We’ve all experienced seasons where the budget is a bit tight – especially when the economy isn’t thriving. However, we still want to provide the absolute best for our communities and congregations. So how can you achieve operational excellence on a shoestring budget? Here are some practical tips you can implement at little, to no cost:
Tip #1: Find the grammar police
Look for a volunteer who is a perfectionist when it comes to correct spelling and grammar. Ask that individual to proofread all of your written communications. This includes the church website, social media posts (yes, grammar still counts in social media), brochures, letters, flyers, worship lyric screens, etc.
Poor grammar and misspellings are perceived as a lack of professionalism and excellence. Build your church’s professional image and reputation by being a stickler in this area. All without breaking the budget.
Tip #2: Honor volunteers
Honoring volunteers involves respecting their time and efforts. For example, let’s say you decide to ask volunteers to do various beautification projects around your church on a Saturday.
- Make sure you’ve planned the work carefully and have all the necessary tools and supplies ready ahead of time.
- Church staff should arrive at least 30 minutes before the volunteers and should be ready to immediately get volunteers to work.
- Provide water, coffee, and snacks as appropriate.
- When you ask for volunteers make sure you ask a few weeks before you need the help. Don’t expect people to drop everything and show up at the last minute.
When you respect their time and have an organized workday, your volunteers will appreciate how well you planned the assignment and are more likely to serve again.
Tip #3: Make a good first impression
While God looks at the inside, people still judge by outward appearances. While we wish that wasn’t the case, we need to be aware of the first impression people get from your church facilities.
Start with a facility evaluation and clean up or repair any areas that need attention. Also, take a look at the office areas. This may sound nitpicky, but a clean, organized office communicates an organized approach to serving your congregation and it provides a professional environment for your staff. You don’t need expensive artwork on the walls or brand new furniture. A simple décor that is well maintained shows that you’re an excellent steward of your resources.
Tip #4: Pay attention to event details
For example, if you provide childcare at an event, make sure you know how many children you’ll need to care for. Ask attendees to provide the number of children and their ages in the registration form so you’ll know how many childcare workers you’ll need well in advance.
Also, consider the safety aspect of events. Make sure you have emergency procedures well developed and communicated to staff and event volunteers.
Tip #5: Communicate effectively
When developing communications for volunteers or event participants, consider your audience. What questions would you have if you knew nothing about your organization or the event? What would you be concerned about? How would you want to receive the information (email, phone, text message, handouts, etc.)? Tailor communications to different audiences if needed to address their varying concerns.
Tip #6: Stay tuned to trends
Using an outdated design scheme for a volunteer appreciation night or not knowing about a social media trend are quick ways to damage credibility and look “behind the times”. Try to stay up-to-date on current trends in social media, graphics, design ideas, etc.
Ask volunteers of various ages what they think of your website, communications, videos, and social media channels. Take their feedback into consideration and make the necessary adjustments. If your logo and graphics need to be updated, check with a local community college and ask if any of their graphic arts students need some experience and will work for a reduced fee. You could get a great update and the student will gain valuable experience.
These are just a few ways to ensure excellence in various areas of the church. Excellence is possible even when on a tight budget. As you make the most of the resources you do have, trust God to take your efforts and expand your capacity. Being faithful in these little things really is a big deal.