Using Your Data

Dear Christian Radio,

When you think about using your data, what is the first thing that comes to mind?  Is it how much data you have left for the month on your cell plan?  Is it how to use the analytics collected during the most recent music test to fine tune your library? 

Today I want you to take a moment to think about how you can take the most basic data available to you and use it to your advantage.  Today, I want to talk about your accounting data. 

I know everyone is jumping for joy at the thought of going through facts and figures of what you have received and what you have spent.  For most, this is the most tedious, or even torturous, part of the job.  However, when used incorrectly, or when it’s not used at all, this area could be the one that makes or breaks your ability to create moments and to reach your listeners on a day to day basis.   

Even if you are not apt to speak into the budgeting process (which I highly recommend that you are), each leader should be reviewing their figures on a regular basis.  Why?  Reviewing these basic numbers can be a great source of guidance in your role.  For example, as you begin to lay plans for the vision of your station, are you aware of how the projects leading up to that goal is going to be financed?  Do you know how your station would get by if the economy took an extended downturn?  By going through these figures, you can be better equipped to make sound strategic plans for your station in the future. 

Another way in which your accounting data can be used to your advantage is by sharing this information with your team.  First, let me clarify that I am not saying let’s open up the file cabinets and let everyone look through your various contracts, invoices and payroll records.  By asking you to share the data, we are talking about providing your team with a 30,000 foot view of how ‘X’ number of dollars was spent on office supplies and ‘Y’ number of dollars was spent on electricity in a given time period.  Entrusting your team with this information shows that you not only believe in their ability to use the data wisely, but also shows your willingness to be open and transparent in the management of the station.  Secondly, this allows the team to see why they are being asked to reach certain fundraising goals and why those goals continue to grow.

Lastly, both you and members of your team can use your accounting data to ensure that the donations being provided by your listeners are being used wisely and without waste.  Through the review of various repeating expenditures, these figures can help you determine where cuts can easily be made.  The process also provides an opportunity to perform due diligence in creating contracts or pursuing opportunities.  By taking these steps, you can be confident in asking for donations from listeners as you know that their funds are being used the way in which they intended. 

Even if focusing on deep in the weeds details is not your favorite part of the day, carve out some time to use this amazing information to strengthen your station.  Once the habit is established I promise you will be amazed at how much your confidence in the future will grow.    

Dear Christian Radio:

1)      Remember to review your accounting data on a regular basis to assist in making your strategic plans.

2)      Share the 30,000 foot view so that your team can be empowered to do their part in reaching your goals.

3)      Perform regular self-evaluations of your accounting data to ensure that you are being a good steward of the funds entrusted to you. 


Debra Bourne

Director of Accounting & HR

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