Strengthening Our Interdependent Web
Campaign – March 2018
“Generosity and gratitude, both, are about how we use our time, talents and treasures. It is about how the outpouring of those spiritual gifts can reach, touch and transform the world, transforming us in the meantime.” – Fishing Tips, Rev. Dr. John Pentland
Our seventh principle affirms and promotes respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
Westwood’s 2018 stewardship campaign invites you to reflect on our place in that web and ways we can strengthen it.
The campaign features:
- A Message from our Stewardship Coordinator– Brenda Jackson
- A Message from our Minister Rev. Anne Barker
- A Message from our Board Chair, Lorian Kennedy
- Westwood’s Dollars and Sense from our Treasurer, Jacqueline Willette (see below)
For those who prefer paperless communication, we provide Westwood members and friends with the following forms:
Westwood – Dollars and Sense
Strengthening Our Interdependent Web
Stewardship at Westwood –“We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.“
Here’s another gem: “Ask not what your country can do for you. Rather ask what you can do for your country.” I don’t claim to know what one of J.F.Kennedy’s headmasters meant when he said that. I do know what the quotes mean to me. The best way to feel motivated, energized, and feel a greater sense of purpose in life is to give to and help others; and the more you do and give, the more connected you feel with the rest of the interconnected web. I believe that my enjoyment of Westwood is greatly enhanced by my participation in it
As Westwood’s Treasurer this year, it is my task to explain the financial side of this year’s Stewardship Campaign. You’ll be hearing from our Stewardship Coordinator about opportunities to generously share your time and talents this coming year as well.
Where have our financial resources come from in the 2017/2018 year?
Westwood receives funds from rentals, interest, and fundraising (this year, the fundraiser was a casino) but, by far, the most important source of funding for Westwood is the contributions from its members and friends. Westwood aims to be, and is, a diverse community in many ways. You will often hear a service leader say something like: “We welcome all persons of goodwill whatever their culture, colour, class, religion, gender, wealth, or the direction of their affections.” We are not all the same and this is appropriately reflected in our giving.
The table below analyzes Westwood’s giving patterns by adding up predicted monthly pledged contributions in 2017/2018 and dividing the sum by four, or into quarters. This year, the smallest quartile group (6 individuals) is contributing an average of $430 each per month. The next quartile group is comprised of 9 individuals who have pledged an average of $280 each per month. The third quartile group is 12 individuals who have pledged an average of $163 each per month. The largest quartile group is comprised of 26 individuals who have promised to make an average monthly donation of $70 each per month. The table also includes the range within each quartile group i.e. low and high amounts donated.
Please note the numbers below do not include several members and friends who donate sporadically. Their donations are captured under supplementary contributions with $2000 being the projected total. The 2017-18 budget also includes a likely $1000 from anonymous donations.
|Congregational Giving Patterns in 2017/2018 – Sharing the Responsibility|
|Westwood individual members and friends|
|who are donating 25% of the contributions|
|Quartile||% of Donors in the group||# of Donors in the group||Average Donation per Month||Range||Amount Donated by Quartile per Month||Average Donation per Year|
Similar to previous years, this year’s stewardship campaign uses information (like this table) from “Beyond Fundraising: A Complete Guide to Congregational Stewardship” by Wayne B. Clark copyright 2007.
Membership & Friendship
Westwood has 75 members and numerous friends who provide financial and volunteer support to the congregation. Westwood continues to gain a few new friends and members every year, but at the same time, some friends and members move away or become less active.
Some of our members and friends are able to offer significant time, talent, &/or treasure to the Westwood community. Some of our members and friends are not able to provide much in the way of volunteer support; others have very limited financial resources, either temporary or ongoing. When our circumstances change, we adjust accordingly, as in all aspects of our lives. There is no membership fee at Westwood Unitarian. It is up to each of us as part of a faith community, to contribute what we can and how we can.
Proposal: Balanced Budget – an increase in contributions and continued fundraising activities
The proposed budget for 2018 – 2019 maintains current programs, including worship services, religious education, youth programming and Winter Solstice and includes a 1.2% increase (COLA) for staff. The Board is also proposing the addition of a new Outreach Program for Children and Youth which is presently being piloted. The Board, in cooperation with Rev. Anne and CYRE Director Ilara, is learning about new opportunities to bring our UU message to the world, but it isn’t fleshed out enough to share at the moment. Likely, some money will be needed for those initiatives, but not yet.
Our goal this year is to achieve at least $125,000 in pledged, supplementary and anonymous contributions. This is about 1.5% more than the 2017 – 2018 budget. The goal for ‘Other Revenue’ is $56,500, comprised of $9,000 in rental revenue, $10,000 in FUNdraising, $27,000 saved from this year’s casino revenue, and the remainder generated from rebates and interest. We have also planned on saving a significant proportion of the casino revenue for use in 2018/2019, and beyond (we hope).
What are our expenses?
Programs: 31% or $55,500 includes a portion of the minister’s salary and related professional expenses, the director of religious education’s salary and related expenses, childcare expenses, religious education, communication (mostly web site hosting), Lay Chaplain, social justice, youth group, membership, pastoral care, and hospitality
Worship: 25.5% or $46,500 includes a portion of the minister’s salary and related professional expenses, worship speakers, worship accompanists and the choir accompanist as well as other worship expenses
Administrative Expenses: 15% or $27,500 includes the administrator’s salary, minister supervision of staff, copying, telephone, internet, maintenance contracts
Outreach: 11% or $19,000 includes Winter Solstice, Chaplaincy activities at the University of Alberta, and the proposed Child & Youth Outreach program
Building Expenses: 11% or $19,000 covers building operations (utilities, janitorial services, insurance) and building maintenance as well as setting aside money for large future expenses (e.g. furnace,
Denominational Fees: 6% or $11,000 As a member congregation in the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) Westwood contributes $100 per member per year. There are also denominational events like the Western Fall Gathering that we participate in.
FUNdraising: 1.5% or $3,000 is about how much it cost us to put on our FUNdraiser in the spring of 2017. We would anticipate a similar expense next year.
Total Expenses: $181,500
Where do we want our financial resources to come from in the future?
Our financial concerns have been somewhat alleviated by participating in a casino this year; the resources from the proceeds will be used to supplement our budget this year and next, hopefully longer. Despite the high participation rate of volunteers in the casino, we are aware that it is not the preferred source of funds for many people. Westwood’s ability to invite all people to rest, grow, and serve the world depends upon the financial resources we are able to access.
What’s My Fair Share?
It’s not necessarily easy to decide on the right amount to pledge.
The UUA’s Suggested Fair-Share Giving Guide offers an interesting perspective to help tackle the question of “how much is right for me?” The guide is progressive i.e.once your basic needs are met, it’s a case of ‘the more you have, the more generous you can afford to be.’
Using the Giving Guide is a simple, 3-step process.
| Step One: Determine your financial resources.Often we think about our financial resources as a monthly or annual amount and budget our financial commitments accordingly, but you may calculate on any time frame that works for you. For convenience, the guide shows both monthly and annual income levels. Determine what your financial resources are: $_______/month or $_______/year.|
ADD to your income any periodic or unusual income, such as inheritances, business income, anticipated investment income, etc.
SUBTRACT any unusual expenses, such as large medical expenses, care of a parent, or a large financial expense, etc.
Result: $_________ This is your Adjusted Monthly/Annual Income.
Each of us will have our own unique circumstances to consider in making this calculation. The flexibility to include meaningful and unusual exceptions in your financial life (income and expenses) is what makes the Guide fair and useful. This is a tool for you to use in the spirit of the Congregationalist tradition; we are individually and collectively responsible for resourcing our movement and our congregations. This is an honor system; only you know your circumstances.
|Step Two: Consider your commitment and connection to the Westwood community and its activities|
In making your decision, review the four commitment levels below and how they relate to your membership. Consider your UU values in thinking about your income and your financial commitment to the congregation, as expressed in the four levels below. Note that within each commitment level, the guide is progressive, with giving levels rising as financial capacity rises.
|Step Three: Locate your suggested pledge on the chart.|
From the Adjusted Monthly Income column, move to the right to find a suggested giving level that you are ready to support, between 2% and 10%, depending on adjusted income and level of commitment. Interpolate between guide levels if needed.
2-6% of Income
3-7% of Income
5-9% of Income
10% of Income
Adjusted Monthly Income
Adjusted Annual Income
Suggested % of Income
Suggested % of Income
Suggested % of Income
Suggested % of Income
Here are some daring questions to consider:
- Has my income changed in the past while; is this reflected in my contribution to Westwood’s Mission?
- Are there other areas of my budget that could be trimmed a bit in order to increase my contribution to Westwood’s activities and aspirations?
- Would I miss any one of these items in a week: a latte, a glass of wine or beer, a fast food meal?
- Would I miss a dollar a day in order to make our interdependent web stronger?
- What about a quarter a day?
- What difference would it make (to me, to people I know, to the community) if Westwood ceased to exist?
- What role do I want to play in Westwood’s goals/activities?
If you’ve never contributed on a regular basis before, please consider doing so this year. If you tell us your intentions in advance (i.e. pledge), we are able to use that information to plan our expenditures.
If you are already a regular contributor, firstly – thank you for your support in the past! We hope you are able to continue that support; if you can manage a bit more, that would be a very good thing.
If you’re in the lower quartiles, are you ready to move up a quartile? The cost of one latte a week could potentially move you from the fourth to the third quartile. Would you be willing to put that into Strengthening Our Interdependent Web?
Small or large, all contributions help support the community’s activities and aspirations.
Did you know?
$10/month: pays one month of the telephone bill.
$25/month: pays for the compassion bank expenses, or choir’s annual music budget, or the new child/youth outreach program
$30/month keeps our website online.
$40 a month provides our staff with WCB protection.
$83 a month pays for supplies for the childrens’ program
a quarter a day = $7.50/month = 91.25/year
a loonie a day = $28-31/month = $365/year
…you get the idea…It all adds up!
Thank you for considering what Westwood means to you and how that transforms into a financial commitment.