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|News from Spring Leadership Assembly|
Modest fundraising plan, fiscal year end date change approved: Mennonite Church Canada
March 16, 2012
Winnipeg, MAN. — After an unsettling year of cuts to ministry and staff, financial news from Mennonite Church Canada’s Spring Leadership Assembly is cautiously hopeful.
“Individuals and corporate donors have increased their giving compared to last year,” Executive Director Willard Metzger reported, adding that congregational giving remained nearly flat. Preliminary signs for next year are encouraging, but it’s a constantly moving target, he said.
While the numbers are sobering, the stage has been set for a stronger upcoming year. Until September of 2011, fundraising capacity was not fully staffed, limiting the national church’s ability to develop partnerships and inspire generosity. By September, those vacancies were filled. Daniel Horne is now Mennonite Church Canada’s Director of Partnership Development. Brent Charette is Church Engagement Minister, filling a role jointly funded by Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church Eastern Canada. Charette’s appointment is a demonstration of the relationship between the national and area church as they partner together for resource development to facilitate ministry in both.
Metzger and Horne have created a resource development plan to raise $150,000 more in donations for the fiscal year ending in 2013. “It’s a reasonable plan. It’s a fairly modest plan,” Metzger said, However, he cautioned, not meeting the overall income target will mean further cuts to ministry next year.
Financial policy states that Mennonite Church Canada must use the actual income of the previous year to determine the next year’s budget. Accordingly, the expenditure budget for the fiscal year ending (FYE) in 2013 should have been reduced by approximately $75,000.
But to help the relatively new Church Engagement Council and fundraising staff strengthen their capacity, senior staff made a proposal to the Financial Planning and Audit Committee (FPAC) to cover the shortfalls in the 2011-2012 budget with a draw from their Council reserves. Executive staff requested that the policy be overridden for one year to allow an increased donation target for FYE 2013, rather than cut already tight budget further. FPAC’s chair and Treasurer Gordon Peters deemed the request reasonable and recommended it to the General Board. After careful consideration, the General Board gave its approval.
Randy Wiebe, Chief Financial Officer, said that just over 40% of annual donations typically arrive in the final quarter of the fiscal year, which presently ends on Jan. 31. For the second time in recent years, giving was on target as of Dec. 31, but fell off considerably in January which contributed to an unmet income target.
“By then, it is too late to make any adjustments in expenses or generate an appeal that will substantially change the picture before the end of the fiscal year,” said Metzger.
To provide a more stable outlook on income flow, the General Board has approved a shift in the fiscal year-end date from Jan. 31 to Sept. 30. Once the new FYE becomes effective, the bulk of donations will arrive at the beginning of the fiscal year, rather than the end.
The fiscal year date change will not mean additional revenue, Metzger cautioned, but will make planning easier. “We will start the fiscal year on a more predictable footing, rather than ending the year on our most unpredictable quarter,” he added. The fiscal year end date change will take place in the calendar year 2013.
For more information about Mennonite Church Canada income and expenses, see the Mennonite Church Canada 2011 Generosity Report at www.mennonitechurch.ca/tiny/1736.