May Day! Budget Crisis! What To Do
May Day! Budget Crisis! What To Do

One of your top donors moves to be closer to their grandchildren. Another major donor gets a new job two states away. And then two or three of your oldest members pass away. When your annual stewardship drive comes along, your finance folks discover that--in spite of an overall growth in membership--these losses in the top quartile of your pledge distribution can really affect your bottom line. Here's what you can do:

How to Meet the Budget in a Time of Distress

  • Reduce variable and discretionary expenses
  • Raise income from within the congregation
    • Increase pledges, even incrementally
    • Increase pledge units, turn friends into members
    • Special “fill the gap” campaign
    • Large donor matching gift program
    • Legacy Gift program
  • Raise income from sources beyond the congregation
    • Facility rental: generate new
    • Facility rental: renegotiate tenant agreements
    • Sell gift cards (bought at a discount) from local grocers
    • Seek entrepreneurial opportunities
    • Grants, crowdfunding campaigns
  • Ensure you have technology to catch money from all sources
    • Online donation capacity on your website
    • Electronic Check capacity for recurring donations
    • Onsite electronic payment tool (such as Square) for one-time payments or  collections at special events
  • Renegotiate debt
  • Scale back ministries
  • Cut staff benefits
  • Cut staff hours
  • Layoff staff
  • Sell real property
  • Merge or close

Additional Resources

About the Author

  • Patricia Hall Infante is a lifelong Unitarian Universalist who grew up in a large New York City congregation. Her first career as a contract negotiator was put on hold while she took the job of full-time mother to two wonderful boys (an investment that continues to pay dividends...

For more information contact conglife@uua.org.

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