2021-22 Annual Operating Fund Campaign
Co-Chairs: Gayle Reynolds & Keith Hollon
WHAT IS THE ANNUAL OPERATING FUND CAMPAIGN?
The Annual Operating Fund (AOF) Campaign is our yearly canvass that raises significant funds for our annual operating budget. Each March, members and friends of the Society make a financial pledge to support the work and mission of UUSF for the coming year. Your pledges allow the Board of Trustees to develop a budget for the operation of the church and center for the next fiscal year, July 2021 through June 2022
WHAT IS A PLEDGE?
A pledge is a promise to donate a certain amount of money to UUSF during the fiscal year, July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022. A pledge of financial support is one of the responsibilities of membership at First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco. A pledge of any amount is welcome. We encourage you to reflect on the importance of our church community to you, other members and friends, and the wider impact of UUSF on justice and social action outside our walls. We ask you to dig deep to support our ongoing needs as a congregation.
WHO SHOULD PLEDGE?
Members, non-members and friends of UUSF are ALL invited to pledge. To be a voting member of the Society you must make and fulfill a pledge annually.
DOES MY PLEDGE REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
YES. More than many causes and charities, UUSF is a place where we ourselves must sustain our own community through our donations as well as our participation. Annual pledges account for a significant portion of the operating budget. Each and every pledge plays an important role in our ability to achieve our objectives.
Pledges express gratitude, generosity and commitment. Through our annual pledges, we commit to our beloved community and its devotion to service, reason, spirituality and social justice. Each pledge contributes to the health of this vibrant community. Our contributions are the investment we make in living out our values and being a full participant in a community where love and social justice thrive.
HOW MUCH DO WE NEED TO RAISE THIS YEAR?
This year we have a special challenge. In a typical year, the annual pledge supports about 40% of the annual budget and space rentals contribute an additional $300,000 - $400,000. Because of the pandemic and our inability to welcome outside groups to rent space in our church and center, the budget has fallen short during the current fiscal year. The same restrictions are expected to continue into the next fiscal year, July 2021 -June 2022. We are hoping to replace at least some, if not all, of the lost rental revenue through increased pledges of support from members and friends.
A goal of $900,000 has been set by the Board of Trustees. This goal represents the $600,000 that was pledged during last year’s campaign plus $300,000 to help offset the shortfall in rental revenues. Yes, this one time request to members and friends is indeed ambitious. We are confident that with everyone’s help, commitment and generosity, we can achieve this goal.
IS THAT WHAT IT COSTS TO RUN OUR PROGRAMS?
The AOF pledge goal of $900,000 is only part of the total operating budget of over $1.6 million annually. Grants for certain programs, bequests from those who came before us, and income from other fund raising activities make up the balance of the budget.
Two-thirds of our budget covers personnel costs for our valued staff. We want qualified people who are fairly compensated and encouraged to stay with us. Additional fixed costs include our physical facilities that will one day again welcome thousands of people to functions like weekly 12-step programs, the Interfaith Men’s Shelter, and Senior and Disability Action, to name just a few.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I PLEDGE?
Our goal is to grow the total community of pledges by about 50% for the 2021-2022 pledge year only. We welcome pledges of any amount and we honor members who are making a contribution within their means. The additional generosity of those with more resources is absolutely vital if our community is to continue to thrive.
The “Fair Share” contribution guide from our national UU Association can be see here, and suggests ways to calibrate your commitment and income, and make a meaningful, reasonable gift.
One way to begin thinking differently about your donation is to reflect on what your membership means to you. How important is UUSF in your life? Your family’s life? Your contribution to the social good? Unlike other charities you might support, which draw from large constituencies, we are the sole support of our community. We are the owners of UUSF and we are responsible for it.
IS THERE A MINIMUM ANNUAL PLEDGE?
There is no minimum annual pledge. No gift is too small and ALL gifts are valued. We hope you will review the Suggested Fair Share Contribution Guide from our national UU Association and select at least the “sustaining” level and then consider doubling the amount for this year only.
WHEN AND HOW SHOULD I MAKE MY PLEDGE?
The Annual Operating Fund pledge drive officially starts March 7 this year. How about pledging now? You can make your 2021-22 pledge today by clicking the big green button above. Pledge forms are being sent to all donors. Additional forms are available at UUSF by calling the office and requesting a form. We have a special incentive for everyone who pledges on or before March 14th: you’ll be included in a raffle for the prize of a three night stay at Marty Vanderlaan’s Lake Tahoe vacation home. Just remember, to be included in the raffle, you must pledge by March 14th.
HOW DO I PAY MY PLEDGE?
There are many ways to pay your pledge, including by monthly check, making automatic deductions, or contributing gifts of stock. UUSF prefers automatic deductions from your checking account (or ACH), as this saves paper and administrative overhead. But it is up to you how you choose to submit payment and we’ll work with you to set up anything needed.
IS MY PLEDGE TAX DEDUCTIBLE?
UUSF is a 501(c)3 non-profit religious organization, so your contribution is fully tax deductible to the extent of the law. We issue end-of-the-year tax letters confirming your calendar year contribution.
HOW WILL MY PLEDGE BE USED?
Your pledges pay for our ongoing expenses: the wonderful services, music, religious education, young adult programs, and our many, many social justice projects. Pledges pay the salaries of the ministers and staff and for the operation and maintenance of our sanctuary and center. A detailed budget for 2021-22 will be available later this Spring.
CAN I PLEDGE TO A SPECIFIC PROGRAM OR FUND INSTEAD OF TO THE OPERATING FUND?
The Annual Operating Fund drive is the best place to make your donation to UUSF. Pledges go toward the general operating budget and provide essential funds to keep our doors open.
WHAT IF I CANNOT PAY MY PLEDGE?
Financial hardship should never be an obstacle to membership. Through good times and bad, we are all in this together. If you make a pledge but later find yourself unable to meet the obligation, please contact our minister.
CAN PLATE OFFERINGS BE MADE INSTEAD OF PLEDGING?
While Sunday plate collections and other donations throughout the year are welcome and needed, the Annual Operating Fund Drive is our largest income source and is required to create and fund our operating budget. We sometimes share plate donations with social justice organizations; the funds retained by UUSF represent at most 2% of our annual income. Plate offerings cannot take the place of pledging.
WHAT ABOUT THE TIME I SPEND VOLUNTEERING?
Our Bylaws set the expectation that all members will make an annual pledge. Members and friends are encouraged to give regularly of their time and talent; volunteer work feeds our souls and sustains our diverse community. Volunteering is not considered as a replacement for a yearly contribution. We require financial support in order to fund our operating budget.
I STILL HAVE QUESTIONS. WHO CAN ANSWER THEM?