There are two ways to have more money in a business; increase your intake, and decrease your costs. Churches often look at how they can bring in more money through donations and fundraisers. Cutting costs is more difficult to swallow, as many churches are already running on tight budgets. By utilizing tools to increase productivity of the existing staff, you can avoid job and salary cuts while still advancing your ministries.
On the heels of my series about online donations, I will discuss yet another topic that can potentially help your church’s finances… the ability to accomplish more with less. As I mentioned; I am not advocating that you cut positions on your staff. However, as your ministries grow, perhaps you can help your staff manage those extra duties more efficiently. One tool your web team can implement is what is commonly called an intranet. It is a website typically exists on an internal network, and only people within your church can access and utilize. What are the benefits to this? Well that is what this article is all about!
Contact information for staff and congregation members can be stored and managed in a central location. This is helpful to everyone, from an organizer of an event that needs to notify attendees of a location change, to sending out a church-wide mailing about the upcoming special “Bring a Friend” service. Plus updates can be made in one place rather than multiple spreadsheets. Centralizing this information makes everyone’s job easier.
Templates and Logos
Does your church have a letterhead? How about a standard branded PowerPoint template. Where can staff find high quality image files of your logo? By keeping a repository of these files close at hand, you enable paperwork and general office tasks to be accomplished in record time.
You want to track spending over a five year period; so where are the financial reports located? How has membership trended over the past few years? Reports and collected data can be centrally stored and located for everyone in the church to access and utilize. You never know when someone will spot a way to improve a process because they saw a particular trend.
Tools and Collaboration
Does your IT staff have a stash of CD’s and software that they regularly use to set up new computers? As long as you posses the proper licences, you should make these files available for staff. This is especially helpful if you are working in a multi-site environment, so technicians can work from a single source to get computers up and running no matter where they are.
Using tools such as Microsoft SharePoint, or Google Docs, an entire team can collaborate on document creation. Imagine if teams updated a church bulletin in parallel instead of Emailing a Word document around. Multiple departments could update a single, centralized spreadsheet.
As you can see there are a multitude of reasons your church should consider setting up some sort of intranet. However there are ways you can start with little setup time and next to no expense. I write all of these articles using Google Docs. It is a collection of online office tools. By setting up Google accounts for each staff position, you can give them Email with Gmail, office tools with Google Docs, and access to your online repository of files via Google Drive.
Instead of cutting staff, or trying to raise more money to cover costs; try to allow your existing staff to be more productive. As I explained, one such way is setting up an intranet or at least utilizing a centralized collection of tools. See where these improvements can be made and help streamline processes before you cut jobs.