A SECOND ASK APPEAL IN SUPPORT OF UUAA’S FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY: COULD YOU REVISE YOUR PLEDGE UPWARDS?
Dear members and friends of our beloved UUAA community:
As we move more fully into the holiday season, your UUAA leadership is hard at work attempting to craft a balanced budget for fiscal year (FY) 23. When we began our annual fundraising campaign in October, our Stewardship and Development Team shared with our community that UUAA would need $164,000 in new/additional financial pledges in order to keep staffing and programs the same for FY 23. In order to meet this challenge, every member and friend of UUAA would need to, on average, donate an additional $365 in pledging for FY 23.
This need for additional revenue is shaped partly by expense-driven pressures, such as personnel changes – UUAA’s hiring of a new Administrator in August 2022 and the planned for hiring of a new Director of Music Ministries in August 2023 – and annualized inflation rates near ten percent. In addition, there are also income-driven pressures, which include reduced Sunday plate collections (pre-pandemic to now), lower rental income, the lack of an auction in recent years, and the fact that our community has lost a significant percentage of its Spiritual Growth and Development (SGD) families over the course of the pandemic.
We would like to first extend a heartfelt thank you to all who have submitted pledges for FY 23. You are the reason why UUAA is able to bring alive our community’s values in the world. We have some successes to share with you regarding our FY 23 stewardship drive. The number of members and friends who have increased their pledges for FY 23 is at a historical high for UUAA, currently at 46% of the pledges received to-date. The total value of decreased pledges to-date is less than last year’s campaign. In addition, UUAA has received more new and first-time pledges to-date than in the previous year’s campaign. These are superb indicators, ones that we should each take some measure of pride in. Our community is doing good, meaningful work, and a large number of our existing and new congregants are deepening their financial commitment to UUAA in support of such.
Despite these positive indicators, we are on track to finish our FY 23 stewardship campaign with roughly the same amount of total pledge income as FY 22, or perhaps modestly better. As such, our projections indicate that if we were to close our stewardship campaign without a second ask, UUAA would likely face a shortfall of $150,000 for FY 23. This amount is so significant, in a budget in which staffing and mortgage servicing are our community’s primary expenses, that we have begun, with deep sadness, to plan for significant staff cuts. If we were to close our stewardship campaign today, UUAA might need to eliminate as many as three full-time equivalents (FTEs) in order to have a balanced budget for FY 23.
We are aware that needing to eliminate such a high number of paid staff positions, on top of previous staff team reductions, would be deeply grief-laden for us as a community. We are also holding in our hearts the knowledge that upon learning about FY 22 staff reductions, a number of congregants expressed that if they had known that staffing might be cut that they would have significantly raised their pledges.
This is your opportunity to do so, and we lovingly invite every member and friend of UUAA to consider this appeal. If your financial circumstances allow it, please take a moment to click here and submit an increased pledge for FY 23.
In the worst-case scenario, UUAA might lose 2 to 3 staff positions in January, but at best, if we pull together and our community’s members and friends revise their pledges upwards, we might get real lucky – we might be able to only eliminate one position, or possibly even save all of our staff positions. Your response to this appeal will be critical to the best possible outcome – maintaining as many staff positions as UUAA can afford – and we invite you to respond today, as soon as you can. This appeal will close on December 20th, after which UUAA will craft a budget for FY 23 with the financial pledges that we have in hand, whatever the total amount may be.
We appreciate your dedication and commitment to our UUAA community. We believe in ‘us,’ we believe in you, and we believe in UUAA’s future. With the belt tightening that UUAA has been engaging in over the course of the pandemic, and the anticipated monies from UUAA’s recent Capital Campaign, we do see light at the end of the tunnel. Once UUAA’s mortgage is fully paid off – within the next 3 to 4 years – the significant operational funding that is currently going to debt servicing won’t be needed for that purpose. The re-direction of those monies will help stabilize our annual budget – potentially supporting staffing as well as other critical areas, such as UUAA’s Priority Area work. We need your financial generosity as we strive to get from today to a brighter tomorrow.
As a reminder, if you are interested in learning more about UUAA’s finance and budgetary functions, Administrator Deb Markum will be holding the second of two Budget Information Sessions on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022 at 6:30pm virtually. All are welcome. Please email Deb at firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP and receive the needed link for this meeting.
Thank you, in advance, for deeply considering your financial commitment to UUAA for FY 23 and for increasing it the maximum that you may be able to.
REALIZING OUR VISION
As a community, we envision a future of radical welcome, anti-racism/anti-oppression, and climate justice. Join us to LIFT UP this vision for the future to protect our planet and honor our sibling humans. We understand that with every action we take now, we are creating the world we will leave to future generations.
CURRENT CHALLENGES — LIFT UP AN ADDITIONAL $1.00 PER PERSON, PER DAY
Many of us have experienced significant challenges while navigating life with COVID-19. The work of our community has changed rapidly — we are doing more with fewer resources while facing additional challenges:
• UUAA recently hired a professional administrator for a critical leadership position, replacing a volunteer who served for seven years.
• We are planning to search for a permanent music director in 2023.
• Due to inflation and significant increases in costs, the UUAA budget shortfall in 2023 is estimated at $164,000.
This shortfall could be covered through the LIFT UP campaign if each member/friend increases their annual commitment by an additional $365.
AT THIS TIME, MORE THAN EVER, IT IS CRUCIAL THAT WE LIFT UP THOSE AROUND US
In the coming days, take time to reflect on what this community means to you. LIFT UP the ways you feel most connected, consider what you value at UUAA, and reflect on the reasons you give to keep this congregation thriving. Ask yourself if you can LIFT UP someone else — a congregant who is struggling, a person who is nourished by our congregation just as you are.
LIFT UP NOW, EVEN DURING TIMES OF CHALLENGE
Members and friends, please increase your pledge by an extra dollar a day to ensure that UUAA meets the current challenges and continues to thrive in the future. A pledge increase may be simple for some and challenging but achievable for others. For those among us who are facing financial hardship, an increased pledge may be impossible. You can choose to LIFT UP more than $365 per person to help other congregants.
PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR PLEDGE ON OR BEFORE SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 13th.
The future arrives with each breath that we take and our legacy lives in the choices we make today. Together, we can LIFT UP our community.
Make your pledge: Click here to make a pledge to the 2023 Lift Up campaign via Realm.
Or you can download a hard copy pledge form to turn in to the UUAA office by November 13th.
UUAA’s Stewardship and Development Team
Dixie Hibner, Beth Hospadaruk, Elizabeth LaPorte, Margie Teall, Toni Wander, Ed Lynn, Deb Markum, Mike Halerz, Rev. Cassandra Hartley, and Rev. Manish Mishra-Marzetti