What is one deadly fundraising mistake that churches make?
Whether for a capital building campaign or mission funding or other need, one mistake that churches, its pastors, and leadership boards make is:
UNDEVELOPED VISION. "Without a vision, the people perish."
A visioning retreat will clarify your core spiritual values and generate pastoral and programmatic goals.
God blessed the work and stewardship of the pioneers who began your congregation. A visioning retreat
- or taking time to establish goals, create a specific action plan, and be renewed in the church's ability to realize its dreams and mission
- provides a constructive place to pray, perceive, and truly prepare to strive for goals that are in tune with your church's core spiritual values.
Don't let undeveloped vision impede your church's progress toward embracing the future to which God may be calling your church, its leadership and its congregation.
Bountiful Harvest Consulting
SUBMITTED BY Dick Trotter, consultant, on July 27, 2009 at 11:12am
Editorís note: THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WAS ORGINALLY WRITTEN AND POSTED ON
The bad times are worse.
A National Association of Church Business Administration (NACBA) recent survey found more churches struggling in the economic downturn. In 2008, fourteen percent of survey respondents said their church was definitely having economy-related financial difficulties. In 2009, that number rose to 32 percent. Not surprisingly, more congregations are looking for ways to cut their budgets. Some have frozen or reduced staff benefits; others have had staff layoffs; and others are postponing a major capital project.
Funding programs and ministries that have little, if anything, to do with a church's primary mission and vision can unnecessarily strain both financial resources and human resources. It can also lead to a decline as congregants realize that rather than paying for progress in the churchís mission to make disciples, they are funding an organization. Some are also simply increasing the budget, despite a downturn in giving, under the mistaken assumption that people will rise to the occasion and make up for the previous deficit with newfound generosity.
Before developing a budget, churches must first identify their core values, their mission, their vision steering them in a particular direction, and the strategy to accomplish their mission. The largest single budget item for any church is its staff. Paid ministry personnel eat up the largest share of a churchís funds. According to Your Church
magazine, on average, salaries and wages comprise 38 percent of church operating budgets. Are there ways to slim down this budget category without layoffs?
Larger churches naturally require larger staffs. Reports show that once a church reaches an attendance of 500 with 2-3 staff members, a new ministry staff position can be justified for every additional 100 congregation members, even if the church doesnít have the money for it. This can create a great burden on large churches, because unless you have a wealthy congregation, you canít add staff as fast as you need to.
The answer lies in a competent volunteer recruitment, support, and deployment program. A large and growing church must learn to depend more on lay ministry. This means more decision making is left up to the staff, while more basic pastoral ministry, as well as shepherding, teaching, and discipling, is in the hands of volunteers. Cutting a staff member in a smaller church may mean that a particular part of ministry will cease to exist. Cutting a staff member in a larger church may mean renewed emphasis on training lay leaders.
Cutting travel expenses, education, and conferences is a step some churches and ministry organizations have taken this year as they try to make ends meet. A lot of large church budget items can be cut before leaders are forced to cut staff. You may also have a hiring freeze, or even a retirement fund matching program freeze. Others have found some success encouraging staff members who can to shift to part-time, and moving five-day-a-week workers to a four-day week.
Others say that bonuses, pay increases, ministry budgets, and flexible expenses should be cut first. Capital spending should be reduced. If the budget adjustments must result in loss of personnel, itís crazy to leave in money for new Christmas decorations at the expense of a personís livelihood. Personnel should be the last cut on the list, because when you make those cuts, theyíre going to leave wounds.
Still others have said there is one budget item that should not be cutóespecially in a time of financial struggle for more people than usual ó the benevolence fund. Instead, churches should encourage more giving in this specific area. Consider special offerings with the proceeds going to families in need in the church and surrounding communities.