A Simple Exercise for Organizational Stewardship

tenaciousme / flickr
tenaciousme / flickr

If you lead a ministry, department, or organization, you have likely been entrusted with the financial stewardship for your area of responsibility. You carry the burden both to execute the mission faithfully and to manage the financial resources wisely. And while the resources are merely tools to fulfill the mission your team has embraced, they are important tools that must be managed with wisdom and discernment.

A helpful way to think about your budget, about managing the resources entrusted to you, is to evaluate all expenses through the lens of  “strategic” and “non-strategic” expenses. A “strategic expense” is something you must spend to fulfill the mission. If the expense is cut, the mission clearly suffers. A “non-strategic expense” is an expense that provides support, but if it is cut, the mission does not directly suffer.

Here is a simple exercise:

  • Write the mission of your ministry, your department, or your organization on the top of a sheet of paper or dry-erase board.
  • Make two lists: strategic costs and non-strategic costs. Categorizing the expenses is not cut and dry, but the thinking and wrestling will be helpful.

The goal is to keep non-strategic costs as lean as possible so you can invest more and more into the strategic bucket—so you can spend more in directly fulfilling the mission. Jack Welch once stated, “Strategy is simply resource allocation.” You want to allocate as many resources as possible to execute the whole reason your team, your department, or your organization exists. To do so, you want the non-strategic cost bucket to be lean.