Track your data!
I realize it takes time to keep a record of what goes on in your ministry, but it's absolutely necessary.
When you work with people your job is never done. It's easy to get frustrated when you don't see immediate progress in your ministry. By tracking what you do each month you can see how God is at work. It's like relatives that haven't seen your kids in a long time. "Wow! You have really grown!" I don't see much change but they sure do.
Finances are an important part of your ministry. The business world is interested in the "bottom line." Money coming in had better be more than the money going out! I use a simple Excel spreadsheet to track this information. On the left hand side I put the names of the donors and their address. At the top I list each month. On the far right hand side that person's total gifts are totalled. At the bottom the total month's gifts are summed up. This spreadsheet is used in your budget process and to keep your mailing list lean and effective.
I track expenses with a similar table. The left hand column states the names, then a brief description of the expense and how much each cost.
When I get a receipt I write the date on the top left and the amount on the top right. The name of the store is always at the top of the receipt. The date and total, however, are in somewhat random positions. If you write that data when you get the receipt, it's much faster to enter into the spreadsheet. I am about saving time so I can get back to ministry.
Every two weeks I go through the envelope where I keep the receipts and enter all the data. If you keep on a two week schedule the data entry job doesn't become too overwhelming.
I experience what I call "the research paper syndrome." Do you remember when you had a big paper due in school? There was so much to do that the job almost paralyzed you. Avoid this by sticking to your dead lines! It normally takes me about forty-five minutes to enter all the donations and expenses every two weeks.
I also track people resources. How many volunteers, when they came, where they're from, where they worked and what they did.
The result of their work is the most important information I track: who made a decision, where do they live and what their telephone number is. It's critical that your teams who lead people to Christ gather that data, otherwise we have no way to follow up and disciple them!
Your supporters are vitally interested in people getting saved. Let them praise the Lord for His goodness and generosity! So track your data!