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What Happens "Beyond the Budget?"

by Kirk Walden, Advancment SpecialistBeyondBudget

Boards of Excellence

As board members, a primary responsibility is to monitor the budget and make sure the organization is wisely stewarding the funds entrusted to its care. At the end of the year, a reasonable goal is to finish with more funds in the bank than when we started, right?

Yet if a board isn't looking at what happens "after the budget," it is missing the bigger picture.

Beyond the budget, we must consider the amount of funds we are setting aside for next year, the next and the next. Ultimately, we must lay in place a financial foundation for future boards, staff members and most important, those who come in our doors as clients.

For forward-thinking organizations, an Endowment provides this foundation. Webster defines "endowment" as "a large amount of money that has been given to a school, hospital, etc., and that is used to pay for its creation and continuing support," but we can go further. For our non-profit organizations, an endowment is a fund we can draw upon (whether we use only the interest accrued or choose to withdraw a certain amount each year) to fund different aspects—or a large portion—of our ministries.

Every non-profit organization needs to at least carefully consider an endowment. Used wisely an endowment can be a perfect blend of faith and stewardship, two attributes that should complement each other.

Whether a ministry is launching an endowment or looking for ways to grow this fund, one starting point is the ministry budget. Placing a line item in the budget for the endowment reminds us each month that a portion of today's funds should go toward a better tomorrow.

Whether we start with $50 per month or $5,000, we are on our way to a brighter, more successful future for our ministry.


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