The topic for today’s article comes from one of you, my faithful readers.
This reader is about to embark on a major system upgrade. He’s done his homework, knows what he wants and is now ready to present the information to senior leadership.
But how to go about it? He writes…
“My next challenge is the presentation. Do I just print out my Excel sheet and give it to them, or do i type it out in Word with some brief explanations of each piece?
I also can’t get too technical because my senior pastor’s eyes start to glaze over if I start going deeper than how to turn on the computer and I will also have to present it to the entire church for their approval.”
This is an excellent question. I think most of us can relate; and it’s something we as TDs need to learn to do—communicate effectively with non-technical people.
Now if he were to compile a stack of spec sheets for the various pieces of gear and give it to the pastor with a spreadsheet with the costs, he would be communicating the necessary information. However, it would not be done in a way that makes any sense to the pastor.
What I think we need to do is align our request for funds for new equipment with the mission and direction of the church.
If we can show how ministry will be enhanced or improved with the addition of this equipment, the requests get significantly more attention. It’s important to remember that senior leaders typically don’t care about what equipment we put in.
They just want to know what will happen once it’s installed. They want to know how ministry will be improved. Communicate that, and you’re golden.
I have a standard proposal format that I follow when writing up proposals. But before I get to that, let’s consider the background.
Before asking for new equipment, we need to know why. What needs are not being met right now that will be with this new gear? What takes too long, is not volunteer-friendly or is not creating the desired environment on the weekend?
How does this piece of equipment further us on our mission? Who will be using it, and what do they need it to do? Will it be easy for the users to operate?
All these questions and more need to be sorted out (by you) before you even start investigating equipment. Once you have all of that information, here’s an option for presenting it.
My proposals are built around four key elements, and three optional ones. Always included are The Challenge, The Solution, The Cost, The Timeline. Optional sections, if needed and applicable are Additional Benefits, Options and Executive Summary.
Let’s look at them one at a time.