I am sure you want to hurt me after reading such an inane title, but lately I have been thinking about how it would be possible to save money at parishes, while at the time improving the entire parish organization. My solution would be to hire a staff with superior expertise in business administration, design and media, and web development. Oh, and they would also happen to live in another country. Don’t believe me? Well, by using Elance or Guru to outsource, you can make a marketing and administrative team that is comparable to a Fortune 500 company. In most cases – because the labor is so inexpensive – you wouldn’t even need to let go of your current staff.
Photo by Prakhar
I am a big fan of outsourcing, and even though I have had good and bad experiences with it, it has been a great value in both time and money. This blog, my new web startup (coming soon), and the web development staff that I use for my company, Pro Sulum, LLC, are outsourced. Unfortunately, due to bad publicity outsourcing has been given a bad name because it supposedly takes away jobs that Americans would normally do. I don’t believe that to be the case. There are times in which outsourcing is just simply not an option. For example, I wouldn’t have my web development staff try and build a website that requires intricate details that can only be understood by a fluent English speaking person. Same thing goes with engineering projects or jobs that require a person to be physically present. There will always be jobs for Americans, we Americans just need to adapt and become more creative.
What Should Be Outsourced in the Church?
The first thing that comes to mind that a parish should outsource is media driven content. Things like bulletin design, web design, video production, and a whole host of other items that require a certain expertise in creative talent need to be taken out of the hands of office laymen and put on the desk of professionals. I’m sorry, but do you think a name brand store would let their cashiers build and administer their website? I didn’t think so, and why should a parish do the same? A typical graphic designer charges approximately $50 per hour. I can get the same level of expertise and creativity for almost 1/5 of that price by outsourcing. What does that mean for your parish? It means that for less than you pay your office administrator you can have a graphic designer available that has the equivalent education of a Princeton graduate. The same goes for web developers, which is another easy way to make a cheap church website!
The second area that can be outsourced are pastors assistants or personal assistants. Imagine having an entire team of administrative assistants available to you that are Microsoft Office wizards, decent web developers, and could put together an event like the Super Bowl using only the telephone. Well, that’s usually the type of staff that you get when you hire them overseas. Updating church calendars, answering calls to the parish, and scheduling the priest’s week is but the tip of the iceberg of what these guys can do. I had my first personal assistant, Tazeen, look for the top 20 productivity bloggers on the Internet. I wanted the their names, email addresses, blog addresses, and their phone numbers – and I wanted her to give me a status report on her progress when 3 hours had passed. 2 hours later I had a detailed excel spreadsheet with everything I wanted and more, and she would have probably tried to sent me coffee via snail mail had I let her. Awesome. Oh, and did I mention that you can hire an assistant like this anywhere between $4.50 – $7.00 an hour?
But I want to Hire Americans!!
Don’t worry! You can still hire Americans. There a ton of providers in the United States that offer there services at a fraction of the price too! The good thing about hiring them is that you don’t have to worry about workers compensation insurance and health benefits. You can hire them for a project and move on to the next provider.
What’s the Bottom Line?
My whole point is that we need to start thinking outside of the box. Our parishes obviously don’t feel as though they have the money to spend on quality marketing (our bulletins, media, and websites suck), so why not find a cheaper way to create good content? Also, our priests are always so busy. Why not offload all of their administrative tasks onto virtual assistants so they can focus on their spiritual mission? Heck, why not hire a virtual assistant for your favorite priest and consider it your tithe for the month?
Have you had a good or bad experience outsourcing? Do you disagree with me? Let me know in the comments!
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