Budget Update, The Bottom Line: OUUC is expecting a significant budget shortfall in 2018. We presented much of the following information to 20 or so congregants at a budget update meeting after 2nd service on November 19. They provided many ideas about how to address the shortfall and requested the board send out a written communication (this update).
In short, we are projecting 2018 revenue to reduce from our 2017 $501,000 budget to $470,000, a $30,000 (7%) reduction. Frankly, we need to raise additional revenue and cut expenses. Congregants have been generous in our stewardship drive, 97 of you increased your pledges. Our reduced revenue is the result of several factors, outlined below.
Our Ask: Congregants at Sunday’s budget meeting recommended that we inform the congregation about our budget situation and ask Members and Friends to consider adding to their 2018 pledges. Attendees agreed that people should be given the information we provided at the meeting because the consequences of reducing the budget are compelling. In fact, three people immediately increased their pledge at the end of the meeting, totaling $1,340! People did not agree on whether we should ask for a percent increase or an increase per person, so I’ll provide information on both. OUUC is expecting about 237 pledging units in 2018, the same as 2017. If each of those increase their pledges by $100, we’ll have an additional $23,600. We know some people are maxed out, some can do more and some less. If we look at the percentage, we’d need everyone to increase their pledges a minimum of 5% to raise $23,500. Both of these asks take our revenue to about $493,000, 98% of our 2017 budget. We are asking you to review your pledge and consider an increase if that works for you and your family.
Why is our revenue projection so much lower? Our congregation is aging. Long-term members are retiring, moving away, and passing away. It takes multiple new pledges, which generally start at lower amounts, to replace one larger pledge from a long time member. Some members are experiencing financial challenges and reduced incomes. Others might have reduced their pledge or left the church due to concerns about the transition of our settled Minister. Nationwide, church membership and pledging have decreased and many churches are struggling. OUUC’s membership is maintaining, but our average pledge has decreased over the past few years with the aging of our congregation.
Stewardship Overview: Our largest number of pledges (67) fall between $500 and $999. Our average pledge for 2018 is projected to be $1,708, more than $150 less than our 2017 average. We have received 181 pledges below $1,708 and 76 pledges above. If our pledge average remained at the 2017 level, we would have an additional $40,000!
2018 Budget Overview: The original budget we created included a 3% salary increase for staff, some funding for our community minister to lead our social justice initiatives, and assumed a 5% increase in health care insurance. The budget totaled approximately $513,000, a 2.4% increase over 2017.
Responding to the Budget Shortfall: Once it became clear we would have a budget shortage, The Board decided to refinance our KeyBank mortgage to a 15 or 20-year loan, reducing our budget $10,000 – $15,000 per year. This made our budget flat compared to 2017. We then eliminated raises for staff and funding for social justice staffing. We also learned there would be no healthcare increase for 2018. These reductions reduced our budget to $489,000, still $19,000 more than our projected revenue. We have not yet decided what expenses to reduce next, but frankly at this level of deficit, if we are not able to make up this shortfall, we will need to reduce staff hours by 10-15%. Other suggestions at our Sunday budget meeting were to add a fundraising event (New Year’s Eve Party), and to increase/add fees for religious education and the choir.
What’s next? I (Wendy Tanner, Treasurer) will be available between services and after 2nd service in The Commons during the next two Sundays to provide budget information and answer questions. I will continue to modify the budget to add additional revenue and adjust expenses up until the board votes on the budget at the November 28 board meeting. The final budget will be provided to the congregation 1 week in advance of our December 15 congregational meeting, where the congregation will vote on whether to accept the budget as presented.
What does our budget support? OUUC is a community of members and friends. It takes all of us to pitch in to carry out our mission, vision and ends. OUUC has excellent music and religious education programs. We are supportive of local community programs, global initiatives, social justice and environmental initiatives. We support our members and friends and care about each other. We learn from each other and support our spiritual growth. We are amazing volunteers and when we put our heads together, we accomplish some amazing things, like supporting Camp Quixote, hosting Books, Beans and Brownies, and expanding our building and parking lot. We are glad you are here and thank you very much for the support you have provided to our community.
What do I need to do to increase my pledge? The Stewardship Committee asks that if you want to raise your pledge, you do the following: Email our OUUC Administrator or pledge online. If you are increasing your pledge, please enter ‘$X increase for 2018’ in the amount field of the pledge form. Thank you for your consideration!
If you have further questions or comments about the budget, please contact me, Wendy Tanner.