In tough economic times, a church can face budget problems that threaten the operation because much of its income is based on its congregation's donations. When your church is moving toward a financial crisis, take action to cut costs and add to the budget. As you plan how to help the church's financial status, consider ways you can use existing resources, cut costs and make use of members to keep the church running.
Scrub the Budget
When your church is in financial trouble, go through the budget to find areas that might be draining funds. Check out the electricity bill, money spent for supplies, the cleaning fee and the cost of staff. If your church is spending money on a local cleaning service, you might ask for volunteers to take over the job each week. If the electricity bill is high, you can put in electric timers to ensure that all of the lights will turn off at a certain time, or seal the windows to eliminate heat leaks during the winter.
Rent the Space
Churches often have plenty of meeting space that can be used by local groups. To add extra money to your church's bank account, rent out different areas of the building when it is not in use. Local choirs or musical ensembles might want to rehearse in the sanctuary, organizations can hold meetings in the kitchen or conference area, and individual musicians can rent the children's room for the use of the piano. To advertise, find the email addresses of local organizations and groups from the local chamber of commerce and send out an email announcement that includes the fees and general availability.
Appeal to the Congregation
When your church is struggling, bring the problem to the congregation. For a loyal group of church members, keeping it operating is of paramount importance for their spiritual lives. You can send out an appeal for donations, request that church members brainstorm possible fundraising ideas, or ask for volunteers to take over some of the services that are draining the resources. By being honest with the congregation and working together, you can help the financial status of the church and build community.
If you have gone through your church's budget and cannot find ways to save money on expenses, add to your coffers with fundraisers. Because most churches have a building, kitchen and grounds, you will not need to pay rental fees for an event location. If you want to target the local community in addition to the church members, hold the event in an outdoor, neutral zone to avoid alienating anyone who is not religious. Possible church fundraisers include concerts, a community-wide talent show, a pasta dinner or a kids' carnival. You might also sponsor a parents' night out, where families can drop their kids off for a certain period of time while they have an evening out or complete errands. Schedule games and snacks for the kids and charge the parents a flat fee for the service.
Elizabeth Smith has been a scientific and engineering writer since 2004. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, newspapers and corporate publications. A frequent traveler, she also has penned articles as a travel writer. Smith has a Bachelor of Arts in communications and writing from Michigan State University.