By Kathy Smith, Associate for Administration

I have spent much the last couple of weeks attendings webinars, looking at tools, and reading articles to decipher the impact of the financial and human resources this time is having on congregations. Below is a list of tools and resources I have gathered.

  •  We recommend that you use dynamic cash-flow forecasting and planning. Forecast cash- flow on a week-by-week basis and run multiple what-if models.  Click here for a printable cash- flow worksheet from BMWL, a non-profit CPA firm from Orlando, Fl.
  • Be proactive. If financial assistance is anticipated, it is better to contact loan providers when you are still in a strong financial position. Do not wait until you are unable to meet debt obligations. Financial institutions already have plans in place. Be aware that credit card limits may be reduced and that some loans have compliance agreements that must be met. In some cases, the ELCA Mission Investment Fund will be able to help.
  • Contact Portico Benefit Services if you have concerns about current and future payments. Holding payments for health and retirement contributions is not an option.
  • The ELCA has worked with Vanco and Tithely to support congregations in online giving and has made agreements for these services to be offered at a reduced rate for ELCA congregations. Regular electronic giving has sustained many congregations during the pandemic. See more about Vanco and Tithely
  • The CARES Act (relief legislation recently signed into law) has implications for churches.
  • Continue to use best practices for counting money and bookkeeping. Consider ways to maintain dual controls while also following CDC guidelines (for instance, reconfiguration of workspaces). Relaxing standards of bookkeeping may lead to unexpected liabilities.
  • Encourage ongoing financial support of ministry through your congregation and beyond. Please contact me ([email protected]) with any anticipated shift in 2020 Mission support, which will have a direct impact on the ministry of the Southeastern Iowa Synod and ELCA churchwide ministries.

If you have questions about financial forecasting and planning in this disruptive time, or if you have questions about the resources listed below, please contact me, [email protected], or call 319-338-1273.

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