Here’s the final part of this two part series. If you missed the first part please read it here.

Let’s compare two Software packages (A & B) and explain what Feature Cost may look like. 1.) Software A cost $500 and the church verified that it can do 90 desired features. 2.) Software B cost $2500 and you verified it does 110 features. The inclination would be to go with the one that has more features (Software B) but at what cost? For Software A the Feature Cost is $5.55/feature ($500/90 features = $5.55). Using the same equation for Software B, the per feature cost is $22.72 (2500/110 = $22.72).

Using the feature cost as a decision-making tool — Are those extra 20 features worth spending 4 times as much for the software? In some cases it may, but I would believe that those extra 20 features are what I call fluff features. The church’s leadership should take a hard look at those features and internal processes for their importance. Another consideration is that the better valued software may still be able accomplish the task, but it isn’t as easy – so to speak. For example, maybe you have to look at two reports instead of one to get the data that you want.

Rarely does church software provide every feature you need. As you are making your list of features, you should verify each feature by seeing a demo, then mark it off the list. This gives a total number of features that the software can provide based on the church’s needs. At this point you could weigh each feature but sometimes that skews results. I like to know each scenario – 1.) the weighted numbers and 2.) a separate list with each feature carrying the same weight. Why? It gives me a more complete picture as shown in the example below.

Many church software packages don’t have a church accounting fund module, unlike IconCMO. Fund accounting is an essential part of maintaining any ministry because without, the ministry could end up closing their doors. Church systems that provide fund accounting provide more value than non-fund accounting systems. In a weighted scenario (1) church leadership may not deem church accounting important at all, thus making fund accounting packages appear less valued. In scenario (2), packages with fund accounting are treated equally. As a church leader I want to know both.

Does church software have dramatic price difference between software providers? Absolutely! There’s church software that cost $300.00 up to $10,000+ or more a year, with similar feature sets. It comes down to what the church needs or willing forgoes, and at what price are they willing to pay for features that they may not need. When evaluating software, value is more important then price.

Generally speaking, a software package that has all the basics covered with the lowest cost per feature, is a more valuable product.

– From Icon Systems