Board Report for December 2014
As most of us know by now, our pledge drive this fall has fallen short of the funding needed to cover our staff and programming costs as laid out in our 2015 budget. The Board wishes to assure the congregation up front that we will be deliberate and careful as we address this challenge.
The Board met with church members at the Congregational Budget Meeting on Sunday Dec. 14 to explain the situation, in which 65 households have not yet made a pledge for 2015, and 35 households have reduced their pledges in an aggregate amount of $35,000. At the time of that meeting, the total shortfall was roughly $83,000. Bar charts provided by Brady Hunsaker, Board president, helped make clear the difference between the pledge total this year and prior years.
Church members raised important questions and expressed concerns about what we should do. The Board heard members express a desire to know more about our budget and how it relates to staff and program expenses; members also want the Board to reach out to the 65 members who have not yet pledged; determine via a survey why pledges are down; and keep the congregation informed of any plans to right-size our programming or adjust our budget.
The Board held its regular meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 17, in which we sorted through our sense of the comments made at the Dec. 14 budget meeting. We then worked out a series of steps to be pursued as both short term and long term efforts to bring our budget and programming back into balance, and to determine if there are deeper concerns we should address in the future running of the church.
The actions we plan to take include making an immediate appeal to the congregation as a whole to do what you can to “fill the gap” – perhaps to increase your pledge if you can, or make a pledge if you have not yet done so. In January, we will be initiating some contacts with folks who have not pledged, first, out of concern that something may be wrong, and second, out of concern that an institutional critique may account for a reduced or with-held pledge. It would be helpful to be aware in either case.
The Board is further considering the option of conducting a survey of the full membership in teh hope that this would help us understand what it will be important to protect in the process of “rightsizing” our programming and staff structures, if that becomes necessary. We would want such a survey to include questions that may be pertinent to these issues. We will be contacting you soon about whether and when you may be asked to participate in such a survey.