Budgeting For Creativity

Here we are…the fall of 2008. That means it’s budget time again for my arts department. I have to admit, I love this time of year. I love taking the vision and budgeting towards making it a reality. This year, I thought I’d share a bit about the “ins and outs” of my budgeting process. We’re fortunate at Vale that we have a great finance team. Not only is this team supportive of what we do creatively, they have always afforded me the opportunity to dream big. 2009 will be no different in that regard. Here are a few things that make the budgeting process run smoothly for us.

Be Prayerful: It’s easy to dive in head first and start budgeting for the latest and greatest in new technology. That’s all fine and good, but don’t get ahead of God. If your team hasn’t mastered last years tech upgrade, it’s probably not the wisest move to throw even more “new-ness” at them. Slow down, listen to God and make decisions that are wise in view of the “big picture”.

Clearly Define Your Vision: I could ask for a 20% increase for my department, but if I haven’t clearly spelled out “why” there should be this kind of increase, I’ll be dead in the water. People will follow vision and finance teams will fund it…if it’s clearly spelled out.

Don’t Be Greedy: Budget for the vision not for the increase. Don’t try to sell people on a huge budget when there’s no reason to have one. All you’re doing is taking budget money that could benefit other ministries more effectively.

Budget for the Unforeseen: Let’s face it…technology is expensive. It’s even more costly when it breaks. Make sure you “pad” your budget enough to cover these events. It’s always a drag to have to pass on a budget item because you blew the money on an unforeseen repair job.

Be a Forward Thinker: If you base this years budget on what you did last year and add a few bucks for good measure, then you’re missing the whole point of effective budgeting. It’s not about last year…it’s about this year. Think forward. What can you do this year to set you up for the years that follow? What can you do this year that would be a good “next step” for your ministry?

Be Ready To Bend: It’s rare in any ministry to have your budget proposal approved without question. Remember, your finance team has many ministries and many budgets to allocate for. Sometime you’ll need to bend on a few “wants” to help meet the “needs” of the church as a whole. Have a priority list prepared, so if you’re asked to cut back, you can do so quickly without holding up the process.

Shoot For the Moon: You don’t know until you ask. Don’t be conservative in your budgeting because you’re afraid it won’t be approved. Shoot for the moon and let your finance team discern if what you’re asking for is a fit for the year.

Those are a few things that have worked well for me. I’d love to hear from all of you. What’s your budgeting process?

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One Response

  1. Great Post! I hope you’re coming over this year for Innovate!

    Godspeed man!

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