Most recently I was at a multi-site church. I was responsible for the budget at my campus and I helped the children’s pastors at the other campuses develop there budgets. It could get a little complicated, but since we shared a lot of resources and did some events together, it only made sense to synchronize. Below is a sample budget from one of the smaller campuses. These are not actual numbers, but similar to what may have been budgeted.
Let me explain some of the things on here:
- Column B are the campus, ministry and account codes. All Purchase Requisitions would have these codes so that accounting would know what campus, ministry and account to bill. Column D are the account descriptions. Ultimately the accounting department came up with a “chart of accounts.” Basically that means there are (I’m totally guessing here) 60-80 different possible accounts. Every ministry can divide budgeted money into these accounts within their ministry. For a large organization, it keeps the accounts manageable as some ministries might want to create accounts called diaper supplies, puppets, MP3 purchases or mop head replacements. So, I had to organize all of my budgeted needs within the “chart of accounts.” For instance, I budgeted for background checks out of the “miscellaneous account” because there isn’t a background check account (not every department runs background checks). You’ll also notice that one of the largest accounts is “resource materials.” This is where most of my ministry operating expenses came from. This is where I paid for curriculum, supplies and other things associated with weekly ministry. In my own records, I divided this account out into Nursery, Preschool, Elementary, Hospitality and Small Groups. Accounting helped me keep track of what department expenses were charged against within “Resource Materials” by using event codes when filling out purchase requisitions for this account. So, that is how the accounts worked.
- Columns E-P illustrate how the budget is broken down by month. For most accounts I would spread my budget out evenly across the 12 months. However, you will notice some months have differing amounts. Typically I’m attending conferences in the Winter/Spring, so most of the “staff training” is front loaded in January and February. We also do more training in September and January, so you’ll see that reflected in the budget.
- Column Q is the total for each account with Column R being the budget from the previous year. Columns S and T are the actual and percentage variances from this year and last year. So, these columns are really helpful in that way.
- Line 23 are the totals. It shows the totals for each month as well as the annual total in 23Q.
- Line 25 and 26 are Event Cash Receipts and Event Expense accounts. I do have to budget these numbers, but these accounts are unique as they reflect all the events I might do throughout the year. The Event Expense accounts are all the money I’m going to spend on events and the Event Cash Receipts is what I anticipate receiving from the events. This includes camp tuition, small group registration fees, and whatever else people are going to pay to participate in an event. You may wonder how I came up with these numbers. Well, you’re not going to know on this budget. However, the budget I prepared for my campus also has a Event Worksheet that you can look at with the budget to see how I arrive at these numbers. It’s a really helpful form. Ultimately these are important forms and accounts so the finance department can know how much you’re going to be spending for events minus what you anticipate receiving. When planning this, be realistic with Event Cash Receipts, otherwise you’ll blow your budget!
- Line 31 is the budget total. It takes into account the Event Cash Receipts, so this can make the total a little confusing. You may actually spend more money that what is in line 31, but the money you brought in from Event Cash Receipts offset some of that money and give you the total you find in line 31.
Both of the smaller campuses would have had similar budgets. Below is a sample budget for the larger campus. Notice a fairly large increase from 2007 t0 2008. This is mainly due to requesting extra funds this year for furniture in the Nursery and Preschool. Otherwise the budget increase would have been closer to 10-12%. You’ll notice that this budget reflects the other campus. The only difference was that my campus had more kids and volunteers.
Below is the Event Worksheet I mentioned above. As you look at it, you can see where I would plan to receive payments/registrations and when I would plan to spend money for events each month. These amounts are broken down by event which is extremely helpful. The totals from this sheet are transferred to lines 25 and 26 on the actual budget.
Well, those are a few examples. Neither of these budgets are actual budgets I’ve used, but similar to give you an idea. Hopefully it illustrates how to budget both as one children’s ministry as well as in a multi-site environment. I’ve done this differently at some of the other churches I was at, but this was the one I liked the most. It was by far the most organized and helpful.
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