There are eight financial principles that if followed, would maximize the ministry of congregations and non-profits without breaking the bank. In fact, most not for profits suffer from a belief that there is never enough money. And that to do more you need to have more. It is not generally true. Often, to do more you need to do things differently rather than simply raise more money. Think about these eight principles.

Absolute clarity
One needs to be clear, absolutely clear, on what they are about. Doing good or nice things does not a non-profit make. Doing specific things that are clearly part of a mission does. You may ask, "What does absolute clarity have to do with finances?" Everything when you consider the next principle.

Mission critical
If something in mission critical you do it. If it is not mission critical you don't. No exceptions! The reason that too many non-profits suffer from too few funds is that they are trying to do too many things - some of which are not mission critical. Keeping the main thing the main thing all the time allows you to focus exclusively on those things that are missional. This is why absolute clarity is so important.

Hire well
While many things are important in the hiring process such as fit, character and gifting, the more intellectual capacity you have on staff the more you will accomplish. Hire well and don't just settle for an available person. There is a reason that some staff members accomplish more than others: They have a high degree of intellectual capacity and are able to see ways to get things done that others don't. Look for the best!

Pay well
We cannot afford to pay well! Not true. You cannot afford not to if you want to do something significant. In fact, the reason so many churches and non-profits have nice but mediocre staff is that they pay poorly and actually end up needing more people to do what a well qualified individual could do. In the end they pay the same amount because they need to hire more individuals. But they lack the intellectual capacity that would help them be the best. 

Staff lean
You can only staff lean if you hire really well. But if you do hire well you need fewer staff and that is a secret of the best ministries and non-profits. They find ways to accomplish their work with fewer paid people. They think leverage rather than assuming that new things require more money and more people.

Volunteer staff
Some of the best staff are volunteers. And certainly in the church, volunteer staff should be the norm. We ought not hire staff in the church to do the ministry but rather to release others in ministry. That is the message of Ephesians 4:11-12. Because not for profits are cause based, they can recruit individuals who believe in their cause as unpaid staff. That is simple leverage.

Strategic flexibility
Clarity on mission is not the same thing as strategy. Our mission remains fairly constant but our strategies will often change. Never get locked into strategy because times change, contexts change and often we find new ways to accomplish the mission that are more efficient and effective. Be flexible on strategy and clear on mission.

Leverage well
Looking for ways to leverage your work for maximum results at minimal reasonable cost is key to all successful non profits. This is not about being cheap. It is about being smart. Just as any business looks for ways to leverage itself for maximum profitability, so non-profits look for ways to leverage for maximum results at minimal costs. 

The best non-profits stand out because they do things differently than the rest of the pack. They think differently, hire differently, leverage differently and strategize differently. 

TJ Addington of Addington Consulting has a passion to help individuals and organizations go to the next level. He can be reached at

  • Mar 21, 2019
  • Category: News
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