Budget freeze, strong giving contribute to strong finish
by Connie Faber
Do the math and you’ll agree with U.S. Conference (USC) leaders who are celebrating a strong finish to the 2008-09 fiscal year in spite of a shaky economy. A successful attempt to significantly underspend the USC budget multiplied by higher than expected church contributions and individual donations adds up to good news.
“Given the national economic realities, I feel good about where we ended the fiscal year,” says Ed Boschman, USC executive director. “Showing under $1,000 in red ink this year is pretty good.”
Thanks to careful spending and generous giving, the conference finished the fiscal year in the red by only $847, putting the USC in a good position for the 2009-10 fiscal year.
“A special thanks goes to churches that partnered with us this year,” says Boschman, adding that the denomination gained several new church partners this year. “To have a decrease in church giving of only 4 percent in the current economy is a strong signal of affirmation and support.”
Midway through the fiscal year, Boshman says he anticipated church giving would finish around $400,000 rather than the budgeted $500,000. That church giving came in at a respectable $422,084, just $18,566 less than the previous year, is encouraging says Boschman.
Given the economy, Boschman describes USC staff fundraising as quite effective. Efforts by Boschman and MUSA director Don Morris to raise $287,973 from individuals netted $273,698.
A modified budget freeze during the third quarter and a full freeze the fourth quarter proved to be key elements of the equation. “It could have been a lot worse—and would have been without the freezes,” says Boschman. While expenses were budgeted at $902,973, USC staff underspent the budget by $118,569, a 13 percent savings.
Mission USA (MUSA), the denomination’s church planting and renewal ministry, and the Christian Leader, the denomination’s magazine, realized considerable savings. The decision to not publish the May issue of the magazine and to curtail MUSA travel and the savings experienced in several MUSA projects led to a 20 percent savings in these two ministries.
Looking ahead, Boschman affirms the decision by the USC Leadership Board to set the 2009-10 USC budget at $707,150. “This is a realistic budget that sets appropriate church giving and fund-raising goals given the current financial strain,” says Boschman. “I am enthused about moving ahead in leadership development, strengthening our partnership with churches and agencies and working on various new initiatives with the non-Anglo churches in our conference,” he says.