Dear members and friends of UUCE,
The Board of Trustees is inviting you to a Fundraising Open House/Brainstorming Session on Sunday, September 17 (yes, NEXT Sunday) from 12noon – 1:30pm in the Sanctuary.
Who is Invited?
Everyone with a stake in the future and financial health of UUCE.
As discussed in the Budget Open Houses and Annual Meeting, UUCE doesn’t have a spending problem – we have an income problem. Many of our highest pledging members are unable to donate anymore (for a variety of reasons), and the income we bring in with pledges is not enough to sustain our current state operations beyond this church year (ending June 2024). If we do not raise significant funds through alternative sources, we will unfortunately need to make some very difficult decisions about what to cut from our expenses – like staff or selling the building for example. I know this is incredibly difficult to hear, but we want to be honest with you all, our beloved community.
Why Do We Need Special Fundraising? Can’t We Just Push Harder During Stewardship?
Stewardship will remain a critical part of the survival of UUCE and we will work with the Stewardship Team as part of canvas planning. That said, we do not think that only asking our members and friends to dig deeper is a sustainable approach – we are already giving our time and money generously to the church.
To put things in perspective, this year, our pledge drive brought in $120,000. To pay staff this church year, we will need to dip in to the operating reserves because operating at our current structure costs us $140,000 – that’s a gap of $20,000. Next church year, we will not have the same reserves to lean on unless drastic changes are made.
What About the Large Donations and Bequests Made to UUCE?
Many of those donations are restricted – meaning that to honor the person who generously donated, we must spend their donation in the manner on which it was intended. So, if a donor left us money for, say, building improvements, we cannot use it to pay staff. These donations are extremely important to UUCE, but are not generally able to be used to solve operating expenses.
Wouldn’t Bringing on a Minister Help Us?
Unfortunately, no. Bringing on a minister is not something we can afford at this time, or for a little while. In order to be attractive to a minister, we need to consistently hold an operating income to support a minister for a few years prior to hiring, and be able to forecast that same budget (plus cost-of-living expenses) for a few years after the hiring. In today’s economy – that would mean an operating income of $250,000 – over double what we have currently in pledges. A part-time minister would be less, but still significantly more than what we currently have pledged, and we would still need to hold that income steady for a few years prior to hiring.
How Can I Help?
Please come to the Fundraising Open House with ideas or a willingness to brainstorm ideas with those present. Ideas can include (but are not limited to) grants, scholarships, community fundraising, increasing membership, and more. Additionally, bring a willingness to pitch in because carrying out these ideas will take a lot of human resources!
We all have passion for our community, love for one another, love for our staff, and see the potential in how UUCE can continue to be a part of the community, our spiritual paths, and in raising our children. If you have any questions before the Fundraising Open House (or anytime), please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you, and we hope to see you all on Sunday, September 17!
(on behalf of the Board of Trustees)