6 Recession Tips for Church Finances (Part 1)



During a recession, everyone feels the economic strain of high inflation, credit squeezes from climbing interest rates, and financial instability. More people turn to their churches for help with things such as marital counseling, substance abuse, and financial assistance. And while churches spend more time helping their communities, they often are faced with a decrease in donations.


As stewards of church finances, leaders have a responsibility to manage their finances wisely through difficult times so they can continue to serve their congregations and communities. Unfortunately, many churches fall victim to common financial mistakes that can derail their plans, upend their budgets, or worse yet, shut down the church.


Since 2015, Finch has helped churches survive and thrive through economic ups and downs. To assist you to successfully navigate the challenges brought on by economic uncertainty, our team of financial veterans have compiled six pro tips for you and your team.


Keep reading part one of “6 Recession Tips for Church Finances” to learn more…


1. Uncover Overspending


Overspending can lead to financial instability for any church, especially during an economic downturn. Squandering funds often strains the church’s budget and makes it difficult to meet ongoing expenses and financial obligations. Left unchecked, this can lead to financial stress and even bankruptcy.


To bring your spending under control, take time to review your current and upcoming budgets. Look for any non-essential or expensive activities such as trips, office supplies, or church events. For example, instead of traveling with your team to attend a conference, have everyone join the conference online instead. Review contracts with your church’s vendors and service providers to see if there is room for negotiating costs or if switching to a more affordable vendor could reduce costs.


During a recession, reining in your church’s spending can provide much needed funds that can be better used elsewhere.


2. Regularly Monitor & Review Your Budget


With all the busyness that comes with church ministry, it’s easy to establish your budget and then forget to review it. However, during chaotic economic times budgets can quickly shift, leaving church spending and income forecasts dramatically off course.


Regularly studying your budget and comparing it to your actual numbers each month offers many significant benefits and allows your church to:


  • Ensure financial stability and form an accurate understanding of your financial situation.
  • Identify and adapt to changing circumstances, and make necessary adjustments to the budget accordingly.
  • Allocate resources effectively in a way that better aligns with your mission and goals.
  • Make informed decisions about the financial strategy and plan for the future.
  • Be transparent and accountable by openly discussing your financial situation and plans with church leadership.


For example, if you observe a shortfall trend being established between three to six months, it makes sense to start cutting costs in order to address giving shortages. Nothing good comes from assuming your church budget is on track, but staying vigilant and ready to pivot can make all the difference in the health of your finances.


3. Increase Church Savings


High levels of economic uncertainty can lead to a decrease in your church’s donations, as people may be struggling financially themselves. When your church donations dip and inflation costs start to hit, it can be tempting to start taking money out of your church’s savings to cover operational costs, assisting people in need, and unplanned emergency expenses.


However, during a recession it’s imperative to increase your savings rather than spend it. By saving money, you can provide a financial cushion to fall back on in case of a decrease in donations or other unexpected financial challenges. Saving money can also allow a church to plan for long-term projects, such as building a new church or expanding existing facilities.


Having a healthy savings can also enable your church to fund mission-critical projects, such as outreach to the community or renovations to church facilities. These projects may be more difficult to fund during a recession, so your funds from savings can provide the necessary capital to continue these important endeavors.


Get the help you need to succeed


Are you tired of feeling overwhelmed from carrying the weight of your church’s finances? The good news is your church can have a dedicated team of financial experts working for you for much less than hiring a bookkeeper or accountant.


Finch’s team of experts can identify any potential financial challenges and make necessary adjustments to ensure the long-term financial stability of your church. They also provide you with monthly reports, financial statements, and conference calls with accountants and analysts to ensure you have a strategy for securing your church’s financial future.


Set up a free meeting today and let our team of experts steward your finances so you can focus on your flock.

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