From Chris Corbett, Treasurer of the Board of Trustees
In this year of firsts, this month the Congregation will take on a unique challenge: a pledge drive in the midst of a pandemic.
Last spring, the onset of the pandemic cut short our pledge drive and its fallout caused a significant reduction in pledges (40 fewer household units). At the same time, our rental income came to an abrupt stop. This past fall, our challenges continued. The auction was cancelled and our rental income continued to languish. The Board responded by creating an austerity budget with substantial cuts in non-essential spending. We are proud that we were able to maintain our commitments to our staff and core areas of our mission.
Next year (Fiscal Year 2021/22) our challenges will continue; rentals are not returning to pre-COVID levels. If, and if so, in what form, our auction will return is under discussion. In addition, as we start to reopen we anticipate having greater expenses related to our facility that has been dormant this year. This makes this pledge drive particularly crucial to our long term health.
Our theme this year is “Reunite and Rise Together: Creating Tomorrow’s Community Today.” The pledge drive supports three priorities:
· Continue to maintain our valued staff without layoffs or furloughs.
· Continue to maintain the core areas of our mission (e.g., our programs of social justice; our RE program; NJ FaithAction; and focused areas in our strategic plan).
· Be ready to reopen, better than ever, when it’s safe; maintaining and expanding our ability to livestream services, events, and meetings from all areas of our facility.
This is ambitious and will require a strong, successful pledge drive. Nearly 75% of our annual income is provided by your pledges. We all must pledge if we are able.
If you were not able to pledge or fulfill a pledge last year, please consider pledging now. If those who were not able to pledge last year return to pledging, that alone will make the drive a success. For others who have been able to pledge through this challenging year, we would ask you to consider increasing your pledge by at least 5%.
There is no getting around that this pledge drive will be difficult for our pledge team to manage. When they reach out, please respond. Remember, they are all volunteers. Actually, there is no real “they.” The askers are also pledgers like you, working to help provide the financial resources to create the best spiritual home for us all.
Help support our staff; help strengthen our social and political action groups and help build the future of the U. All gifts are worthy and most welcome. Please give as generously as you are able!