This section assists a team leader in forming a budget for outreach. Your overall budget will determine the estimated cost of your assignment. But remember that these figures are guidelines for your spending; you will need to exercise flexibility in shifting money from one category to another as costs become actual. Your task is to manage funds so that your books balance. But more importantly, you must provide for your team and ensure that you meet your outreach objectives.

Budget cash
Once you have established the total team budget for your outreach, you will need to determine how much you should take with you in cash. You will spend this money for travel, housing, food, materials and supplies, tolls and airport fees, etc. 

Typically, debit cards are the simplest way to conduct these transactions and will give you the best exchange rate. However, to know if debit cards can be used en route and on location, you will have to connect with your outreach contact person to verify the availability of ATMs, so that you can withdraw your cash on location. 

Other options include taking travelers checks (but again, you need to make sure you have opportunity to cash them) or simply taking your full budget amount in cash. This last option is obviously not the most secure and can be cumbersome. 

Also, inform your bank that you will be traveling. They will inform you of extra fees for ATM use and answer any questions you have about the use of your debit card while traveling.
Finance comparisons: individual vs. team
Individuals are responsible for:
  • Activities apart from the entire team that are determined by the team leader to not be a defined part of the assignment
  • Souvenirs
  • Thank you gifts for host families unless this is delegated to a gift coordinator for the team
  • Personal hygiene items and cosmetics
The team budget covers:
  • Activities, fees, or expenses incurred during a total team activity or other activities which the team leader deems within the budget and consistent with the overall objectives of the outreach (e.g., admission fees, food, travel)
  • A project or special personal need which the team feels led to respond to that is affirmed by the local pastor/leader and is within the constraints of the budget
  • Materials and supplies necessary to accomplish the overall objectives of the outreach
  • Transportation costs directly related to the outreach objectives, including cost of checked luggage
  • Essential items used by the entire team (kitchen utensils, plates and flatware, toilet paper, etc.)

Important to note
We highly recommend that teams seek to cover all of their costs on location. If a host refuses to accept reimbursement (this can be common), then a gift should be made to the family and/or church as appropriate. Do not give large sums of money or commit to raising funds to give later. Seek to be a blessing and give an amount that is appropriate in that context.