Our Congregation’s Finances

From Chris Corbett, on behalf of the Finance Committee

In October, the Finance Committee continued its series of articles about the Congregation’s finances by answering the question “Where does our money come from?”  This installment addresses the logical next question:

  • On what do we spend our money?

The simple answer is, mostly on people.

Over $460,000 is needed to cover salaries and benefits for our 14 employees.  That’s about 70% of our total expenditures.  Our next largest area of cost, facilities, is allocated about $99,000.

A follow-up question might be:  Why so much?

First, personnel tends to be a large part of the budget for any not-for-profit or business.  Our percentage of spending on employees when compared to the overall budget is in line with other UU congregations.  We strive to pay our employees fairly and provide them with reasonable benefits.  

Second, our employees are the very backbone of our UU home.  To a large extent, who we are as a congregation is embodied in our ministers. They are our spiritual center and primary leaders. But our other employees also contribute to a rich congregational life.  Think of a world without a Gazette, weekly announcements, meetings scheduled or our finances scrupulously overseen by our office staff (Danielle, Jaclyn and Emilia).  Consider a world in which our facilities are not ready for meetings, RE, Sunday services, MESH dinners without the care of our custodial staff (Gerry, Dawn, Danny, David, Keith).  Think of a world devoid of the spirituality of music (Markus, Stearns).  Finally, consider what the experience would be not to have a caring and nurturing learning environment for our children tended to by our RE staff (Chris, Iris). Over the years we have found that in order to have a dynamic Congregation, it’s important to have a core of employees as a continuing presence moving us forward.  Volunteers are crucial, but simply can’t do certain jobs as well as regular employees.   

Having a staff of such high quality is a great ethical responsibility for the Congregation.  These employee costs are people’s livelihoods and their employment can’t simply be cut at the first hint of a possible budget shortfall.  That is why the Board reviews any additions or deletions to staff very carefully before approving and why as members of the Congregation we must all pledge and support our employees as best we can. 

So that is where most of the money goes. We will have more on our expenditures in future months.  As always, please feel free to contact me at the U  with any questions you have about this or any other financial topic.  

Next month: Who decides how we spend our money?