Why should I be concerned with admin when I’m starting a church or nonprofit?
The last thing you want is for the details to hold back your vision. If you put a little time and resources into starting off with strong practices, efficient procedures and putting all the proper paperwork in place at the beginning, these will keep you moving forward as your organization grows.
The last thing you want is to be growing and good things happening and feel held back because the details are bogging you down. Your needs will obviously change and grow as your organization does, but it’s worth putting procedures in place at the beginning that will serve you as things change than making it up as you go along.
Wouldn’t a volunteer work better?
Many churches and organizations are blessed to have great volunteers to track their donors and pay their bills. But there are a couple things to consider when putting your administration in the hands of a volunteer:
First, if you have a great volunteer and you are a new church plant or new organization, do you really want that person’s time spent with administrative details? Sometimes we burn out our best people with the small stuff when they could be critical in other areas.
Secondly, even the best volunteer only has a limited commitment. Life can so easily get in the way of all our best intentions. Sometimes a volunteer bookkeeper won’t have the information you need when you need it the most. Things happen and other needs will often take away from work that should be done.
Finally, you want to consider expertise and liability. Even the small stuff can have ramifications for your organization. Concerns about privacy, liability, compliance with IRS regulations might not be an area your volunteer is familiar with.
How did you get started?
The Church Network Hub was modeled after a ministry in Seattle designed to support the new churches being planted there. We got started in the San Francisco Bay Area under the leadership of church planting strategist Linda Bergquist.
After building a base there and feeling God leading us back to the Tampa Bay Area, we brought our skills and passion here. We still serve many of our California organizations as we seek to find opportunities here to serve.
We use Quickbooks Online. It’s not perfect and we know there are other solutions out there, but here are the reasons why we like it:
- You don’t have to worry about back-ups and system problems preventing access to your information. You can log on from anywhere with Internet access. This is often especially helpful for new organizations that might not a have an office or an IT person.
- Real time access to multiple users without a network or hardware considerations. Whether you have a volunteer or someone serving you remotely, you have control of your data and can see what is being posted regularly.
What do you recommend for basic bookkeeping?
Often we are able to meet with people personally. It’s our favorite part of the job! Usually, we try to set up and initial in-person meeting to hear about what you do and how we can serve you. If you are in another state, that might be difficult but there’s always Skype!
If you decide to use our monthly services, most of that is done remotely with meetings by Skype or in-person as needed. Much of what we do doesn’t require us to be on-site. But we try to keep in contact as much as possible. This might mean monthly check-ins by phone or quarterly meetings. We are always available by email to address your questions or concerns and you own your data and can see it any time on Quickbooks Online.
Are your services on-site?
As soon as possible! Even if you aren’t ready to enlist our regular services, we can provide a starting checklist and some helpful tips to keep in mind as you get started.
At what stage in the church planting process or as I’m forming my organization should I contact you for services?
Several of the churches and nonprofits we serve have been established for a while but just needed extra support for reporting, payroll or donor records.
Even if you have a finance committee to review and approve budget, you may want the added support to oversee postings and prepare reports. We can also do operational reviews to help you make sure your practices make sense and are compliant.
What if I’m an established organization?
Since we are a 501(c)3 nonprofit, we serve only other nonprofit organizations. But we serve all kinds of those! We have served or are serving established churches, new churches, outreach organizations and those that serve the needs of their communities. Our particular emphasis is faith-based organizations and the church planting community.
What kinds of organizations do you serve?
The biggest benefit of outsourcing your administrative tasks is getting professional level services and the benefit of pooled resources without needing to hire an employee.
We also have the experience of working with a variety of organizations so we get exposed to a lot of solutions you might not otherwise hear about. We also have seen, or made, many common mistakes we hope we can help others avoid.