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 Like so many other organizations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, churches too are feeling the impact. First it was social distancing and the deterrent of large group gatherings. Then, the cancellation of in-person services followed by the cancellation of weddings and funerals, and stay-at-home orders. In many communities, the church is the epicenter of their beliefs, social circles, outreach, and an extension of the family unit. Now, so many church and faith-based nonprofit leaders are scrambling to stay spiritually connected to their congregants while also maintaining financial stability.

“When we think about the church, we tend to focus on the beliefs, faith, and services they bring to our communities. The reality is, churches have bills just like any other organization,” stated Fran Brown, Managing Partner of CapinCrouse, a national accounting and consulting firm specializing in serving faith-based organizations.

“The CapinCrouse Church Financial Health Index, an online dashboard of key measures, ratios, benchmarks, and peer information, shows the average church receives 48% of contributions via online giving,” according to Rob Faulk, Lead Partner for CapinCrouse’s Church and Denomination Practice. “That leaves 52% received from mail-in and in-person (weekend) services. Churches and nonprofits may actually see their revenue needs increase due to the addition of services to meet community needs. Historically, we’ve seen giving to nonprofits and churches decline significantly during recessions. So, even if a church can adjust and make up some of that gap, they could still see a significant decline in contributions. To churches and other nonprofits, contributions equal revenue.”

A few other key measures from the Church Financial Health Index point to the fact that the average church has:

  • 97 days of operating cash reserves
  • $2,449 of debt per adult attendee

The firm also published a blog about cash flow and reserve ratios as another starting point for organizations.

Ken Tan, a CapinCrouse consulting principal, added, “There are 4 S’s that keep church leaders up at night: sustainability, succession, structure, and security. Church leaders are now having to quickly adapt to the current environment, yet many are wondering how they will address sustainability and are taking a hard look at security issues such as the ability to accept online donations. That’s not to mention the challenge of talking about giving in the midst of turmoil.”

“This is a time for churches to use their cash reserves, if they have them. If they don’t have reserves, look at programs that are not being implemented because of the current situation and adjust resources accordingly,” said Stan Reiff, Professional Practice Leader for CapinCrouse’s Consulting Practice. “Start creating cash lists. For example, if your church building isn’t being used right now utility bills are likely to be lower, saving some cash. If ministries have a note, I’d encourage them to check with their bank to perhaps extend the loan. Cash reserves and liquidity are critical.”

“Our firm works with more than 1,500 faith-based organizations in 60 countries, more than 400 of which are churches representing more than 60 Christian denominations. As a firm, we are dedicated to serving their needs. We are committed to doing everything we can to support the Christian community,” said Brown. “We want them to know they are not alone.”

“One of the ways we will continue to support the faith-based community is through a series of complimentary webinars specifically designed to help church and nonprofit leaders, administrators, board members, and others adapt to the COVID-19 environment,” continued Brown. “The first webinar, Walking Through the Application Process for CARES Act and Payroll Protection Program Loans, is being held Thursday, April 2nd at 2 p.m. EDT.”

The complimentary series will start with an in-depth discussion to help church and nonprofit leaders understand eligibility for coronavirus relief funds and step-by-step instructions on completing the application process. Future webinars will address how to understand an organization’s current state of financial affairs by calculating and understanding key financial ratios.

To register for the first webinar, visit: https://www.capincrouse.com/webinar-application-process-cares-act-loans/


At CapinCrouse, we have one focus: serving organizations whose outcomes are measured in lives changed. It’s the foundation our firm was established on, and the driving force behind all that we do. As a national CPA and consulting services firm, we have served mission-focused not-for-profit organizations, churches, and higher education institutions since 1972 by providing support in the key areas of financial integrity and security. This is more than a market niche for us; it is our primary focus and our mission. For more information, visit https://www.capincrouse.com.

Last modified on Monday, 06 April 2020
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