If the words “church budget” make you feel queasy, you’re not alone. Shrinking budgets seem to be the status quo for most churches. Churches feel torn between the desire to give generously to the spread of the gospel and the poor, while at the same time needing to provide for their own support. Although there is no easy solution to dire financial concerns, here are ten budget tips we can offer.
Sharefaith’s church solutions are primarily in the realm of media and web tools. Thus, some of the following tips will provide insight into these areas.
1. Clearly define your mission and vision. Spend accordingly.
It may seem out of place to discuss “mission and vision” in an article on budget tips. However, the way in which a church spends its money is inextricably connected with its mission. Christian financial advisor Dave Ramsey counsels church leaders to make sure that the “church budget’s priorities reflect the church mission statement.” Before you even open your books, take a look at your mission. Then, make all your church budget decisions in line with that mission.
2. Save money.
Some may object to the church saving money. “Give it all away! Live by faith!” they declare. Such faith-based living is to be encouraged, but not to the extent of foolhardy financial mismanagement. Saving money will help the church to continue thriving, even if it takes a major financial hit. Saving money allows a church to give to people in their time of need. Although things may be tight, set aside money to save.
3. Be generous.
A church should not preach financial generosity, yet practice monetary stinginess. Though your finances are tight, make sure you are giving generously to your pastor, to your staff members, to your ministries, and to your missionaries. A Scrooge-like church denies in practice what it preaches in theory.
4. Launch online tithing.
Churches that use online tithing see an immediate increase in giving. Typical church offerings increase by 12% after just two months of online tithing. Some churches accept 90% of their tithes and offering via online giving. Online giving makes sense. Doing so is no less an act of worship than writing a check and placing it in an offering plate. Providing a means of giving that is easy, secure, trustworthy, and convenient will help to improve the regularity of your church members’ giving. Sharefaith’s award winning top church websites allow online tithing for no additional cost.
5. Use predesigned church media templates.
One of the ways that Sharefaith helps churches save money is by providing professional predesigned media templates for church media such as PowerPoints, videos, bulletins, flyers, and newsletters. These powerful tools save hundreds of hours of time, and reduce the need to hire a designer or to purchase items from pay-per-download sites. The cost savings is enormous.
6. Choose yearly or monthly payment plans, as opposed to pay-as-you-go purchases.
Many companies allow you to make a yearly or monthly lump payment as opposed to pay-as-you-go plans, often offering big discounts when doing so. Find out what recurring payments you make that could be consolidated into yearly payments. Yearly plans almost always have a significant discount. Sharefaith now provides four brand new membership plans to fit any church need, size or budget.
7. Close down extraneous advertising costs.
Gone are the days of advertising in traditional avenues such as the phonebook or newspaper. If you are still making advertising payments to these sources, it’s probably time to stop. Instead, the solution to advertising your church is the Internet. A church website and social media engagement will help your church gain more exposure, and will do so in a cost effective way. Speaking of your church website and extraneous costs, you may want to find out how much you’re paying for hosting. Some church websites charge outrageous hosting and maintenance fees, as high as $500/month. If you’re paying more than $75 monthly for your church website, you’re probably paying too much.
8. Less print. More projection.
A huge source of savings for many churches is using media projection in lieu of printed products. Let’s take the example of church hymnals. Hymnals are expensive, and many churches buy dozens of not hundreds of these books. Due to wear and tear, hymnals must be regularly replaced. Consider, by contrast, the one-time purchase of a projector, a service such as Sharefaith, and worship media software like ExaltNow. Instantly, you save hundreds of dollars, plus you can unleash the power of worship videos and backgrounds. Projecting sermon notes, worship lyrics, announcements, and other information on the screen is a far more effective and inexpensive means.
9. Save money on your church website.
We’ve already mentioned church websites, but the point bears repeating. You don’t need to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a church website. I’ve spoken with church leaders who have sacrificed $15,000 to $20,000 for their website. It hurts to hear that. A church can have a high-quality website with all the bells and whistles for a fraction of that cost. Sharefaith’s church website solution is likely the most powerful church web solution for the lowest cost that you’ll find anywhere.
10. Be blessed by volunteers.
Welcome volunteer work. Many people in your church may not be able to increase their financial contribution, but they can volunteer their time, talents, and abilities to the church. Whether it’s mowing the lawn, vacuuming the foyer, or designing PowerPoint sermon slides, volunteers can make a huge difference in the life of a church. Rather than depending on hired help, consider recruiting volunteer helpers. (Consider Sharefaith’s article on the use of volunteers in church.)
Finally, pray. As cliché as it sounds, give your financial concerns to God in prayer. He is more concerned about the budget of your church than you are. Trust, obey, and watch Him carry out his will in a way that will surprise and encourage you.