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The Impact of the Bank Run on Churches

Think the latest news regarding Silicon Valley Bank is irrelevant to your church or non-profit organization? Think again. This bank run and its fallout may impact you in at least three ways.

 

The Bank Run my hurt Ministry Investments

If your congregation has an endowment fund or something similar, it may very well be currently invested in the stock market. No matter how diverse or specific that investment may be, the reality is that the entire stock market is likely to be unsteady in the coming days, weeks, and months.


That account may have felt like a little nest egg, ready to bail you out of a tough financial patch. Without it to rely on, what's your next move? Are you thinking about pulling it out and saving what's left of those funds? Leaving it where it is and hoping things turn around? If your church board isn't discussing the future of its investment accounts, it should be.

 

The Bank Run may create Anxious Donors

While the fallout of the pandemic, including the last year's rising interest rates, has already left donors unsettled, the SVB bank run might just put them over the edge. After all, the problem isn't necessarily that your congregants banked with Silicon Valley, or that their businesses were funded by them.


The fallout from this situation is far more widespread than that; it would not be surprising to see additional bank runs as soon as they open Monday morning, and no one would blink if layoffs were pushed up and raises were postponed. Folks will be tightening their belts and pinching their pennies.


On the flip side, if you've been considering creating an impact investment opportunity, this might be exactly what your donors are looking for. These are fairly conservative investments that could provide a good alternative for folks wanting to take their savings out of their bank.

 

The Bank Run may halt Future Plans

If you are on the verge of starting a capital campaign, or have just completed one, your next steps are going to be important. Any pledges you are yet to receive may be especially conservative, and those you've already received may no longer be accurate.


Also, if you are headed toward a building project, it will be crucial to make sure this continues to be the right decision for your ministry and community. Have you been planning for the project to be paid for by congregational donations? Have you considered bringing in other partners who may utilize or rent some portion of the facility, providing some sort of financial backup?


Is the design truly pertinent or are there further cost savings you could investigate? How are your architect and general contractor feeling about the quotes you all have been planning on? Do they expect this financial situation to impact your building plans?

 

Financial Impact of SVB on Churches

It's too soon to say what the full impact of the SVB bank run will be, especially on small non-profit organizations. What's up for debate isn't the impending impact, but its extent.


For now, the best thing we can recommend is keeping an eye on reliable news sources; this won't just benefit your pastoral care efforts, but help you make strategic plans for the future of your ministry. If you're ready to add someone to your team to help discern what's next, contact catherine@danielcookarchitect.com.

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