Like many of us, I value transparency when it is associated with the financial situation of The Heart of Longmont (HOL). Thus I would like to share our HOL financial status following the first quarter (Jan-Mar) of 2017. My hope is that with this information, that we can all see the importance of both our giving, matching our pledges (or at least our habits), as well as the importance of our responsible teams managing their budgets.
I consider it good news that our current net of income minus expenses was very closely in line with our expectations. If I look at average giving percentages and expense percentages of our annual totals, then February and March can be challenging months, on average over the last 5 years. Based on these averages we could and did estimate that we would have spent about ($5144) more than we brought in during the first quarter, and our results were a little better than that, with an operating deficit closer to ($4798). Remember that last year, the months of October and December nearly balanced much larger deficits. In 2016 our first quarter deficit was more than twice as big: ($11,677). So I am thankful and cautiously optimistic, while still aware we are in a small deficit.
While our net results line up well with our expectations, our predictions of our income received, and our expenses spent were both higher than reality by about 7.7% or a little more than $9000. So our giving did not keep pace with our predictions (which again are based on average percentages for these months) but fortunately, neither did our expense, (which is based on our budget and our monthly average spending habits.)
The majority of that deficit came in January, which had 5 Sundays, and which over the last 5 years has been a tricky month to predict. On average it is a good month, often bringing in more than 10% of our annual income. However, January can be a difficult month to predict, because it is often either feast or famine with the good years being very good, but the bad years being quite bad. In 2017, our January giving alone was about 23% or ($10,612) less than we expected. In hindsight I wonder if we might have predicted that based on the amazing giving we experienced in December, but that will take some time to study.
The better news on the income side was that February, with only 4 Sundays, brought in 99.5% of our predicted income, and then March brought in 105% of what we expected, and started to correct for the 23% we had missed in January. About $3100, or 8.3% in March was corporate matching of giving which will not occur every month. I wonder if more people will check into the opportunity for corporate matching of their giving. This could be a good new opportunity! We are approved in Benevity, a corporate giving management company.
Also good news is that our 2017 first quarter income is $6614, or 5.1% more than our 2016 first quarter income, thus this is a sign of real growth of our congregation’s generosity, year to year. In related good news, our first quarter expenses for 2017 are actually 0.2% ($265) less than our expenses in 2016. Thus we are only growing on the income side of the sheet, and not the expense side of the sheet so far!
Based on all of these results, I do not see the need for a meeting like we had in April 2016, in which we explained our deficit and asked for additional commitments, to try to help us balance our budget. That said, we do still have a smaller deficit, and thus making good on our committed pledges and continuing to give as we have in February and March will be necessary to maintain and improve our financial health. I pray for continued generosity, trusting in the grace of our Lord and Savior.
-Mark Vancura, Finance Team Chairperson