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5 Challenges to Tech Budgeting in Churches

church leader budgeting their technology

Your church’s budgeting process can be challenging, no matter how it is determined. You have many stakeholders. You never have enough resources to go around. And your community has so many needs for you to engage. Church budgets are tough.

But church tech budgets can be the toughest of the tough. Here are five reasons church tech budgets make leaders want to pull their hair out. 

Constantly Evolving Needs

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 30 years, you know that technology has moved at a breakneck speed, even more so in the past few years. Even the most tech-focused church staff members can quickly get overwhelmed by all the change.

But churches likely don’t have the budget to keep up with all of these changes. The good news is you don’t need to keep up with all the trends just to say you did. You do want to leverage the new technology that helps you serve your community and your congregation better. 

You have to balance opportunities for innovation with fiscal responsibility. Make sure your budget allows for updates and upgrades in the tech that help with actual ministry needs. Let your mission drive innovation. Never do the opposite.  

Tech Stewardship Costs

It may seem strange to see the word stewardship associated with technology. In the church world, we usually connect it with money. But purchasing tech equipment is really just the beginning of a church’s investment. You also must account for training, maintenance, strategic planning, and other expenses when you prepare a tech budget. These all fit under the broader categorization of tech stewardship. 

You’re investing a large amount of resources (both time and money) into your technology. Training and maintenance ensure you get the most out of that initial investment. They are both particularly important in church situations, where tech turnover and reliance on volunteers can be high.

That’s why it’s critical you tie these investments directly to your church budget. For example, plan to spend money every year to train staff and volunteers in the latest tech software they are using to further your church’s mission—budget money to maintain your equipment well. Even in years when your budget is tight, put money in funds tied to stewardship so you never find your church becoming a poor tech steward.

Funding Constraints

Of course, this is the budget stress most of us connect to church tech. We know how important it is to invest in the latest technology, but our budgets are not infinite. Every dollar you spend on technology is one you can’t spend to reach your neighbors and feed your community. 

Like any other area of your budget, investing in technology is about choices. As you can’t follow every new trend, you need to regularly assess technology based on how it aligns with your mission. Some of the biggest tech trends of the coming decade may seem exciting, but they won’t help you reach and serve your community. Invest in technology that helps you engage with your mission. 

Long-Term Planning

As churches, we tend to focus our energy (and resources) on tools that fix current problems—not long-term solutions. That doesn’t help us in any area of our budget, but it’s particularly problematic for our tech spending. The tool that fixes today’s problem may not be the tool that can help you fulfill your mission tomorrow. Investing too much in fixing today’s problems could hinder your ability to invest in tomorrow’s technology.  

As an example, imagine your church budgeted this year for new streaming equipment. You spent heavily on what today is at the top of the market. But you didn’t consider new innovations that will fundamentally change your church’s needs in the next few years. The good news is your investment pays off immediately. Your congregation gets high-quality streaming for the next few years. But in five years, it’s clear you need to make another change. Unfortunately, you spent so much on the latest and greatest system you can’t afford to upgrade. 

Tech budgeting is about investing in scalable, adaptable solutions that won’t hinder future ministry opportunities.

Security and Compliance

Budgeting for tech security and compliance isn’t exciting. You’re likely not going to wow your congregation with the latest ways you’ve secured your tech and made it more compliant with state and local regulations. 

It’s also part of your church tech budget that’s growing more complex every year. State governments have passed ground-breaking privacy laws in the past five years. Undoubtedly, more will come in the next five. While most focus on for-profit companies, they can apply to non-profits in certain situations. At some point, future laws will probably engage non-profits more directly. 

Security, which must change regularly to keep up with emerging threats, has a similar level of complexity. Failure to do so will leave your church vulnerable to those with the worst intentions. 

That’s why it’s important to be proactive in both instances. Don’t wait until there’s a problem. Invest in a way to avoid future failures. Reach out to companies like Higher Ground to help you understand your future needs and how you can prepare for them.

To dig deeper into the challenges of budgeting for church tech, download the free guide The Hidden Costs of Your Church’s IT Infrastructure.

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In the ever-evolving landscape of church engagement and management, ACS Technologies rises above the rest. Our comprehensive church solutions, bespoke digital offerings, streamlined communication tools, comprehensive ministry consulting, and training make us the trusted choice for over fifty thousand churches. Experience the ACS Technologies advantage and elevate your church’s online presence, connectivity, and generosity today. Join us in redefining church technology for the digital age, where your ministry’s success becomes our shared mission.

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