever they’re motivated to do so.
If you’re familiar with church giving software, you may have heard about Pushpay and are wondering 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:
If you’re new to the world of church online giving options, you may be considering Pushpay because it’s one of the most commonly encountered options. Let’s begin with an overview of the benefits and drawbacks of this solution and then explore your other choices.
1. Pros and Cons of Pushpay
Pushpay and its alternatives in the field of church giving software are intended to encourage giving by providing members with several convenient ways to make their contributions. Pushpay largely focuses on simplicity and mobile giving, which are important parts of an effective overall church giving strategy.
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, you’re unable to complete your gift inside the app and will always be shelled out to the web to complete a gift, and are really only engaging the folks in your congregation who are already the most engaged. Lifestyle app usage has seen a massive decline, so it’s unlikely that an app will be the answer to your mobile engagement and generosity needs.
- Simplicity. Pushpay touts its straightforward implementation process and giving experience. On implementation, your entire congregation is told simply to recreate all of their existing recurring gifts, and it’s your Pastor’s responsibility to speak about giving and Pushpay for 5 consecutive weeks after the switch. Recreating recurring schedules is something we’d obviously love to avoid if possible.
- Customized thank you messages. Your church can personalize your thank you messages to indicate the specific programs your members contributed to in-app, but email acknowledgments come from Pushpay instead of your church, which can make building a relationship with your congregation more difficult.
While Pushpay does offer an app and mobile giving tools, it is less robust when it comes to other features that your church is likely to look for in a comprehensive church online giving solution. Drawbacks to Pushpay include:
- Offline Giving and the Back-Office. Check and Cash Envelope Scanning with Pushpay 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 ID’s by hand. Profitstars and Jack Henry also have velocity & batch size limits, which at best will delay your reporting on offline giving.
- Limited recurring gift options. Recurring giving is a common practice among church members and essential to growing your church community. While Pushpay allows members to set recurring gift options, they choose from preset options rather than create their own fully customizable schedule.
- Integration challenges. Pushpay’s integrations with popular Church Management and Accounting systems leave much to be desired. By pushing data into your systems without smart matching, you can expect plenty of duplicates and time-intensive manual gift entry. The limited nature of Pushpay’s integration will result in more work for your church’s staff.
If you’re looking for a more multifaceted church giving system as an alternative to Pushpay, you may want to compare it to competitors such as Vision2.
2. Our Favorite PushPay Alternative: Vision2
Vision2 is a church giving platform designed to grow giving by saving 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 via:
- Your church’s website. Fully customizable giving pages that features your church’s familiar branding elements ensures that your members will have a trustworthy giving experience. You can also use your giving page to provide members with more information on each of the ministries or programs you’re gathering contributions for.
- Their smartphones. A mobile-responsive giving page is essential at a time when most of us are spending a significant portion of each day on our phones. Members can access the same informative and easy-to-use giving page on their phones or their computers, allowing them to give 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.
- Cash and check. Many of your members are accustomed to using these traditional giving methods and closely associate these methods of contribution 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.
When your members have multiple giving options that are equally easy to use, they’ll be able to find the ones they prefer and will be encouraged to continue giving as a result.
Why We Love It
Vision2 is designed with the specific needs of churches in mind. This means that whenever your members make contributions using their favorite giving methods, the focus always remains on your church’s mission. Church-specific features ensure that members always know exactly where their gifts are headed, and often don’t need to recreate recurring gifts during implementation.
No matter which giving method they choose to use, your members will be able to:
- Set recurring giving options. Recurring gifts lay the foundation for the growth of your church community. Members can log into their self-service portals to set their fully customizable recurring giving options so they can be assured of their continued support.
- Smart Campus Giving. Large churches often have multiple locations, and your members will likely want to contribute to the particular campus at which they worship. Smart Campus Giving allows for setting and tracking giving by campus without restricting funds.
- Receive 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 your church to build a real relationship with them.
Vision2’s church online giving platform engages members in the ministries and programs they care most about and encourages recurring giving.
When your members can give according to their preferences, they’ll be motivated to continue their support for your church community. Vision2’s features make contribution management just as easy for your team as giving is for your members.
Vision2 offers your church:
- 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 (like Stripe) 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 syncing features ensure that the information changed in one system is always reflected in the other.
Vision2’s church online giving solution has a lot to offer both your members and your team. Keep reading to learn more about other noteworthy Pushpay competitors.
3. Other Pushpay Competitors
Planning Center Giving
Planning Center Giving is another popular church online giving platform that you may have come across in your initial research. Planning Center Giving is part of the larger Planning Center suite of church management software solutions.
We like Planning Center Giving’s membership management tools, which are more robust than Pushpay’s, because Planning Center helps 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 if your church is using them. While users unfamiliar with Planning Center’s other offerings may find the Giving module difficult to navigate and lacking in some features, it may be a good option for churches already using 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 compared to 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 to a certain extent, its other features are limited and church staff will have to do much of the legwork to build around it.
MyWell, like Simple Donation, 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, as with Vision2. 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 is 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.
Vanco Payments 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 a member of your church’s 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 that can offer something for everyone in your congregation.
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 church’s 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.
Like Vanco’s GivePlus, Realm offers multiple plans and some features are not included with the basic plan. Realm’s member-facing tools are much more limited than those that your church’s staff uses, 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.