While the fundraising staff of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is hard at work trying to raise money to support the denomination’s mission work, the difficulty of finding ministry funds as membership declines is becoming clear. Reports coming to the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board for its April 15-17 meeting in Louisville outline some of the challenges.
Also up at this meeting: a closed-door session on April 15 for the board to hear a report from Mark Calloway, a lawyer from Charlotte, North Carolina, who has been investigating ethics violations in the 1001 New Worshipping Communities program. Four employees of that program have been on paid leave since Nov. 15 while that investigation proceeds.
Board members also are expected to discuss at this meeting how to build trust in the PC(USA) and how to be board members in challenging times.
Here’s more on the fundraising reports.
In 2014, fundraising for World Mission – used for “sending and support of” PC(USA) mission co-workers – came in at $1.795 million less than the goal for the year and fell short by $894,000 from what was raised in 2013, according to one report.
Of the $7.28 million raised for World Mission in 2014, $2.48 million came from individual donors (about 61 percent of the $4.08 million the denomination hoped to raise from individuals) and $4.8 million from congregations (about 96 percent of the $5 million fundraising goal). Fundraising expenses for World Mission came in under budget – at $1.88 million for 2014, about $268,000 less than had been projected.
For 2014, that leaves just over $5.4 million available for sending and supporting PC(USA) mission co-workers – about $1.1 million less than in 2013 and more than $1.5 million shy of the goal for 2014. The report doesn’t indicate specifically how that shortfall will affect World Mission ministry work, although more details may emerge as the board discusses financial reports this week.
The report states that the shortfall in individual giving “can be attributed to many factors, including climate in the church toward some of the national changes as well as our ability to increase the number of people with whom we are able to meet and share the World Mission story. We continue to hear that people are not aware that the funding of mission co-workers is dependent upon gifts over and above regular congregational giving. We have spread this message widely in the past, and continue to let people know that the Presbyterian Mission Agency can only send the number of mission co-workers the church is willing to support, and that there is an urgency related to the funding of mission co-workers.”
Included in the World Mission fundraising figures is $523,100 raised for the South Sudan Education and Peacemaking project – part of the Educate a Child, Transform the World initiative the General Assembly approved in 2014. That financial support includes $151,699 for mission co-workers and $371,401 in revenues for projects and programs associated with the initiative, the report states.
Fundraising for special initiatives
The denomination’s fundraisers are specifically working to raise money for areas of ministry work that Linda Valentine, the executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, has said need new sources of funding.
Those projects are:
- The Company of New Pastors;
- New worshipping communities;
- The Office of Public Witness in Washington D.C. and the United Nations Office in New York;
- Efforts in racial ethnic leadership and new immigrant worshipping communities; and
- The Young Adult Volunteer program.
This report outlines a long-term fundraising strategy: projections are that the financial fruit of the effort won’t be seen for several years. The fundraising projections for those areas are:
Giving to the PC(USA)’s Special Offerings was down in 2014 – with total net revenue for 2014 down 7 percent ($705,841) from 2013 ($10.23 million in 2013 versus $9.52 million in 2014). The 2014 net revenue fell just over $2 million short ($9.52 million instead of $11.52 million) of the fundraising goal set for the year.
Expenses for Special Offerings were up: more than $461,000 (23 percent) higher in 2014 than 2013 and more than $910,000 over the expense goal for the year.
Here’s how giving to the Special Offerings compares from 2013 to 2014 and to the goals for 2014:
The Peace and Global Witness Offering was new in 2014 – approved by the General Assembly in June 2014. To keep the number of denominational Special Offerings at four, the Peacemaking Offering is being restructured into the new Peace and Global Witness Offering.
The Special Offerings Task Force has announced a goal of doubling the giving to the four Special Offerings – hoping to hit to $20 million in donations by 2020.