Sanford Levings

"Hi, I’m Sanford Levings, President of MinistryCFO and author of this blog. The purpose of our blog is to share with you information and insights that we gather from working with and listening to our clients and partners, located throughout the country." read more

Revenue Reporting: Set Up Your Revenue Correctly!

At MinistryCFO, we believe that donations should be recorded according to the conduits in which you are receiving your donations as opposed to other methods. So what do we mean by conduits? By conduit, we are referring to the means in which you are deriving your donations. It is the means in which people are giving that you need to track.

Let us explain more about these conduits:

Are you deriving most of your donations by passing the offering plate on Sunday? Or do most of your donors simply mail in a monthly pledge card slip that you have provided them?

To what extent is your online giving growing? FYI, your online giving needs to be growing because the younger generations don’t write manual checks. Let me say it more strongly: Generation X and Millennials are not writing checks!

Here’s an example of how we recommend classifying your revenue:


Of course the illustration above does not take into account the recording and classification of Designated Revenue accounts. At MinistryCFO, we recommend having no more than two designated revenue accounts. If you have more than two designated revenue accounts, then we can help you consolidate them. We can also help you communicate to your congregation in ways that help your donors see that you are committed to certain projects without you having to establish designated accounts for those particular projects.

What about revenues derived from books, the café and events? These revenues should always be recorded below your operating expenses for two reasons: 1) these revenues do not derive from your primary source of business and 2) these revenues are not tax deductible.

Ideally, at the end of each year, you want your total donation revenue from your account database to exactly reconcile with your total donation revenue from your church management software. Why? Because you will be sending out year-end tax contribution letters and you need to provide accurate donation records to your donors.


Your church needs a CFO on a part-time basis. Let the MinistryCFO team help you classify and manage your revenue streams.