Greetings from the Budget Committee!

Overview

The proposed LWVUS/EF budgets for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2011 and ending June 30, 2012 are available for download at the bottom of the page.  Delegates to Council will approve the LWVUS budget. The Board of Trustees will formally approve the LWVEF budget at its meeting immediately following Council. 

The proposed budgets support the vital functions of the national office while reducing spending in line with available resources. Projected revenues are somewhat less than in the current year budget due to membership loss and decreased expectations for both direct marketing and grant revenues. However, the proposed budget continues support for all the LWVUS and EF functions, and includes needed investments that will provide long-term benefits for the League at all levels.

Revenues

The LWVUS derives its support primarily from direct marketing to individuals.  Mail appeals make up over half of LWVUS gross operating income. Although these fundraising programs are very successful, they also carry substantial costs.  The Budget Committee thoroughly reviewed each program to ensure that income and expense estimates are reasonable.    Per member payments make up approximately 25% of the LWVUS budget. The thirty-cent increase in the PMP approved by Convention 2010 will soften the effect of the small decrease in local League membership last year.  Although we anticipate continued foundation support, those grants are largely restricted to specific Education Fund projects.

One area of potential revenue growth is major donor gifts, and the Budget Committee and Board propose that we invest in this area, as described below.

Expenditures

Presidential election cycles are exciting and action-packed times for the national League.   The League will be highly visible next year participating in the public dialogue on important issues and providing vital information to the voting public. The budget proposals include continued funding for lobbying on priority issues on Capitol Hill, various election and other Education Fund projects, and completing the studies on privatization and the federal role in education.  Most of the Ed Fund projects are funded by foundation grants.

The national League is rolling out its new website this spring and summer. The proposed budgets include $68,900 for multimedia and custom programming to keep the new site current and fresh.

The League is making significant investments in volunteer leader development and member recruitment, functions that are essential to the organization’s future.   The proposed budgets continue these activities, which are funded by donations to the Leadership Fund, including support provided by the Ruth S. Shur Fund and the Nikki Harris Fund.  The costs and income associated with Convention 2012 are also included.

 

Investments

The proposed budgets include an allocation of $126,000 from unrestricted reserves to invest in major gift development. These funds will offset the first year costs of a second major gifts officer, including travel, and will allow the League to hire a full-time development assistant. The expectation is that this new position will pay for itself, and more, after two years.

In addition, several state and local Leagues have asked the national League for assistance in renewing their members.  We recommend the LWVUS undertake a pilot project with Leagues in several states in which the national League will send dues renewal notices on behalf of these local Leagues. The proposed budgets include a $23,000 withdrawal from unrestricted reserves to fund the first-year cost of the pilot project.  It is anticipated that this approach will result in increased revenue for the League at all levels.

The Budget Committee recommends that the League continue its policy of investing in infrastructure to reduce long-term operating costs and improve services to Leagues.  The proposed budgets include $22,500 from LWVUS reserves to upgrade office equipment and to evaluate improvements to our database of members and donors.

We also recommend that the League withdraw $146,357 from investment earnings to supplement revenues to carry out ongoing activities.  The Budget Committee believes these are judicious uses for these funds and makes the recommendation only after careful consideration of LWVUS and LWVEF investment policies, operational needs and strategic goals.

Next Steps

Budget Q &A sessions will be held on Saturday evening at Council for your questions and comments.  Members of the Budget Committee will be in attendance and available for your questions.

The Budget Committee members are:
Sandy Powell, Chair, Budget Committee, Nebraska
Pat Donath, LWVUS Board of Directors
Ann Luther, Maine
Sally Sawyer, Minnesota
Susan Wilson, LWVUS Secretary/Treasurer
Elisabeth MacNamara, LWVUS President (ex officio member of the Budget Committee)

 

The Budget Committee would like to thank you for the opportunity to work to create a positive plan for the future of the League.  If you have questions or comments prior to Council, I can be reached at powell.hoffman@gmail.com.