Budgeting Basics: Translating Dreams Into Numbers

Jen Bradbury
Nov 11 · 5 min read

After you've let your dreams percolate, the next step in crafting your budget proposal is to translate your dreams into actual numbers.

To do this, go back through your lists, paying particular attention to your answers to this question: What programs, initiatives, events, conferences, training, and trips would enable you to take your ministry from where it is NOW to where you'd like it to be in a year?

Attach a cost to each idea on your list. Now is not the time to trim your budget or look for shortcuts. Instead, continue dreaming. When you don't know the cost of something, research it to find out. For example, let's say your dreams for the next year of ministry include maintaining your weekly program, developing a Student Leadership Team, and taking teens on a summer trip. To begin attaching a cost to each of these large programs, start by breaking them down.

To craft a budget for your weekly program, first figure out how many weeks a year you'll actually meet, taking into account weeks you might take off for the summer, holidays, or school programs. Then calculate the cost of your meeting each week. To run a single weekly program well, how much money do you need for

- Food?
- Game materials?
- Experiential materials?
- Visual illustrations or videos?
- Curriculum? (Or if you write your own curriculum, books / resources to help you prep your lesson?)

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