Highlighting Our Financial Health

by Joe Schenk, Treasurer

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I present three topics for your consideration this month:

Stewardship Campaign
A huge thank you to the 73% of members and friends who have forwarded pledges for the coming year (July 2023 – June 2024). For those who have not pledged, it is easy to do via the UUCWC website. We are seeking 100% participation, which means that everyone in the community, (member, friend, participant) offers a financial affirmation at some level. If you are able to increase your past giving, please do so. Our church expenses for utilities, technology, and cost of living raises have all increased in the last 3 years. In order to avoid a deficit budget we need more participation and increased giving wherever possible.

Financial Sustainability Task Force Survey Update
You may recall that at last June’s Annual Meeting, the budget approved for fiscal year July, 2022 – June 2023 included a deficit of $16,000 and projected a $38,000 deficit for the following year. The deficit spending is financed by savings which accumulated over the past several years. Recognizing that deficit spending is not sustainable, the Board of Trustees pledged to pursue a long term solution and convened a Financial Sustainability Task Force tasked with studying the UUCWC culture around money, giving and spending.

The Task Force commissioned a survey that was completed last fall with results presented in December. I will summarize some highlights after first thanking those that responded to the survey – 140 responses were received! Highlights of the survey:

•About a third of members seem willing to increase their pledge in the coming years, especially once the capital campaign requests are completed. Another third may be willing to do so.
• Members prefer receiving financial/stewardship education as a part of congregational meetings.
• New members wish to learn more about our financial status…. Many are retired and do, or wish to contribute to UUCWC.
• Members expressed concerns about debt, deficits budgets, staffing and capital campaign expenditures.
• High donors make up a large portion of our income, and may be vulnerable as a group to decrease pledges due to moving on, or having relatively fixed income.
• A majority of congregants are comfortable with the variety of financial asks throughout the fiscal year. 24% are neutral or disagree.
• A minority of congregants consider themselves familiar with the Endowment and its funding via bequests. 52% are neutral or disagree.
• There is a substantial segment (32%) that are likely to increase their stewardship pledge as their Capital Campaign contributions end and another 26% are unsure.

There will be an opportunity to hear more about the survey results and the Financial Sustainability Task Force’s findings at the Congregational Budget Meeting Scheduled for May 21st at 11:15am (following the Sunday Service).

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I wish to recognize and thank the hard work of the Sustainability Task Force Members: Marianne Alt, Heather Edwards, Mike Hanson, Ron Iannacone and John Unger.
Plan to attend the May 21st Congregational Budget Meeting to hear more!

UUCWC Financial Update
Year to Date income and expense statements through the end of February are trending closer to being balanced as we approach the end of our fiscal year in June. This would be a significant reversal of the $38,000 deficit that is part of the approved budget.

• Income to date is close to budget including pledges (77% of budgeted income).
• Expenses to date are well under budget with significant positive variances in Payroll, Building, Grounds and Utilities.

The positive outlook is based on a continuation of positive income trends including Pledge Payments and Fund Raising with the most significant event, the Annual Auction, still to come. On the expense side, savings in Payroll are attributable to staff benefits that were finalized last fall. Under-spends in Building Maintenance, Grounds and Utilities may get consumed with spring projects but we are likely to significantly reduce the budgeted deficit.

Our accounts are healthy with operating reserves in excess of 6 months of expenses. Liquid assets are at $1.2 million with $928k in reserve. The largest reserve funds are the Capital Campaign at $708k and the Facility Reserve Fund at $161k. Additionally, the Endowment Fund is at $277k. The Endowment Fund was established some years ago and continues to grow with gifts from friends and memorial bequests. The UUCWC Endowment is managed using the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Common Endowment Fund in socially conscious, sustainable and managed investments.