Thursday, December 4, 2008

5.2 billion dollar bad news for Minnesota; Parishes and Non-Profits should watch their finances carefully

The State of Minnesota's financial planners announced today that the state will be short over five billion dollars in the next two year planning period. That's over 15% of the budget that will have to be decreased. Much of that is because of anticipated lower tax receipts from corporations and individuals. Parishes and non-profit groups probably will experience similar results.

A new survey from The Barna Group finds that churches stand to lose several billion dollars in donations as the economy continues its slide.The survey finds that more than 150 million adults said they have been affected by the economic downturn, and most of them expect it to take several years before the nation fully recovers. George Barna, founder of The Barna Group, believes churches and nonprofits will be hit especially hard next year.

"Many churches may not be aware of it yet. My guess is come January 1 (2009), they're going to be well aware of it," he contends. "And come January 1, 2010, our churches will have been significantly impacted -- our programs, our staffing, our outreach events, our maintenance of campuses."

According to the survey, one out of every five households has decreased its giving to churches or other religious centers. Barna urges churches to prepare. "We've got to go back and revisit the budgets, revisit the strategies, rethink what it means to be doing efficient ministry as well as effective ministry over the next year to year-and-a-half," he adds.

Barna says churches also need to be ready to help those who get in dire financial straits because of the sour economy.

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