End-of-Year Giving: 5 Things You Should Know
We have big plans to engage the heart of the High Country in 2020. For these ideas to take shape, we have some financial ground to make up by the end of December. Partnering with us now to meet our annual budget will help provide momentum heading into an exciting New Year.
Before we even begin to talk about finances, we want to say, "thank you." Time and again we are overwhelmed by the incredible generosity of our church family. From raising a record amount of financial support for one of our partner agencies Hope Pregnancy Center back in February to helping our own Youth Group enjoy its first-ever retreat this spring, giving abundantly continues to be a cornerstone at theHeart.
Read our most recent quarterly update to find even more ways that your generosity has made a significant impact.
You make it possible for us to rent worship space at Watauga High School 50 Sundays out of the year. You make it possible for us to operate from a strategically located office building in downtown Boone during the week. You make it possible for us to employ 5 full-time and 1 part-time staff people at a fair wage with additional benefits like a retirement plan. We rely completely on the tithes and offerings of regular attenders and guests who support theHeart and our mission of reconciling people to God and each other through Christ's Love. Simple.
For an organization of our size, an operating budget of $484,705.88 per year is a relatively modest amount. Simplicity allows us to maintain a lean budget as does the blessing of not carrying any long-term debt—like a mortgage. But as you might realize, this commitment to simplicity still comes at a cost. There are financial realities we face and monthly obligations we have made in order to keep operating at the level we do.
Listen to the short 10-minute message below from Vision and Teaching Pastor Jason English, who recently provided a financial update for us heading into the final month of 2019. You can also continue reading on to learn more about 5 specific things we want you to know as we move towards the end of the year.
On the heels of adding a Relational Care Pastor in 2018, who focuses on deepening connections within our church family through Spiritual Formation Groups, prayer, relational care resources and services, and more, we increased our budget to $515,575.88, with an eye on future growth. We ended that fiscal year with a shortfall and felt it necessary to freeze and eliminate certain line items in our budget in 2019. That left us with an operating budget of $484,705.88 in 2019. But our desire moving forward is to bolster our budget as we move towards our vision of engaging the heart of the High Country in 2020.
You have responded to the call for more financial resources in 2019 in a big, big way. Following an increase in giving between Q1 and Q2 was an equally encouraging trend of increased donations in Q3. Part of this can be attributed to our commitment to increasing engagement beyond just giving. And we have done so by launching a new giving platform and developing our very own smartphone app.
The staff has worked diligently to ensure that we steward the money you entrust to us in the best possible way. Not only have we remained committed to adhering to our spending cuts and freezes, but we have also found creative ways to operate at a high capacity with limited operating resources. Still, the spending freezes and cuts have limited much of what we want and can do to practically live out our mission. We've had to eliminate the resources that allow us to show support for those who serve at theHeart through appreciation events, spiritual growth and development, and more for example. Our desire is to better care for and recognize our volunteers, especially as our church family continues to grow and engage more of our community.
Our goal is to generate $50,000 per month to cover all operating expenses. This is above and beyond what it actually costs for us to operate. This would generate a surplus that we could use to start building back up our reserve accounts while also putting us in a good financial position to move forward with confidence in 2020. It would also allow us to be even more generous in the ways we financially support the community where we work and live.
With all of that said, we still find ourselves facing a budget shortfall of $40,649.08. It's not insurmountable. We've been here before and it's not uncommon for churches and non-profits to be facing a deficit as they finish out the calendar year. We have witnessed God provide in some incredible ways. And yet our belief in His provision is tempered by the reality that if we don't make up some significant ground these next few weeks, our savings account will continue to shrink, additional cuts and freezes will need to be made, and we may not be able to realize much of the vision we have for engaging the heart of the High Country in 2020. This is not said to scare you, but to simply put things into perspective. And it is offered as an invitation. "How might you respond?"
“You are the heart of who we are as a church family and faith community. It truly is an honor and privilege to stand side by side with you as brothers and sisters in Christ.”—Josh Anderson, Community Life Pastor
On behalf of the Ministry Leadership Team and Staff, thank you again for being a part of theHeart. The blessings go well beyond anything we could express in words.
Staying connected and becoming more engaged at theHeart might be just the touch of a button away. With our new smartphone app, you can have immediate access to our most recent audio messages, blog posts, and announcements. It also provides an easy way for you to give online.
Simply text "theheart app" to 77977. Remember to set up your notifications so you can make sure to receive all of the most useful information for you.