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2011 Annual Report, Development Committee
New England Yearly Meeting is more than just Annual Sessions. Our Yearly Meeting works all year to support monthly meetings and individuals. While we are blessed with many, many volunteers, money is also needed to fully carry out the spiritual mission of the Yearly Meeting:
- Offering vibrant retreat programs, with staff support, for youth from elementary school age through young adults;
- Providing support to monthly and quarterly meetings through staff and volunteer visitation, programs, and administrative assistance;
- Working to strengthen First Day schools with staff and volunteer visitation, curriculum development, programs, and a lending library;
- Gathering Friends from all over New England to share ideas and develop projects for work in peace and justice, environmental stewardship, aging, and anti-racism;
- Preserving the historical records of the oldest yearly meeting (even older than Philadelphia!)
- Maintaining contacts with other branches of Quakerism and with the wider world of Quakers;
- Managing the finances of the Yearly Meeting and the investments of the Yearly Meeting and many of the monthly meetings;
- Keeping us all in contact with one another by publishing newsletters, Faith and Practice, and other information;
- Planning and organizing the second largest Quaker conference in America—our NEYM Sessions.
All of this work is done by a very small paid staff with the help of many volunteers. In fact, our entire YM budget is less than that of many individual churches from other denominations. Yet, as of the middle of May, contributions from both meetings and individuals are not meeting the budget we set last summer, and we will need to do better for the next fiscal year just to keep up with our current activities.
About seven years ago, NEYM realized that we needed to ask individuals to supplement the contributions from meetings. In 2003, the Development Committee was appointed by Sessions to take on responsibility for fund raising. Through the years, the committee has raised awareness of our financial needs at Sessions and through annual mailings, initiated a strong GiveMonthly program, visited with donors individually and in their meetings, and worked with the Finance Committee to set realistic, achievable budgets.
This year, we are concentrating our efforts on increasing participation. Only about 240 Friends and their families currently support the Yearly Meeting with contributions. If everyone gave a donation, we would be able to close the budget gap. Our slogan, “Every gift counts,” reminds us that our financial support, no matter how small, is important to the health of the Yearly Meeting.
We have had fun collecting stories from Friends —Why do I give? Why is NEYM important to me and my family? Why do we GiveMonthly? Why have we included NEYM in our wills? These testimonies are being published in the New England Friend and will be online when the website is updated. These statements help put a face on giving to the Yearly Meeting, and we welcome your stories and pictures.
We have also continued our practice of contacting our major donors—those Friends who are financially able to provide substantial support to the Yearly Meeting. Their contributions, while few in number, provide the foundation for our individual fund raising efforts.
Last year, in conjunction with the Finance Committee, the Development Committee formed an Ad Hoc Intervisitation Listening Committee to visit with monthly meetings. We wanted to find out what the meetings find valuable—or not so valuable—about NEYM to guide us in setting budgets in the future and to talk with the monthly meetings about their financial contribution. We hoped to use this as a forum to encourage the meetings to increase their support—and we have accomplished that to some degree. However, we realized that the information we were getting in these conversations extended far beyond the budget, with comments on programs that work or don’t work, requests for support that the monthly meeting needs or wants from Yearly Meeting, and ideas for the future. These are important to the health of the Yearly Meeting, as well as the monthly meetings, far beyond the issue of finances. We asked Permanent Board to assume care of the Listening Committee to provide needed oversight and coordination and to continue the project for another year.
The Development Committee is a tiny but committed group of Friends. We view our tasks as a ministry—a ministry of stewardship and outreach. We have many openings and invite you into this important work. You don’t have to have experience, just a firm belief that finances should not be the block to doing the work God calls us to and a willingness to share your excitement about New England Yearly Meeting.
Finally, we urge you to donate to Yearly Meeting, make a gift of appreciated stock, name NEYM as a beneficiary in your will or life insurance, or set up a GiveMonthly account of $5.00 or more per month. Please help NEYM meet its financial priorities. Together, we can do it. Every Gift Counts!
—Nancy Haines, Clerk