5 Money Moves For a Tight Church Budget

Written by Kristen Calicott on May 25, 2021 in Finance Management

Read Time: 4 minutes

As a bookkeeper, I deal with numbers all day, every day. There is a comfort in them, providing a look into what the churches and ministries I serve are doing daily. The numbers become a portrait of things that are happening in their building and community.

Lately, I've seen the numbers dwindle as pastors and leaders work through smaller budgets and try to eliminate any excess to provide for daily necessities. But what if there were ways to help ease the stress of finances so you could focus on your mission?

1. Create or Review Your Current Budget

The first step is always to see what you have and what needs to be done with it. Be it personal, business, or organizational, this is a great place to start when trying to get a look at the whole financial picture.

Budgeting tells you what direction your organization is going in and protects your board of directors. It's your guide to where to focus those funds and exposes weak areas where you might need to rethink either investment or goals.

Start by reviewing your previous year's budget, if you have one. If not, pull financial reports and get a reasonable estimate of what was spent and why. If you weren't before, start using the proper expense reports and forms to determine any excess spending. Review it monthly to make sure that you are staying on track, and see where you can lower any fixed costs, like utilities. 

Related blog: How to Create a Budget For Your Ministry

2. Let an Expert Sort it Out

If this is too much for you to do alone, or if you're not sure where to start, hiring a bookkeeper that is experienced with nonprofits and religious organizations can be worth the investment. By tracking your expenses and income and generating financial reports, this type of expert can be truly helpful in getting a clear picture of the organization's finances.

Bookkeepers sort and categorize every single transaction to make things easier for you. Hiring someone to do this for you can reduce your stress and let you focus on your ministry instead of watching numbers and praying that it makes sense. Our experienced bookkeepers will help you succeed with your finances. Please reach out to us at 877-494-4655 or visit the link below to connect with us on your schedule.

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3. Meet People Where They Are

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it's that God will use anything to reach His people. From daily mistakes to worldwide lockdowns, He will teach us new ways to guide His sheep back to the fold.

One of these is the ease and accessibility of online services. The fact that anyone can find a church from the comfort of their living room, and get acquainted with their new family over a screen before walking into an actual building, is such a wonderful thing.

Taking full advantage of reaching people where they are can impact so many communities and lives. A community that has never been to church can be drawn in to hear about His unending grace and love doesn't just depend on the right marketing strategy and whether parents can overcome social anxieties to be welcomed. How amazing is that?

The products that were available to larger churches in the world of live-streaming and social media are now a viable option for churches and ministries of every size and any location! So many are seeing regular attendees from across the country that they are continuing online services even after restrictions have been lifted, and those that are still practicing social distancing don't feel left out.

4. Start Fundraising

Fundraising is an important part of any organization. Tithes and offerings are the lifeblood from which the mission comes to fruition, and when they take a dive, it can be hard to recover. Fundraising can help supplement income in low seasons, and it's generally pretty simple to begin a fundraising campaign if you know where to start.

Make sure to provide enough avenues for your community to donate or purchase through. This can be accepting cash or using online platforms such as Stripe or Square. Making your organization flexible helps when a majority of the country uses electronic forms of payment.

According to Internal Revenue Code (IRC) § 513(a)(3), "[T]he selling of merchandise, substantially all of which has been received by the organization as gifts or contributions," is not subject to unrelated business income tax.

Therefore, whatever the thrift store receives from the sale of donated items is tax-exempt income a church can receive. Selling drinks and meals before and after services or operating a bookstore or coffee shop can also be an easy way to generate revenue.

5. Establish a For-Profit Arm

Essentially, a for-profit arm is a ministry-owned business that is established to make tax-free money paid as donations and dividends to the church.

When it comes to establishing a for-profit arm for your church or ministry, the possibilities for revenue are endless! With a for-profit arm, your church or ministry can:

  • Generate real income in the form of tax-free dividends
  • Create job opportunities for members of the community
  • Financially thrive without having to solely rely on tithes and offerings

With so many ways to supplement your organization and provide amazing contributions like jobs and accessibility to your community, it's hard to believe that some of these options were unheard of before the pandemic! But God uses every opportunity to reach and meet us where we are in our lives, and that is the easiest part to believe.

If you are interested in starting a For-Profit Arm to benefit your community, do not hesitate to call us at 877-494-4655 or simply check out the link below for more information.

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Take the First Step Today

If you are realizing you have some work to do on your church or ministry budget, don't worry! You can start taking the right steps today using the tips above. Just imagine your end-goals: sleeping better at night knowing that your finances are well-managed; finally getting back to doing what you love; having more money for ministry! These are more than just pipe dreams. It's all possible for you!

If you'd like assistance with church bookkeeping, starting a for-profit arm, or anything else, we would love to help you. Please call us at 877-494-4655 or click the link below to schedule a call at your convenience.

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Please feel free to comment. We always appreciate good dialogue. However, we do moderate each comment to ensure that it is on topic and not derogatory to other participants. We ask that you keep your comments brief and pertinent to the topic so that others may benefit.

Blessings,
Raul Rivera


And receive Book 1 of our Grow Trilogy FREE today! This series gives you the strategies you need to get started growing your church plant today!