Your Year-End Gift Will Inform the 2014 Big-Picture Conversation

Richard Fuller, Clerk, CDFR
(reprinted from the December, 2013, TCFM Newsletter)

Friends,

Please consider upping your planned giving for 2013 by 5% to 10%.

CDFR (Community Development & Fund Raising committee) makes this request for two reasons, with the second reason being more interesting and consequential for TCFM’s long-term future.

Reason #1:

We are 5% to 10% below budget in contributions for 2013. This is not a desperate situation. As you likely know, we have lots of money in reserves. (Or do we?! But that goes into reason #2.) Last year at this time WE, TCFM, decided at a Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business that we would plan to fund

  • our committee work,

  • our Meetinghouse operations,

  • our contributions to others, and

  • our mortgage

with budgeted donations from y’all of $116,750. Of course there are always last-minute contributions at the end of the year, so it is hard to tell four weeks from the end whether TCFM will reach our budgeted level of income, but estimates are that we will fall short by 5,000 to 10,000 dollars. Could you help make up the shortfall by giving more than you had planned?

Reason #2:

Collectively, how much money does the TCFM community have available to fund our Meeting’s activities? Is the community pretty stretched, not in a position to give much more than it is giving? Or are we donating where we think it is most needed, and if we thought TCFM needed more, we would direct more in TCFM’s direction?

Of course, “needed” is an iffy word. We could make the question more prejudicial by asking “…ought to have more.” That’s not where I want to go in this essay. That is part of the BIG-PICTURE CONVERSATION we expect to have in 2014. In this article I want to lay the groundwork for that conversation.

This month we expect to agree on a budget for next year, pretty much like our current one. And our budgets in recent years have overestimated how much people would give. We have covered expenses (including Meeting’s donations to other organizations) by drawing down our reserves.

The first big-picture conversation we will have in 2014 is about those reserves. Is drawing them down OK? Is it dangerous, with another four years on our mortgage, and some big expenses like a new boiler in the old house coming soon? And there are lots of other questions, but that’s for next year, not now. The Clerks Team is already preparing to guide us through this extended discussion in the early months of 2014.

One of the background issues for those discussions is the ability and willingness of TCFM households to pay for the commitments we have budgeted. If CDFR had done a better job of fundraising earlier in the year, would we be at the targeted $116,750? Or does the community simply not have much more to offer? Let’s see.

CDFR is asking you to give a little more than you had planned to. This is not about asking you to “dig deep.” Not about hyping a sense of urgency. Our big-picture conversation in 2014 will be much helped by knowing how the TCFM community responds to this request. Can you give an additional 5-10% above what you expected you would? Please?

And thanks. Thanks for reading this. Thanks for considering your pocketbooks and your sense of TCFM’s needs. If an increased donation rises out of your thinking, lovely. If not, that’s OK too. It’s your consideration we really want.

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