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Background and Considerations
Background and Considerations
Finance for Congregations, Annual Program Fund, UUA Finances, UUA Governance & Management, Board of Trustees

The Task Force is considering issue facing funding our faith because:

  • To ensure the financial health and growth of our congregations in a time of change
  • To position our Unitarian Universalist Association and its congregations to meet the challenges of today
  • To ensure the resources to meet the changing needs of Unitarian Universalists


"Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present"  -Albert Camus

Why APF Matters

  • Annual Program Fund and District/Regional Dues are a tangible expression of our covenant as congregations that are part of the UUA 
  • APF and District/Regional Dues are a part of a congregation’s practice of generosity, supporting our larger faith and other congregations and ministries 
The Annual Program Fund makes up 72% of Fundraising Income

Total Fundraising Income by Source

  • APF and District/Regional Dues are the primary sources of funding for our UUA’s mission to support our congregations, amplify our moral voice in the world, protect our history and our future as a religious movement 

Background: How Did We Get Here?

  • Leaders have been asking for a new model for a number of years. For more than ten years the UUA has offered large congregations an alternative percentage of budget formula.
  • The Southern Region has been contributing on a percentage basis for two years. St Lawrence district also uses a percentage basis for calculating district dues.
  • Leaders are frustrated by divergent definitions of membership.
  • Many have expressed concern about the fairness of a straight per member dollar request, suggesting the percentage of expenditures model reflects more accurately ability to pay.
  • Many congregations have been hearing about this change for years and are ready for it to happen.

Trends and Concerns

  • The environment for congregational religious life is shifting rapidly, with new generations seeking new models.  We need to be "thinking outside the box" to ensure flexibility and adaptability.
  • In times of crisis, a congregation’s membership may not reflect financial challenge.
  • A member-based formula may be a disincentive to growth. (In the Southern Region, after the first year of GIFT, a percentage of expenses model, membership went up.)
  • Tracking true membership is difficult when membership is tied to APF.
  • Though congregational expenditures continue to increase, membership is dropping slightly. 

History and Facts

  • Though the APF per member amount has gone up many times, the actual amount requested, as a percentage of congregational budgets, has gone down in the last twenty years.
  • APF has taken various forms in the last fifty years. The first reference found was from 1967 when the amount requested was 12 percent of congregational budget or $12 per member for fellowships.
  • In 1973 the formula was changed. (And APF got its name.) The amount requested of each congregation would be determined by a three person team (VP for Development, InterDistrict Rep, equivalent to Regional Lead, and the district rep on the APF Committee). The amount would be something between “minimum floor” ($6 per member) and the “full share” ($6 per member and 6% of budget). 

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