We’re gearing up to officially begin the Annual Budget Drive on February 16. Gene Lambirth is the chair this year. Here are a few things we really want every UUCA Member to know. If you can help distribute this information informally, that would be a big help.
- This campaign will be more low-key than normal. No kick-off sermon, no weekly appeals, although you may hear stories about changing lives.
- The campaign’s theme is “We Change Lives.” We hope that hearing how this congregation and/or denomination has a role in directly changing the lives of people you know will inspire all of us to increase our giving.
- Beginning this year, we are establishing the Sustained Commitment. We will assume that if we do not receive a commitment form from a member/friend, the commitment they made for 2013-14 will continue as their commitment during 2014-15. This stops the madness of tracking down people for a completed form(!), allows us to redeploy volunteers and acknowledges that we estimate our next year’s income and budget on good guesses by a few key volunteers.
Why We Ask People to Increase Their Commitments Each Year
This short video by the Eau Clare, WI UU congregation explains the basics of an annual budget drive in a great way. Although we have no big wish list this year, we are asking people to increase their giving to UUCA. Below are a few reasons why:
- First, though the US inflation rate is a manageable 2 or less percent per year, it still means that every year we need to raise at least 2 percent more to keep “even.”
- Second, and far more significantly, we have been purposefully spending more money than we “earn” (from commitment payments) as part of a 5-year plan adopted by the Board 3 years ago. This plan enabled us to take on a full-time second minister and an experienced DLRE. Every year, the subsidy we allocated ourselves gets smaller and smaller meaning we need more money than last year just to keep “even.”
- Unfortunately, “even” isn’t good enough. Some of our expenses are going up. They go up annually because:
- Cost-of-living increases (at the Social Security rate) are granted each year for all staff to keep up with inflation.
- Health insurance increases at least 6 percent a year for all eligible staff
- The Asheville Living Wage (http://justeconomicswnc.org/what-we-do/) went up substantially last year.
- Technology costs go up as we add, repair and replace computers and other electronic equipment for staff and congregation uses (ever use a UUCA-owned computer or projector or TV for a meeting?)
- Buildings and grounds costs have historically been held too low, thereby deferring necessary maintenance. We use and maintain 3 buildings with the newest building more than 40 years old.
If you have any questions about this information, please ask. If your friends are asking questions, please supply correct answers or ask for more information if you need it. This is important to the life of the congregation. As our congregation’s covenant says, “Our life together declares that the future of each depends on the good of all and the future of all depends on the good of each.” We need the contributions of each of us, at whatever level we can manage, to support the very reason we exist: to nurture our individual searches for meaning through worship, education and interaction while we work together for freedom, justice and love among ourselves and out in the world.
Thanks Linda for the talking points. They provide the opportunity for caring, consistent, and constant coffee hour conversations ’cause those are always good.
Agree with Michael. Very thoughtful layout of the plan, the whys, the wherefores, etc. Will some version of this be on the website or elsewhere for general consumption? Also, do you know if ABD is planning on doing any kind of bulletin board/visual thing and/or skipping that this year? (no opinion really)
Things will show up hither and yon. There will be multiple, informative emails to folks throughout the campaign among other attempts at proper communication. There will be no Sandburg Hall visuals, except perhaps a posted poster (the one you got at the Winter Tea for large donors). These posters will be available to all starting on Sunday.
I like the idea of assuming that current members will continue with commitment………but also hope that many will complete new forms with an increased amount.
Is anyone looking into the implications of Affordable Health Care (Obamacare) as a possible health insurance alternative for UUCA employees?
I like the idea of sustained commitment. It’s a reminder for those who just never got around to it, and if they did intentionally decide not to pledge, they can notify us.
UUCA employees are eligible and many employees carry insurance through the UUA health plan. Open enrollment to that plan occurred in November. The ACA was (and is) in great flux. Consequently, here is an excerpt of a note we sent to employees in mid-November:
We believe that staying with the UUA Health Plan this year is in our best interests. First of all, the federal program is still very confusing and the pricing is uncertain. We want to avoid making multiple insurance changes in the next few years. Second, we agree with the UUA that health insurance coverage for employees is a justice, fairness and equity issue and appreciate that the plan is managed with those as guiding principles. Third, it is extremely satisfying to all members of the plan that we have a UUA person to call (who answers the phone!) when we have questions or problems with our insurance coverage.
We also urged employees to compare what they might pay for UUA health insurance to those available through the Exchange. Anyone who could save money by joining the exchange was urged to do so.
We will revisit SHOP (the healthcare exchange for small businesses) next fall, assuming that by then the information is both more available and stable.
Also ought to point out that on November 27, 2013, after we had made the decision to stick with the UUA healthcare plan, the Washington Post reported: “The Obama administration announced today it would delay a significant piece of the health-care law: the online small business insurance marketplace. The Small Business Health Options Program, known as the SHOP exchange, will not offer online enrollment until November 2014, a one-year delay from a launch that was initially planned for this past October.”
It’s worth mentioning here that the revised bylaws require both Voting Members and Contributing Friends to both complete an annual commitment form and make a recorded contribution.
Board and staff have had a few conversations around this. Now that we’ve moved to sustaining commitments, we are interpreting the bylaw to mean that at some point we have a written commitment from each Member. A “form” does not to have to be completed annually, but a written declaration of commitment needs to be on file upon which our expectation of income is based.
I looked into it. It was a no-brainer – coverage was much better with UUCA.