There are 5 mistakes that will doom your 2018 budget before the ink dries!  Right now across the country churches are starting their budget planning process.  Almost all of them are dooming that budget to failure before the ink ever dries.  There are five major mistakes most churches make when it comes to setting the budget.

The five most common mistakes churches make in budget planning are…

  • They over estimate their potential thus increasing the budget by too much.
  • They base the budget on need not reality.
  • They ignore trends or never are aware of them.
  • They set it and leave it.
  • They have no plan for increasing givers and giving.

Let me break down the above more specifically below.

What is a realistic increase?  The most common mistake is increasing the budget by an amount that simply can’t be met.  I believe in taking a step of faith.  However, there is a difference between faith and folly.  Here are some key things to consider if you are thinking of increasing next year’s budget.

  • The larger your budget the smaller the increase should be.
  • 3% to 5% should be the norm.
  • Anything over 5% is risky, unless…

–Your attendance has increased by 10%.

–Your giving has increased by the amount of your next year’s budget increase.

Your “need” must be supported by your ability to raise dollars to support that “need.”  You may well have the needs you say you do.  However, setting your budget too high can lead to difficult decisions later in the year when you are stretched too thin.  Don’t let need cloud your judgement of your giving capability.

The trend can be your friend.  Wall Street has a saying that, “The trend is your friend.”  It can be IF your giving trends are positive.  Do you know your trends?  Our clients do!  How can you successfully plan for next year if you don’t know your giving trends?

Your budget is not one of the Ten Commandments!  Churches set a budget and then never analyze it after the first quarter or mid-year.  Make your budget flexible not engraved in stone.  If you are way behind budget and clearly are not going to close the gap, reset the budget.

Get a plan and work your plan!  If you are increasing your budget how do you plan on meeting that increase?  If you don’t have a plan you are planning on failure.  We specialize in plans!  My Giving365 plan costs a $1 a day!  With my plans and my coaching you have a much better chance of meeting that increase you feel you just must have.  So, let’s get started today so that your 2018 budget isn’t doomed.

Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach