A good budget can help your ministry plan for and stay focused on its highest priorities. Two upcoming webinars are being offered by ECCU to help you budget better.
Budgeting 101 is for ministries with annual revenues up to $2 million. It will be presented from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. (PT) on August 16, 2012, and will cover:
- Different budget approaches
- The importance of aligning your budget with your mission
- Specific steps for creating, approving, and implementing a budget
- How and why to monitor budgets carefully
Vonna Laue, audit partner with CapinCrouse LLP, will present with Ingrid Robinson, founder/CEO of LenShaw Financial Services, and Mark Jones, ECCU vice president and senior banking consultant.
Advanced Budgeting, for ministries with annual revenues of more than $2 million, will go beyond the principles of basic budgeting to examine the greater complexities of budgeting for larger ministries. It will be presented from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. (PT) on August 23, 2012, and will cover:
- The importance of accurately projecting revenue and how to do it
- Why and how to align money and mission
- How to use your budget to stay on mission
Arthur Wilson, CFO of The Park Ministries (Charlotte, North Carolina), will present with Billy Burnett, executive vice president and CFO with Joni and Friends International Disability Center, and Mark Jones, ECCU vice president and senior banking consultant.
These webinars are free. You can follow this link for more information and to register.
One of many lessons ministries have learned in recent years is the importance of cash reserves—having funds available when you need them. Without adequate reserves, the pursuit of your ministry’s mission may be in jeopardy.
A free ECCU webinar recording—Cash Reserves: Why you need them. How to build them.—can help.
By watching this webinar, you can expect to learn:
- What constitutes reserves and why they’re so important for every ministry
- About the process a ministry goes through to set a cash reserves target
- About the struggles and benefits ministries have experienced as they worked to achieve their cash reserve goals
- How an ECCU member ministry builds and manages cash reserves
You’ll also have access to a broad range of financial resources, including: A white paper, online tools, articles, book recommendations, and more.
To watch this webinar recording and access the additional resources, click here.
A key benefit of ECCU membership is the opportunities it creates to network with and learn from other ministries. The upcoming webinar, Proven Ways to Increase Giving to Your Ministry, is the latest example. Many of the insights and ideas you’ll hear in the webinar came from three member ministries.
Denver Rescue Mission is changing lives in the name of Christ by meeting people at their physical and spiritual points of need, with the goal of returning them to society as productive, self-sufficient citizens. We spoke with President/CEO Brad Meuli and VP of Development Griff Fryschlag, who were more than happy to share their experience and expertise.
Water Missions International in Charleston, South Carolina, is a Christian engineering organization that provides access to safe water and sanitation to people in developing countries and areas where disaster has stricken. While doing this, they share the gospel with the people they’re serving. Megan Huffman, their development operations director, talked with us about some creative ways they go about raising the funds to cover their $9.3 million budget.
Grace Evangelical Free Church in La Mirada, California, is a tight-knit congregation with an average of 900 at Sunday worship services. Rather than fundraising, they focus is on faith and discipleship to meet their $1.6 million budget. And Administrative Elder Rick Rodeheaver says that through his people there, God meets their financial needs in sometimes dramatic ways.
If you’d like to join the growing group of people who have already signed up for this March 15 webinar, click here to register.
It’s easy to understand why ministries believe they are less likely to become a victim of a financial crime. This is because of the great trust they have for their staff. And while that trust may have been earned or even warranted because of their common Christian bond, internal controls are still necessary. Proper controls don’t say “We don’t trust you.” Instead, they say, “We want to protect you.” Not only do they remove the opportunity for any misappropriation of funds, they also catch errors and protect staff from innuendo and false accusation if a loss is incurred.
Here are six key elements of internal controls for churches and ministries:
1. Maintain clear organizational structure, including proper channels for reporting suspected improprieties.
2. Keep policies and procedures that are clearly written, current, and accessible. This leaves no question about authority, and helps part-time and volunteer staff carry out activities and continue them during periods of turnover.
3. Implement separation of duties. Some of the most important separation of duties for ministries include handling donations and being responsible for recording the receipts in the accounting records. A key component is the routine review and reconciliation by someone other than the preparer or transactor to determine that transactions have been properly processed.
4. Practice dual control over all cash donations. Two persons should be assigned counting responsibility for all cash and for deposit preparation. The cash counters should not also prepare the deposits, and all positions should be rotated periodically.
5. Require dual control of cash until it is delivered to the bank or a courier. A locked safe that requires two distinct individuals to remove the cash keeps it secure.
6. Implement dual control for online banking systems. Individuals who create files should be different from those who release files for processing.
What other financial controls has your ministry found helpful?
I’ve blogged in the past about the tension that can develop between people who hold differing views about how to manage ministry finances. The topic can spark passionate discussion. It can also spark thoughtful guidance from ministry leaders like Henry Morris III, chief executive officer with the Institute for Creation Research.
I stopped by the ICR website the other day and ran across a piece Morris wrote titled “Ministry Money.” He says that “the principles of money management routinely place ministry leaders in certain tensions regarding wise stewardship. Some insist on debt-free ministry operations. Others see prudent financing for capital projects as wise financial leveraging.” He goes on to offer some “biblical admonitions to help us all make wise financial decisions.”
If you’d like to learn more about ICR’s ministry, check out the video we did last year titled Contending for Creation.