This article repeats information presented at the annual Congregational Budget Meeting on December 8.
The church is in a period of transition. Change is demanding work and requires extra resources, both spiritual and financial. We hope that the church is helping you find those additional spiritual resources. In return, we request that you think of the church in your year end giving, to help the church have the extra financial resources that it needs.
Giving statements for the fourth quarter have either been sent out electronically or are being sent out by mail. The statements include information from January 1 to November 30. These statements are intended to help you confirm where you are with your pledge payments. If you have an account for the online directory (Breeze), you can also go to giving page on your profile to see your donations and pledge payment status.
Final giving statements for all of 2019 will be sent in January. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at church or via email at email@example.com. If you need a refresher on reading the new giving statements produced by Breeze, please refer back to my April Blog post.
Before getting into the gritty details of balancing a budget, let's start with the big picture. This is a healthy congregation and a vibrant place in the larger community. Supporting an enterprise with a strong spirit and a $500K budget is no small thing. Yes, we would like to do more and have more ease around our finances. However, without giving up on that aspiration, let us also acknowledge and celebrate how much we are doing. The next time you are church, look around you and appreciate what you make possible with your contributions of passion, time, and money.
The 2020 operating budget adopted by the Board at the November meeting reflects income of $521.5K and expenses of $542.5K, for a net projected deficit of $21K.
The 2020 pledge drive ended with pledges of $405,500, about the same as we had in December 2018 for the 2019 pledge drive. I thank the Annual Pledge Drive Committee for their diligence in soliciting pledges and the congregation for your generous support. Pledges continue to be the main source of income, contributing almost 74%. The church is also fortunate to have income from its Endowment and legacy gifts, the second largest source of income at almost 10%.
Income for 2020 is projected to increase by about $24K. We are anticipating an increase in rental income of about $9.5K based on our experience this year. There has been an increase in wedding rentals and concerts, and we already have 7 weddings scheduled for 2020. We aren’t sure of the reason, but having an air conditioned sanctuary in summer is probably helping. The budget includes $7.5K of the proceeds of the 2019 Fantasy Auction, an increase from $4K in the 2019 budget. Finally, the Board decided to apply a one time grant of $10K that the church has received from the UUA Wake Now Our Vision program. The rest is a combination of smaller changes, both increases and decreases.
Expenses for 2020 are projected to increase by $60.5K over 2019. In large part, this is due to returning to having a full time minister after being a lay led congregation for the first half of 2019. Trying to make an apples to apples comparison with the 2018 budget is also difficult due to the number of changes in staff positions combined with the fact that staff compensation makes up 70% of the budget. The only significant increase in non-staff costs is 10% or $4K for utilities. In large part this reflects learning the actual costs of operating the geothermal heating/cooling system. Instead of a modest reduction in cost, there is a slight increase. In return for this we now have a comfortable sanctuary in the summer, not a bad trade-off.
In order to keep the deficit affordable within church reserves, the Board did make about $7K in program cuts relative to the August draft budget and the 2019 budget. This was done without reducing any staff hours and provides a partial cost of leaving increase. It also moves the church toward the goal of providing a living wage, by increasing the minimum compensation to $13/hr for $12/hr in 2019 and $10/hr in 2018. Cuts were spread across all discretionary program items, including guest musicians and artists, guest speakers, and various RE costs.