DATABASE INTEGRITY Since you need to send out donation receipts soon anyway, the start of a new year is a good time to make sure you have accurate addresses and other data within your church database. Consider sending an email to those who have donated within the last year asking them to confirm mailing addresses. Recruit a few administrative volunteers to sort through replies and update the database accordingly. If your church management software allows, have members log in and update their own profile data. Simply send them an email requesting their assistance in updating contact, mailing and other profile information. Motivate them by ensuring a timely mailing of their tax donation receipts - once their information is updated. This makes January a perfect time for this exercise.
UPDATE THE CHURCH CALENDAR If your church doesn't have a central calendar of all events and services, this is a great time to create one. If you do, then it's simply a matter of making sure it's current. A Time to Step Back Phill Martin with The Church Network, an association for those working in administrative aspects of the church, recommends reviewing the church calendar with your church's vision and values in-mind. “Consider whether your church leadership has a strategy in-place and if so, is what we're working on supporting that strategy?” Enlist Ministry Leads Check with each ministry leader to get a list of events and dates for each. Put those on the calendar along with regular services. Also, make sure you include any weddings scheduled on the calendar. Talk with the person over facilities about any schedule maintenance he has coming up (if you're having the roof repaired, you probably don't want any big events happening at the church during that time so putting those instances on the calendar is helpful). A central calendar helps keep the entire team on the same page and can prevent confusion down the road.
DUST OFF POLICIES AND PROCEDURES Time For P & P Updates When was the last time anyone scrutinized the policies in your church's employee handbook? If there's no mention of social media usage guidelines, it might be due for an update. What about the procedure for counting and depositing the offering each week? If that procedure doesn't reference how to account for debit card donations in the week's total, a review is definitely overdue. Define and Document There's no point in having policies and procedures if we don't keep them current and relevant. Also, this is a good time to consider if you need to document any new policies or procedures. Work with church leadership to review these documents and update as needed.
DEVELOP A VOLUNTEER ADMIN TEAM Do you spend hours each week preparing the bulletin for Sunday, sending out postcards to last week's first-time guests, or adding people from your new membership class into the church database? If so, why not invite a few detail-oriented volunteers to handle some of these tasks for you? Decide what you can delegate to them and document how you want them to perform those tasks. Invite detail-oriented people to volunteer, provide training and get them started.
PREPARE CHURCH STAFF FOR THE NEW YEAR After all the effort that goes into the Christmas season, church staff members are probably a bit drained. The New Year is a good time to regroup and bring the team together. “Take time to realign and refocus the staff after the busyness of the holidays. Discuss the goals of the next quarter and year overall.” – Phill Martin
CRUCIAL TECHNOLOGY INVENTORY Hard drive crashes, malware infections, and securing your church's electronic files are potential issues to address on a regular basis. Consider the following: Do you have a regular backup scheduled for all church computers and the church's network? Is that data backed up to the cloud or an off-site location? Are all church computers up-to-date on the latest antivirus software? Do you need to upgrade any software programs?
ARE YOU COVERED? REVIEW CURRENT INSURANCE POLICIES Now might be a good time to talk with your church’s insurance agent to review your coverage. Are you covered for the natural disasters common in your area? Have you made any changes to the church facilities or added any significant assets recently? If so, are those changes reflected in your coverage? Per GuideOne Insurance, “During an insurance review, you and your agent will discuss the church's needs, review your policy's current limits and then make necessary adjustments to the policy so your church isn't underinsured. (And so you aren't overpaying for coverage you don't need.)”
EDUCATE YOURSELF ON CURRENT REGULATIONS We've recently seen changes to FLSA classifications that directly impact churches and their employees. The Church Network's eLearning Lab includes training on accounting, human resources, and other regulations. Church Law & Tax and the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability are also helpful resources for Church Business Administrators.
RECHARGE! The Christmas season is both a wonderful and very busy time of year for those on church staff. You've probably put in some extra hours in addition to preparing for your family's Christmas celebrations. Hopefully, your church has given you a time off after the busy days surrounding Christmas. Enjoy some time away and relax. Phill Martin offered this advice: “Look at how you support yourself. What is your support network? How do you recharge yourself spiritually? Be intentional about boundaries to help you be strong in your family relationships, your physical health, and spiritual walk.”
DON'T STRESS IT It's likely you won't get around to all the items listed above – and that's perfectly okay. Pull out a calendar and decide when to do each of these items. There's so much behind-the-scenes work that goes into running a church. If you serve in an administrative role, hopefully this list sparks a few ideas to make 2019 even better for you and your church