The 8 Best Accounting Software for Nonprofits in 2021

Business.org looked at dozens of nonprofit budget software providers, ranking them by their ease of use, nonprofit-specific features, bookkeeping and budgeting features, and pricing. Here are our 8 best picks.
Best overall
Sage
Sage Intacct
4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1
Contact for quote
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Nonprofit-specific features
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Nonprofit budgeting
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Third-party nonprofit app integration
Best nonprofit-specific software
aplos logo
Aplos
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
Starting from
$59.00/mo.
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Nonprofit-specific software
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Nonprofit budgeting
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Donor management
Most user-friendly
Quickbooks
QuickBooks Online
3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9
Starting from
$70.00/mo.
  • Icon Cons  Dark
    Limited nonprofit features
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Nonprofit budgeting
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Donor management
Most scalable
Logo for nonprofit plus
Nonprofit Plus
3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9
Contact for quote
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Nonprofit-specific software
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Nonprofit budgeting
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Donor management
Best automation
Zoho
Zoho Books
3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6
Starting from
$15.00/mo.*
  • Icon Cons  Dark
    Limited nonprofit features
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Nonprofit budgeting
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Donor management

Data as of 6/18/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*When billed annually

The bottom line: Looking for cloud-based nonprofit accounting software to manage your church, volunteer organization, or other nonprofit? Our top recommendation is Sage Intacct, a comprehensive financial management solution built for nonprofits. But Sage Intacct is just one of many solid bookkeeping options for nonprofits like yours, so take a look at our top picks below to find the right one for you.

The best accounting software for nonprofits in 2021

Best nonprofit accounting software 2021

Brand name
Starting price
Fund accounting
Free trial
Learn more
Sage

Sage Intacct

Contact for quote
Icon Yes  DarkYes
30 days
aplos logo

Aplos

$59.00/mo.
Icon Yes  DarkYes
15 days
Quickbooks

QuickBooks Online

$70.00/mo.
Icon Yes  DarkYes
30 days
Logo for nonprofit plus

NonProfitPlus

Contact for quote
Icon Yes  DarkYes
None
Zoho

Zoho Books

$15.00/mo.*
Icon Yes  DarkYes
14 days

Data as of 6/18/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*When billed annually

What should you look for in nonprofit bookkeeping software?

The best accounting software for nonprofits should offer nonprofit-specific features like fund-based accounting, donation tracking, and Form 990 generation. You should also consider software with solid accounting features. For nonprofits, that often means basic financial reports (including donor- and board-facing financial reports), a chart of accounts to help you track finances, and basic budgeting to keep your nonprofit up and running.

And depending on the type of nonprofit you run, you might also need specific add-ons. If you’re juggling hundreds or thousands of donors, you might need accounting software with customer relationship management (CRM). If you have a large staff, you need software that integrates with HR and payroll options, And, of course, pricing is also a factor: nonprofit software runs the gamut from completely free to thousands of dollars a month.

Make sure to consider your nonprofit’s unique needs while evaluating the software we review below. And if you’re looking for other nonprofit resources, we have you covered:

Sage Intacct: Best overall

Best overall nonprofit software
Sage
Sage Intacct
4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1
  • X
    Contact for quote
  • Check
    Fund accounting
  • Check
    Support for multiple locations and currencies
  • Check
    Donation tracking and dues management

Sage Intacct sets a high standard for what nonprofit organizers should expect from their fund accounting software. Along with typical accounting features like bank reconciliation, the software has a host of nonprofit-specific tools:

  • Donation tracking
  • Fundraising, membership, and dues management
  • Multi-currency support (for international donations)
  • Nonprofit-specific financial reports, including budgeting and forecasting
  • Task automation to reduce redundant data entry

Sage Intacct also offers free seminars to help nonprofit organizers get off the ground, which is particularly useful for nonprofits struggling to make ends meet after COVID-19. And on the review site TrustRadius, Sage Intacct gets 8.6 stars out of 101 with customers indicating they’re happy with Sage’s fast customer service response time.

However, Sage Intacct is definitely on the pricy end of the nonprofit software spectrum. (Pricing isn’t listed on the site, so you’ll need to contact Sage Intacct for a quote.) If you’re just launching a nonprofit, Sage Intacct probably isn’t right for you—it works better for established national or international nonprofits with multiple locations and a large staff.

Aplos: Best nonprofit-specific

Best nonprofit-specific accounting software
aplos logo
Aplos
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
  • Starting at $59.00/mo.
  • Check
    Fund accounting
  • X
    Limited multi-currency support
  • Check
    Donation tracking and support

Data as of 6/18/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Aplos’s software has been nonprofit and church-specific since day one. It's grounded in fund-based accounting, so you don't need to customize your software's built-in general ledger for nonprofit-specific accounting needs. Aplos Suite, which starts at $59 a month, includes a full range of features that work for nonprofit and church accounting alike:

  • Donor management (CRM software)
  • Automated donation receipts, thank-you emails, and donation reminders
  • Fundraising campaign management
  • Secure online donor portal
  • 1099, 990-N, and 990-EZ tax form preparation

If you’re interested in text-to-donate capabilities, you can upgrade to Aplos Suite + Text to Give at $79 a month. And if you own a larger nonprofit with multiple ongoing projects, Aplos’s customized solutions start at $154 a month.

Unfortunately, while Aplos’s nonprofit features stand out, its accounting features are more limited. Only the customized plan includes in-depth income and expense tracking, budgeting by project or fund, asset tracking, and recurring transactions.

QuickBooks Online for Nonprofits: Most user-friendly

Most user-friendly software
Quickbooks
QuickBooks Online
3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9
  • Starting at $70.00/mo.
  • Check
    Fund accounting
  • Check
    Multi-currency and multiple user support
  • Check
    Donation tracking and reports

Data as of 6/18/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

QuickBooks Online for Nonprofits offers more thorough nonprofit bookkeeping than many options on our list, with features like income and expense tracking, tax deduction assistance, receipt capturing and organization, bill payment, and inventory tracking. It also has nonprofit-specific financial features that even some nonprofit-specific software lack. (For instance, unlike Aplos, QuickBooks’s cloud-based nonprofit plans let you break down budgets by program or fund.)

Since QuickBooks was also made for non-accountants, it’s easy for first-time nonprofit bookkeepers to get a handle on nonprofit finances. Plus, QuickBooks’s mobile accounting app is at least as user-friendly as its software—so if you plan to do a lot of on-the-go donor management or financial tracking, QuickBooks is one of your best options.

What is QuickBooks Enterprise for Nonprofits?

QuickBooks Enterprise Nonprofit is a desktop-based bookkeeping product that starts at $1,275 a year. QuickBooks Desktop lets you store more donors than the cloud-based software does, and it includes in-depth industry-specific reports that QuickBooks Online lacks. Check out our piece comparing QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online to find out if QuickBooks Enterprise meets your needs.

But even with its extensive accounting features, QuickBooks’s nonprofit software still doesn’t have as many nonprofit-specific features as Sage Intacct and Aplos. It’s also on the pricier end of accounting software that wasn’t built for nonprofits. If you’re trying to balance a nonprofit budget on, well, a budget, Xero, Zoho Books, and FreshBooks are cheaper options, and Wave Accounting is completely free.

NonProfitPlus: Most scalable

Most scalable accounting software
Logo for nonprofit plus
NonProfitPlus
3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9
  • Contact for quote
  • Check
    Fund and encumbrance accounting
  • Check
    Multicurrency and multiple user support
  • Check
    Donation tracking and reports

NonProfitPlus’s accounting package includes donor management, board management, and unlimited users for easier delegation. It also offers both fund-based and encumbrance accounting, which makes for easier budget tracking. With so many features, NonProfitPlus is super scalable: as your organization grows, more NonProfitPlus features (for instance, delegation and time tracking) become relevant.

Unlike most software for nonprofits, NonProfitPlus includes inventory management, which is crucial if you stock merchandise (like T-shirts and mugs) to raise money or reward donors. On the other hand, NonProfitPlus doesn't list any pricing on its site—as with Sage Intacct, you have to get in touch with a representative for a quote. Customers report paying more than $600 a month for NonProfitPlus's full suite of features, so if you're looking for affordable nonprofit software, NonProfitPlus probably isn't it.

Zoho Books: Best automation

Best automation
Zoho
Zoho Books
3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6
  • Starting at $15.00/mo.* (15% off for registered nonprofits)
  • Check
    Fund and encumbrance accounting
  • Check
    Multi-currency support (pricier plans only) and multiple user support
  • Check
    Donation tracking and support

Data as of 6/18/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*When billed annually

Zoho Books’s thorough reporting features include expense reports that simplify transparency and fund tracking. Zoho Books excels at collaboration—you can delegate as many tasks as you need to other organization members. (While users are limited by plan, you can add additional users to any plan for $2.50 per month per user.) Like Sage Intacct, Zoho Books uses automated workflows to streamline data entry and consolidate redundant tasks.

But if you want to accept donations (which you undoubtedly do) you can't just sign up for Zoho Books. You also need Zoho Checkout, Zoho's payment portal. Zoho Checkout is free as long as you accept only 50 donations—ever, not per month. Clients that need unlimited donations in multiple currencies will need to add a $9-a-month Zoho Checkout plan to their existing Zoho Books plan.

Still, Zoho Books offers 15% off its starting price for registered nonprofits, which helps lighten some of the fiscal load.

Nonprofit accounting software runner-ups

Didn't find the best accounting software for nonprofits (specifically, your nonprofit) on our list above? Not to worry—there's more where those came from. See if one of these additional accounting software solutions for nonprofit treasurers and bookkeepers meets your needs.

Compare nonprofit bookkeeping features: Runners-up

Brand name
Starting price
Fund accounting
Free trial
Learn more
Oracle

Oracle NetSuite

Contact for quote
Icon Yes  DarkYes
None listed
Xero

Xero

$11.00/mo.
Icon No  DarkLimited
30 days
Blackbaud logo

Blackbaud

Contact for quote
Icon Yes  DarkYes
None listed

Data as of 6/18/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Oracle NetSuite: Runner-up

Honorable mention
Oracle
Oracle NetSuite
3 out of 5 stars
3.0
  • Contact for quote
  • Check
    Fund accounting
  • Check
    Multicurrency and multiple user support
  • Check
    Donation tracking and reports

NetSuite, which was purchased by Oracle a few years ago, offers a wide range of accounting, CRM, and ERP (enterprise resource planning) solutions for dozens of industries—including nonprofits. NetSuite's cloud-based Social Impact software includes fund accounting, inventory management, and even ecommerce support.

Unfortunately, NetSuite's site is pretty sparse, and it’s definitely on the pricier side of accounting software (third parties estimate it starts at around $499 a month). Still, since Oracle NetSuite focuses on ERP and CRM software, it’s a better fit for midsize to large nonprofits with a bigger budget for accounting.

Xero: Runner-up

Honorable mention
Xero
Xero
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
  • Starting at $11.00/mo. (25% off for registered nonprofits)
  • X
    No true fund accounting
  • Check
    Multicurrency and multiple user support
  • Check
    Donation tracking and reports

Data as of 6/18/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Xero surpasses nearly every other cloud-based accounting software solution in one key area: collaboration. While QuickBooks limits users by plan and FreshBooks charges an extra $10 per user per month, Xero includes unlimited users. So does NonProfitPlus, but Xero’s $11-a-month starting price easily beats out NonProfitPlus’s starting costs.

Xero also excels at accounting basics that can keep your nonprofit’s budget on track, including thorough financial reporting and expense tracking. Its mobile app lets you collaborate on the go, and it integrates with hundreds of third-party apps.

But Xero wasn’t built for nonprofits, so it lacks the same targeted features as Aplos, Sage Intacct, and NonProfitPlus. Most importantly, it doesn’t offer true fund-based accounting. For collaboration and fund-based accounting, NonProfitPlus is a better fit (as long as you don’t care much about pricing).

Blackbaud: Runner-up

Honorable mention
Blackbaud logo
Blackbaud
3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2
  • Contact for quote
  • Check
    Fund accounting
  • Check
    Multicurrency support
  • Check
    Donation tracking and reports

Blackbaud serves a variety of nonprofits, including faith communities and churches, arts organizations, educational institutions, and just about any other type of nonprofit you can imagine. It supports peer-to-peer fundraising, grant and award management, nonprofit marketing, and donor payment acceptance.

Blackbaud is one of the largest nonprofit software companies in the world—so why isn’t it higher on our list? Well, in 2020, Blackbaud reported that it had been hacked much earlier in the year. While the breach isn’t necessarily unusual, Blackbaud experienced the breach in February, noticed it in May, and didn't tell clients about it until July—which understandably upset a lot of customers.2

Blackbaud has upped its online security since the leak, but we’re hesitant to recommend it as highly as we might have pre-breach.

Tailored recommendation for your business

The takeaway

Sage Intacct is our favorite accounting software option for nonprofits: it has the most comprehensive features and integrates easily with many third-party apps. But the best nonprofit accounting software for you might be different. Our top alternatives include Aplos, QuickBooks Online for Nonprofits, NonProfitPlus, and Zoho Books—any one of which could meet your needs.

Finding the right software for your nonprofit helps determine its success, so make sure to snag those free trials and test-drive different options. With the right bookkeeping software on your side, you'll be able to make the most of your donations and reach people who support your cause.

Need to save money while you get your new nonprofit off the ground? Our list of the year's best free accounting software can help you keep your books in order while you plan for growth.

Related reading

Nonprofit accounting software FAQ

What is fund accounting?

Fund accounting, also known as fund-based accounting, is the accounting system nonprofits use to keep their books and track funds.

Typical small-business accounting revolves around profit—how much a company is making, spending, losing, and saving. In contrast, nonprofit accounting centers on tracking funds, including responsible oversight of fund management. Fund accounting software's primary goal is to show you and your shareholders, namely board members and donors, exactly where their money is going.

What is Form 990?

Form 990 is a tax form that tax-exempt organizations—which include most nonprofits—must submit to the IRS every year. The form details your organization and its aims, and shows where your funds came from and were distributed during the tax year. Unlike individual and small-business end-of-year tax forms, Form 990 is available for the public to view.

Is there free accounting software for nonprofits?

Unfortunately, there aren’t many free nonprofit-specific accounting software options. (Nonprofit Treasurer, our favorite free option, recently closed its doors.) If you’re looking for fully featured free accounting software, though, your best bet is Wave Accounting. It offers accounting and bookkeeping features comparable to QuickBooks Online and Xero but for exactly no dollars.

However, Wave doesn’t offer fund accounting or any other nonprofit-specific features, so we hesitate to recommend it to nonprofit bookkeepers and treasurers. The same is true of ZipBooks, SlickPie, and other free accounting software options. Most software companies offer discounts for nonprofits and charities, so we recommend talking to a customer service representative before you sign up for software—you could merit a discount you won’t get unless you talk with a real person.

Our methodology

To rank the best accounting software for nonprofits, we first considered whether the software offered nonprofit-specific features, like donation tracking and Form 990 generation. We also considered price, ease of use, data security, types of plans, and customer reviews.

Sources
1. TrustRadius, "Sage Intacct Reviews." Accessed June 18, 2021.
2. Paul Clolery, The Nonprofit Times, "The Hack of Blackbaud: Damage is Still Being Assessed," August 6, 2020. Accessed June 18, 2021.

Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Kylie McQuarrie
Written by
Kylie McQuarrie
Kylie McQuarrie has been writing for and about small businesses since 2014. Prior to writing full-time, she worked with a variety of small-business owners (from freelance writers to real-estate solopreneurs), which gave her a front-row look at small-business owners' struggles, frustrations, and successes. Currently, she’s Business.org’s accounting and payroll staff writer. Her work has been featured on SCORE.org, G2, and Fairygodboss, among others.
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