June 19, 2013

Talking About Money

Let's talk about money.
Now that we’re in June, half-way through the year, how do your finances look? Is everything is on track for ending the year in sound fiscal condition?

Summer may be a good time for your vestry to take stock, perhaps to have conversations related to both your annual budget and long term financial health such as endowments or planned giving. Other financial discussions you may need to have center on planning a capital campaign or updating the spending rules on your endowment. We’ve pulled together some articles and resources from ECF Vital Practices to help get the conversation started. You can find more by using the Topics section on ECF Vital Practices or using the search feature on the upper right hand corner.

Another resource is the upcoming TENS Conference, July 12 – 13. Many of the plenary and workshop sessions are available via live webcast; click here to learn more and register.

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Creating a Sound Parish Budget
Planning for fall stewardship campaigns and budgeting for 2014 should be underway right now – or maybe need to get jump started? Summer also can present cash flow difficulties for congregations, have you adequately prepared for this? Craig Bossi offers practical tips and suggestions for every congregation to consider in, “Creating a Sound Parish Budget.”

Authentic Tough Talk
Talking about parish finances doesn’t have to be difficult, but it’s impossible when you don’t have any information. This became clear to Dick Kirth when his vestry recognized that maybe they didn’t know as much about their budget and finances as they thought they did. Even though the congregation was in good shape, they discovered, “We were stuck without being aware that we were stuck.” In “Authentic Tough Talk,” he tells us how changing their conversations about finances opened the process, shifted the tone to relational, and helped increase pledging.

Blog Posts

"Final Affairs" Fair Offers a Good Way Out: Planning for end of life can be a fun and engaging activity for the entire congregation. Here is how St. Andrew’s in Seattle did theirs…

Spirituality of Fundraising: Can fundraising be good for your spiritual health? A recommended resource by Henri Nouwen for those embarking on stewardship or fundraising efforts.

More Fun Fundraising: Let’s look at our fundraisers, even those long-held, written-in-stone traditions, and ask an important question: Are they fun?

Tools and Resources

Summer Financial Webinars: Upcoming financial topics include legacy societies, capital campaigns, and stewardship. Be sure to reserve your spot and register today!

Administering Charitable Endowments: Do you need more information about endowments? This article is a great place to learn some of the basic framework of charitable endowments.

Addressing Lackluster Stewardship Campaigns: View a recording of this popular webinar online which looks at the role of messaging and how tone and content can impact annual campaigns.

Audits: A Necessity, Not an Option

If your congregation doesn’t already do an annual audit, consider finding a way to build it into your next year’s budget. Why an annual audit? As Tom Patterson points out in “Audits: A Necessity, Not an Option,” there are many creative ways for congregations of any size to be able to afford a yearly audit. “Internal or external audits should be seen as supportive and protective of the staff doing the day to day, month to month financial operations. The objective is not to “catch” people, but rather to allow them to sleep as well.”