by Steve Saddlemire, Chair, Finance Committee
This church year was another one of change for UUCWC with the need for many ministries and committees to remain flexible and able to react quickly. The Finance Committee was no exception. As we approach the end of fiscal year 2022, we are proud about what we’ve accomplished to make UUCWC a more sound, accountable and dynamic organization. We aren’t just about numbers either!
Our Committee continues to bring visibility to the financial dealings of the church. Working closely with all groups, staff and the Board, we created and monitored a 2021-22 budget that was dynamic, challenging and reflective of the congregation’s needs and desires. The up-coming 2022-23 budget represents an important new investment in the future of UUCWC and its vision to Create Community, Celebrate Life and Change the World.
With the growth of UUCWC and addition of new members, there comes a need to update the financial methods used by the church. We now serve a geographically diverse community of over 350 (275 members and additional friends and participants) and our multi-platform approach required investing in up-to-date audio/visual systems allowing communication with congregants outside our immediate area. The following are some of the specific tasks we accomplished to meet the new church environment:
• Moved our accounting system to a Cloud-based application. The hiring of a part time staff position, Lynne Quinto, as Comptroller and transitioning functions that will remove the burden previously performed by volunteers (Treasurer, Bookkeeper, Church Administrator) to a dedicated staff person. This allows for cleaner accountability and continuity.
• Created a more inclusive budget process and asking for input, as opposed to assigning a number, from committees who impact the budget. The Auction committee is one example.
• Created more robust fund raising programs, for e.g., moving to the AMAZON SMILE program (be sure to enroll and then sign on to make sure UUCWC gets contribution).
• Introduced the Raise Right/SCRIPTS program—a new and exciting way to do your normal shopping (grocery, clothes, restaurants, and a WIDE variety of stores) using pre-purchased cards that will provide UUCWC with monies. It is a new and easy way to shop by which UUCWC could greatly benefit.
• Revised church rental policies to reflect changes since COVID.
As we move forward, we’re excited to be progressing on a variety of on-going projects and also looking at initiatives that will help bring continuity and further transparency to how UUCWC’s finances are handled. We are a solid mid-size church and it’s important to handle our finances as such. These activities include but are not limited to:
• Creating consistency and clearer understanding of responsibilities among key personnel within the church when it comes to finance;
• Establishing procedures for managing operational and facility maintenance reserve fund;
• Continuing to examine and implement changes as outlined by the 2021 audit report;
• Begin to create a covenant to better explain what Finance does with direct action statements tied to UUCWC;
• Working with Stewardship to examine contributions and to educate the congregation about giving in the context of the new membership demographics and dynamics;
• Identifying a future Finance chair and begin shadowing of responsibility for a smooth transition after 2022-2023;
• Examining the use of auction funds and create a more dynamic use of funds; and
• Continuing to work with the Board on a strategy of giving to support the dynamic needs of our changing congregation.
Thanks to Joe Schenk, Mary Baltycki, Holly Bussey, Klaus Zechner, Ron Iannacone, John Unger, Barbara Drew, George Faulkner and Wendy Stasolla for their dedication and hard work in making this past year such a great success.