2020-21 Annual Operating Fund Campaign
Co-Chairs: Nancy Buffem and Joe Dellert
WHAT IS THE ANNUAL OPERATING FUND CAMPAIGN?
The Annual Operating Fund (AOF) Campaign is our yearly canvass that raises roughly 40% of the funds for our annual operating budget. Each March, members and friends of the congregation make a financial pledge to support the work and mission of UUSF for the coming year. Your pledges allow the Board of Trustees to prioritize, budget, and pay for important activities and propose a budget for the coming fiscal year, July 2020 through June 2021
WHAT IS A PLEDGE?
A pledge is a promise to donate a certain amount of money to UUSF during the coming fiscal year, July 2020 to July 2021. 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. The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) has developed guidelines for a “Fair Share” contribution based on your own economic status and abilities. We encourage you to reflect on the importance of our community to you, 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 about 40% of the First Unitarian Universalist Society’s 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. Your generosity enhances not only our organization’s stability but also the positive impacts we have on the larger community. 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?
We have two goals for the AOF canvass. First, we seek 100% participation from every member and friend of the Society. We are all in this together, and we need everyone with us for this most important annual campaign. We have the goal of welcoming 20 new pledging members as well.
Second, we seek to meet the total goal of $650,000. This represents an average 15% increase in donations, and is indeed ambitious. With everyone’s help and commitment, as a group we can do this!
IS THAT WHAT IT COSTS TO RUN OUR PROGRAMS?
The AOF budget of $650,000 is only one part of the budget pie of over $1.6 million annually. Our rental revenues cover another slice, as do gifts from those who came before us. There are grants for certain programs. Look for colorful pie graphics explaining next year’s operating income and expenses as we complete the 2020-2021 projected budget this Spring.
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 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.
The Annual Operating Fund of $650,000 will come from about 250 “pledging units,” which is an average need for $2,600 per pledging unit.
WHY THE 15% INCREASE IN THE TOTAL GOAL?
As Rev. Vanessa Southern emphasized in our letter to members and friends, the largest piece of the UUSF budget is personnel costs. We need to have the staff to sustainably operate our church and center and support our congregation and its programs. We need to fairly compensate qualified staff. Our values include supporting a living wage and fair pay for all. Our staff also manage the facility that brings in essential rental income and opens our doors to a wider role in the community. New initiatives will come out of this year’s mission, vision and strategic planning process and we need to support growth and cultivate sustainability!
HOW MUCH SHOULD I PLEDGE?
Our goal is to grow the total community of pledges by about 15%. Keeping in mind that this is an average of $2,600 per pledging unit is needed to fund ongoing operations, please think about your own relationship to UUSF, and reconsider your starting point if your annual pledge is less than the average. We welcome pledges of any amount and we honor members who lack the resources and are making a contribution within your 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 is attached, 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? Relative to other charities you might support, UUSF like most churches relies on its members as the primary donors. We still need to grow all contributions from everyone to have the resources we need. Those who already dig deep for their own circumstances deserve a special Thank You!
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.
WHEN AND HOW SHOULD I MAKE MY PLEDGE?
The Annual Operating Fund pledge drive officially starts March 1 this year. How about pledging now? You can make your 2020-21 pledge today at uusf.org/pledge. Pledge forms will be available at UUSF from March 1 to March 31. The Annual Operation Fund Drive all-church celebration will be the weekend of Pi Day: Sunday March 15 (we’re rounding up). You can deliver your pledge card at the March 15 Pi Luncheon; mail your pledge card to the church; give your pledge card to your committee chair; or leave it in the office or the offertory basket. We have special incentives for everyone who pledges before or on March 15: you’ll be included in a raffle for the prize of three nights at Marty Vanderlaan’s Lake Tahoe vacation home. Just remember, to be included in the raffle, you must pledge by March 15.
HOW DO I PAY MY PLEDGE?
There are many ways to pledge, including by monthly check, making automatic deductions, or contributing gifts of stock. UUSF prefers automatic withdrawal 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. We issue end-of-the-year tax letters confirming your annual 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 facilities. A detailed budget for 2020-21 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, we count the Annual Operating Fund drive to raise 40% of our overall budget. The AOF is our largest income source. We share plate donations with social justice organizations, and 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?
Contact Nancy Buffum or Joe Dellert directly, or email us at email@example.com; or Reverend Vanessa Southern at firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome any questions you may have and want to help you get comfortable with your own contribution.