Northwest’s members and staff have done a great job of keeping our congregation moving forward in the past three years. Still, we are very clear – we want a full-time MINISTER to propel us into a new era and infuse our congregation with new ideas, more robust programming, and more energy.
When our congregation voted overwhelmingly last October to search for a settled minister, we knew we must increase our budget significantly to make that possible.
That’s why our 2023-2024 Pledge Drive goal is $275,800, a 12% increase over last year’s pledge drive, to lift our budget so we can move into a new era! PLEDGE INCOME WILL LIFT US INTO OUR FUTURE Pledges from Northwest's members and friends are our primary source of revenue. Pledges have traditionally been 70% of our income, which we supplement with fundraisers (Service Auctions and Rummage Sales), UUA dues paid directly by members, and outside renters. Some revenue sources disappeared or shrank dramatically during the pandemic, and pledges currently represent 83% of our income. Pledge income determines our congregation’s future!
OUR EVOLVING BUDGET A successful capital campaign completed in early 2022 (when many congregations of all denominations were struggling) allowed us to pay off our mortgage and install eight new energy-efficient furnaces, reducing our operating expenses from $101,000 to a projected $60,000 – a 40% reduction!
Reducing operating costs freed up money for program budgets, which have long been underfunded at Northwest. By doubling our program budgets in the current fiscal year, we have initiated varied programs that help us collectively live into our mission. We hope to budget $20,000 for programs next year so we can operate a summer camp for the youth, continue implementing Eighth Principle programs, invite inspiring speakers to our pulpit, train leaders, and send delegates to the General and Regional Assemblies.
One of the most significant changes brought about by the pandemic is technology's role in our congregational life. Our worship services, adult programming, committee, and congregational meetings are now all accessible in-person and remotely through Zoom. To accomplish this, we had to invest in technology, which has cost us $25,900 thus far. Personnel has always been the most essential and largest expense in our budget. Before 2020, personnel costs averaged 65% of our expenses. Since then, our staff has grown, and compensation levels have increased.
Between 2002 and 2020, Northwest staff grew from a full-time minister and three part-time employees to two full-time and five part-time employees. The minister's benefits have been expanded since 2002 and will expand further for our next minister, in keeping with current practice and ministerial expectations in the UUA. As a result, personnel costs will be a larger portion of our budget in the future. This is the cost of being an equitable and fair employer, and Northwest needs to care for its staff as much as we want them to care for all of us.
LIFTING NORTHWEST INTO THE FUTURE Our congregation is excited about the prospect of welcoming a new minister to help us find ways to make a bigger difference in the lives of our congregants, our community, and the world. To meet that goal, we need to increase our pledge giving by 10% or more this year. It is an ambitious goal, but we have been ambitious before, and we want to lift Northwest into the future!
Thank you for your generosity of spirit in your contributions of financial support, time, and talents to support Northwest's mission. Our combined giving will lift Northwest into the future, and we will all shine brighter together! FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ) How much should I pledge this year? We ask that current pledgers consider a pledge increase of 10% over last year. We recognize that some may not be able to increase and hope that others who can make larger increases will be moved to do so.
What is the challenge grant? An added incentive to increased giving is an anonymous challenge grant that will match up to $15,000 in new or increased pledges this year. Example: Current pledge: $1,000 2023-24 pledge: $1,100 (10% increase) Challenge grant $100 (paid by anonymous donor) TOTAL AMOUNT $1,200
What does it cost to operate Northwest? We project it will be $963/day in the coming year. Another way to think about it is $2,900 per member/year.
Do I have to pay my pledge now? No, your pledge is a commitment to support the church financially come July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024. Pledging allows the Board to budget with knowledge about revenue.