Top 5 Findings from the Ministry Advisory Panel

by Jay Sherer, ECCU Marketing Supervisor
(Originally published as a post within ECCU’s former e-publication, The Buzz.)

Our Ministry Advisory Panel is a powerful tool. It helps us understand changing ministry needs so that we can improve our services while offering ministries a chance to see how they compare to their peers. Evangelical financial decision-makers across the country contribute by answering short surveys, and after we’ve crunched the data, we report it back to them.

This week we’ve collected the five most valuable insights we’ve learned from panel participants. We hope that you find them as helpful as we have.

1. Ministries find ways to serve in a tough economic environment.

Eighty percent of our panelists participating in this survey said that they have been affected by unemployment. But that hasn’t prevented them from doing something about it. Ninety-three percent have developed tangible ways of helping those feeling the economic downturn. That includes providing food, cash, clothing, housing, financial management training, and job-finding resources.

This is where true community happens. But don’t take our word for it. Take theirs. We captured ministry responses in the full report: “How Ministries Are Responding to Unemployment Survey.”

2. “Cash Reserves” is the most meaningful indicator of a ministry’s financial performance.

“Cash flow” came in a distant second, but no other metric could compete with “cash reserves,” which garnered over 62% of the participating panelists’ votes.

To view the full report, see “Ministry Financial Indicators and Online Banking Survey.”

3. Ministries entered 2010 cautiously.

In December of 2009, we took a pulse check to see how ministries felt about the upcoming year. Almost two-thirds of participating panelists budgeted the same amount for 2010 as they had for 2009. Just over 34% increased their budget in 2010 while nearly 30% had reduced their budget.

For more information, check out the rest of the “Economic Impact on Ministries Survey” report.

4. What makes ministries stay at their current bank? Relationship.

It’s not surprising. If you find a bank that understands your ministry’s unique needs, you’re likely to stick around. Maybe that’s why 26% of survey respondents said that “relationship,” followed by “excellent customer service and personnel,” is why they remain with their primary bank.

For more information, see “Banking Loyalty Influencers and Quarterly Revenue Trends.”

5. Most ministries would reevaluate their banking relationship if…

…they discovered that their bank supported causes contrary to Scripture. In the survey, titled “Passion for Ministry and Cash Reserves,” we explored what it really takes to be a bank that focuses on ministry. You can see the full report when it’s released in mid-July.

There it is. The top five things we’ve heard from ministries that participate in our Ministry Advisory Panel. If you’re not a participant yet, make sure you become one! It only takes a couple minutes to get started. Once onboard, you’ll receive short surveys online about every two months, and you’ll be notified as soon as we post the survey results. Visit our Ministry Advisory Panel page to sign up now.

Hopefully you find the panel as valuable as we have.

If you found this article to be helpful, please pass it along to your peers and other members of your ministry team using our tool.

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