As treasurer, you are not only responsible that monthly financial and annual reports, but are also responsible for the annual report to the Society.
The goals of the Annual Society meetings are:
- To report and celebrate what has been accomplished (board/pastor)
- To cast vision for the future (board/pastor)
- To elect the official board / committees (nominating committee)
- To elect/re-elect nominating committee (society)
- To receive the financial statement, (including audit/financial review), and approve a budget for the coming year (treasurer/finance committee)
Typically, the church’s line-item budget is used for this purpose. Although a line-item budget keeps track of church income and expenses, it does not easily connect church spending with church vision and tell the story of how you are doing it. A narrative budget tells the story of the line-item budget – and helps people understand why your church may not be the only place they give, but it is one of the best places to give to do what God has called your church to in your community.
Connecting the budget with the vision helps in their generosity. A Barnabus Foundation survey shows the top 3 reasons people give…
1.Belief in the Mission (VISION) – People want to be part of something that impacts others. They want to see that their giving is going to something that matters and not just ‘maintaining’
2.Confidence in the Leadership – People are looking for trust & authenticity in the places and people they give to
3.Fiscal Stability – People need to see evidence of responsible management (accountability) with consistent communication (not just at the annual meeting) of positive results. They want to be assured you are doing/achieving what you say you are doing
To create a narrative budget, you must start with good data – a good fiscal line-item budget – one that is sustainable, connected to the vision , and is achievable for your church.
Once you have a good budget in place, you need to use ‘Data Visualization’ which combines story/narrative with visuals so that people ‘catch the vision’ of what you are planning and want to support. In your narrative budget, you need to find the right balance combining data, story and visual that speaks to your church:
STORY + DATA = EXPLAIN
VISUALS + DATA = ENLIGHTEN
NARRATIVE + VISUALS = ENGAGE
“When you combine the right visuals and narrative with the right data, you have a data story that can influence and drive change.”
Brent Dykes | Data Storytelling: The Essential Data Science Skill Everyone Needs. Forbes 31 MAR 2016
To help churches visual components they can use in a narrative budget, we have created one for the FMCIC denomination (you can request a copy by email). You would not want to produce something of this scale for a local church, but there are components you may want to incorporate (stats, stories, quotes, summary ministry budget charts, infographics, pictures, colour, and a graphic representation of the full budget, etc.)
If your church would like help in starting a Narrative Budget, please contact [email protected]