Good administration is like developing good health habits

Very few of us would say that the purpose of our lives is to be healthy people. Even if we hold this as a high value, we would concede that it is not the sole purpose of our lives. Our physical health is simply a means to keep our bodies and minds sharp enough to do the things that are really important to us – work for a cause we love, spend time with the people we love, play the way we enjoy.
I see strong organizational administration the same way. Chances are, you aren’t starting a church so you can sit at a computer and track donor records. Nor did you feel the drive to start a nonprofit so that you could reconcile bank accounts and review budgets. But if those things are neglected, it’s going to be a challenge to so the things you really want to do – serve the people you love in a way that is not stressed out. Honor your donors with an accounting of how you’ve spent their money. Have accurate records to be able to obtain a grant to better serve those you love. 
Here are a few tips that will help keep your organization in shape and healthy:

  1. Be creative in tracking those receipts. Having trouble keeping track of those little bits of paper? Snap a picture with your smart phone and email it to yourself. If it was a business meal, jot down in the email who was with you and the purpose of the meeting for IRS purposes. When you are working on your inbox, save these files by date and you develop a digital record of the expense.
  2. Avoid debit cards. I know, they are so convenient. They are also dangerous for a small nonprofit. It’s too easy to lose track of how much money you have a bounce a check or overdraw the account. Instead, find a free credit card to get in your name. One with rewards points works great. Use it exclusively for organizational expenses and at the end of the month, fill out a simple expense report and reimburse yourself. It helps keep you accountable for turning in receipts, you reap the card benefits and it avoids over-taxing your bank account.
  3. Discipline yourself to do a monthly review. Set aside just an hour or two each month and force yourself to look at the numbers. If you have someone to format a report for you, look at it and compare it to your budget numbers. Even if you just look at a Year to Date Profit and Loss to check that net income number, you will be able to get a broad sense of the health of your organization. This is important!

Of course, the Church Network Hub can help you with all these things as well as be like that fitness trainer – bugging you to stay on track with your “workout schedule” and motivating you to stay on target so you can do what you really love.