A message from your Treasurer and Stewardship Team

In early March, we launched our Pledge Drive for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, which began on May 1. You might remember that our goal for the “Bold Vision, Bright Future” campaign was $420,000. This modest figure represented no budget increases over the last year (May 1, 2018 – April 30, 2019).

We wanted to let you know that as of early May, we had not yet reached our modest goal, but our past experience tells us that the difference between the $411,000 we have raised and the goal will be made up by UUCW members and friends who do not pledge but do contribute financially each year.

Thank you for your pledges. Thank you for all you give! Your generous giving matters. We need to share some difficult truth with you, too. At the end of the Pledge Drive, we were faced with a tough choice: to come back to the congregation with a request that you increase your pledges, or to balance the 2019-2020 budget by making some uncomfortable cuts in staff compensation.

Giving to your church is a personal decision — and we trust that you give as generously as you can. Many of you remember that we have encouraged you to pledge and give 3-5% of your income to UUCW each year. We also know that many of you made five-year pledges to the Build 2020 Capital Campaign that you are also paying down. Thus, we did not make a “second ask” or do a “bump up your pledge” campaign this year.

The result is that for the second year in a row, our UUCW staff will receive no cost of living increases or pay raises of any kind. In addition, Rev. Suzelle is absorbing a 3% pay cut so that other staff salaries might be preserved at current levels. We also have eliminated professional expense budgets for all staff except Rev. Suzelle, and her professional expense budget has been cut in half. All other budget categories are equal to last year’s budget.

This is clearly not the direction we wish to go at UUCW. There is a Financial Future Task Force commissioned by the Board of Trustees looking at our income, expenses, pledging trends, membership and involvement trends, and at research from the broader knowledge base of religious communities beyond Unitarian Universalism on these same trends. Shifts in generations and their attitudes towards congregational involvement mean that what we are experiencing is far from unique. The Gallup organization reported in April that membership in churches has gone down sharply over the past decade. Over the past four years at UUCW, we have lost 19 longer-term members (deaths and people moving to be closer to children or grandchildren) whose pledges accounted for about $59,000. We have gained many lovely new members as well, but newer members rarely give at the same rate as longer-term members.

What can you do to help? Trust that UUCW is well-managed financially. Our staffing is lean for our size. We also ended the 2018-19 fiscal year with a small surplus. The Board will monitor the budget as the year unfolds to see if Rev. Suzelle’s full salary and the professional expense budgets that allow our staff to learn and grow can be restored. If you are able to increase your pledge, please do. Simply contact Vicki Banville, Church Administrator.

Thank you again for all you give. If you have questions about UUCW’s finances or budget, please contact Treasurer Leslie Peterson or Deb Ritchie Kolberg.