Five Year Plan for NYYM

The Numbers - A Five Year Budget Plan for NYYM

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The text - A Five Year Budget Plan for NYYM

written and circulated August 23, 2005

Dear Friend,

I've had this budget proposal in the back of my mind for months and it came clearer at Silver Bay. This hopefully is a succinct outline in which I feel NYYM and the Monthly Meetings can remake a strong connection. Unfortunately Monthly Meetings, in my view, are so far underneath being able to pay their shares, and years away from what Monthly Meeting's feel is a connection to the YM, that there might be some drastic things needed to move forward with a win-win for everyone into 2006.

The good news is that since cuts may be needed, there is a five-year budget plan conception here to show where we hopefully are going in the near term – that this would not just be a cut, without a multi-year plan to grow again. This is a flexible plan for numerical growth in membership, and growth in committee and financial participation between Monthly Meetings and Yearly Meeting. I've used a metaphor to describe the financial, transparency, and membership situation at NYYM as ' a wound ' and that if we take the band-aid off slowly it will hurt us even more and just delay the reality that the wound needs air, and the longer it takes to get that air, the longer it will take to heal.

What we might stress the most is that the Monthly Meeting should consider how its budget speaks to, or gives 'life' to that Meeting. I do feel that if Friends are attracted to the causes that the Monthly Meeting budget serves, they will give more of themselves, both financially and in other forms of participation. Many feel that Monthly Meeting budgets are mainly too small, and should be increased extensively, but that the ‘overhead’ of the Yearly Meeting contribution, should be a third or less of a Monthly Meeting's contributions from members depending on what the Yearly Meeting actually does, in order to control resentment. And the Monthly Meeting budget, is a reflection possibly, or possibly a unified plan for action which Friends have to understand and work toward. I might be preaching to the choir here, but the difficulty we face in NYYM, I think is years overdue. We ought to be glad CS is here because the stress of this budget issue will help us grow as Friends in many ways.

Its a difficult thing, that Friends (at the Monthly Meeting level) are going to have to want to grow, both in number and spiritually in order for us to maintain large budgets, especially the NYYM budget which is unfortunately 50% higher than our YM neighbors to the north and south (Balt and NEYM). Both these YM's have more employees (NEYM - 4.5, BaltYM 5.0) to our 3.

BaltYM average contribution per adult member is about $112 and their membership is growing slightly, NEYM's is about $89/adult resident member and their membership is growing slightly also. I also feel and others might also if they thought about it, that if we rely on attenders to contribute most of the Monthly Meeting contribution to NYYM, we are asking them to contribute to something that does not benefit them, since persons must be members in order to be on NYYM committees.

Yearly Meeting Expenses

And speaking of the General Secretary, his salary of $70,000 is way over NEYM's field secretary, which is about $44,000 and Baltimore's General Secretary which is about $58,000. I realize General Secretary is functioning as a 'field secretary' right now, but hopefully will be more of a General Secretary as time goes on, and the YM office is potentially moved to his area, which will hopefully be less expensive than NYC, so he can be in the office at least 3 days a week, in order to supervise it. This in mind, the budget plan to cut all office salaries by 20% will have his salary increased through 2010, possibly up to about $85,000 or $90,000 per year based on some membership goals and other goals we might have. I happen to think he's well qualified and is doing the right things so far, but we are in a financial crisis, and many of us didn't understand the long length of the decline in membership, until recently? The Meeting could negotiate with him to renew his 3-year contract through 2010 now, but explain that we have to cut salaries in order to make the YM work in a way that does not encourage Monthly Meeting's feel resentful of such ‘over taxation’ that exists now.

You can see the other reductions - Powell House subsidy gradually reduces down to 0 by 2010. Spark is cut to 4 issues per year, etc. Advancement is increased each two years by $10,000, and I hope we can rely on the committee in helping Monthly Meetings to grow.

Yearly Meeting Income

The income side is calculated using the %'s shown in the left column (from 2007 on) of the total contributions from Meetings line above it. I know personally two large Monthly Meeting budgets which are in dire need of relief from the YM, one plans to pursue earmarked funds since they feel their general fund, 57% of which goes to NYYM, is not attractive to give to. There is membership stagnation at these two large Meetings, and it’s hard for large Meetings to ‘get’ the 'growth' concept since they are having a hard time managing themselves in a large group, ostensibly without a hierarchy. It is possible that smaller meetings might have to spawn to generate the growth, but the small Meeting business model is not as able to contribute to overhead, including NYYM, as easily as a large meeting. There were 9 Meetings in NYYM with over 200 members in 1970 - there are none now.


This particular plan does not 'have to work now’, but in a way, it would more likely set things right and make the road ahead a lot smoother - rather than having us move excruciatingly inch by inch with lots of hand wringing and fretting, with a millstone around our ankles, toward the same end as time moves on.

Please consider the possibility that long term planning will help Friends share a unified vision, because thinking about where we're going earlier than later is less stressful and actually will allow us to work more diligently on what we planned to do, and also take late developments – which are sure to occur - more effectively in stride.

In Loving Friendship,

See the numbers in the 5 Year Plan
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