As we close out this year, you're likely still busy with preparations for Christmas services. While realizing that time is a precious commodity, there are a few simple things you can do now to prepare for the New Year.

Tip 1: Gather up-to-date mailing addresses

You'll send out donation receipts in January, so now is a good time to make sure your database is current.

Send a mass email to everyone who gave financially this year and ask for updated mailing address. If you don't have email addresses for everyone, put a request in the bulletin and/or spread the word via a mass voicemail or text message.

Tip 2: Purchase supplies

Speaking of donation receipts, go ahead and send in your order for the envelopes, paper and/or letterhead you'll need to mail them out in January.

Also, if your pastor likes to add a short note to these mailouts, see if he can start drafting that in December. You might take last year's note, make a few changes and send him a draft he can use as a starting point.

Tip 3: Prepare to delegate

If you're a one-person show when it comes to various year-end processes, you may find the workload is increasing as your church grows. This means you need to start finding ways to spread out the workload.

Have another staff member or intern shadow you as you handle year-end tasks. This person should document what you're doing along the way. Once you have those processes documented, you can start determining to whom you could delegate certain tasks in the future.

Tip 4: Process purchase orders

January is a busy month if you handle finances for a church.

However, the rest of the staff will still need to make purchases that month. Ask them to submit purchase requests early so you can process them before your schedule gets too overwhelming.

Tip 5: Draft the annual report

If your church provides an annual report to the congregation, you can make progress on getting it ready even before you close this year's books.

Start with what you produced last year (if applicable) and clear out last year's data. Talk with your pastor about what he wants to include in this year's report. Ask department/ministry leaders to start drafting their sections of the report.

December is a busy time for church staff, but hopefully you can take a few simple steps to prepare for the coming year. Don't forget to take at least a few days off once Christmas services are over. Get some rest and recharge so you can hit the ground running in the New Year.