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When Resources Are Scarce

When asked, many Christian schools will tell you that money is the most important resource they have and need.  However, resources are what money buys.  Your 10 largest budget line-items are probably your most important or valuable resources.

The top items are the ones that are critical to the sustainability of your mission.  Given their importance, it is necessary to have a contingent plan for each resource.  Because of their importance to your sustainability, it should be a long-term plan.  (If you are unable to think of a strategy for one of your key resources, tell us about your resource and we will provide you with a strategy for free.)

Your staff is probably at or near the top of the list.  Our population continues to grow and age so the demand for your services is likely to remain strong for years to come.  An aging workforce and a growing economy means that it is going to be harder and more expensive to hire the people you want.

One way to meet the staffing challenge is to attract top high school students with an interest in education to be volunteers or interns.  The students can work for you now and through the summers while they are in college.  In parallel, find donors or foundations that will provide those students with full or partial scholarships to college.  Now you have an opportunity to train your future staff and enhance your probability of having the employees you need when you need them.  Your future employees may be a little more expensive than the average college graduate because they have significant, relevant experience but they will be a good fit for your school and more productive immediately.  They will probably also be more loyal than other candidates. Their hiring and training costs will be lower.  In sum, the return on your investment will be higher.

As you can see, it is possible to protect the sustainability of your mission while creating a benefit for others and your community beyond the promises of your mission statement.  As usual, if you do a little planning, look long-term, and use some creativity, it is relatively easy and inexpensive to protect the sustainability of your mission.  Now take time to apply the preceding example to your other critical resources.

Next Step:

Determine which resources are the most important to your mission

Develop a contingent plan for each resource

Find donors willing to support each of your contingent plans

When a scarcity arises, it is usually time consuming and expensive to find the resources or a substitute for the resources.  The solution is usually a contingent plan that has been developed in advance and used to prevent the scarcity.

Think about a Christian school that trains two college students for employment in 2020.  If in 2020 the economy declines, it is unnecessary to hire either.  Since the school had the benefit of their services during the training, the loss is minimal.  Without a candidate development plan, if the economy and the job market remain strong, the inability to find the talent needed will be a major setback for the school.  The inability to respond to the community need will invite a competitor into the market.  It is better to have what is unneeded than to need what is unavailable.

Take It Further:

Create strategies that will guide your contingent planning for your key resources

Create contingent plans that are flexible enough to respond to the market conditions

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