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METNY Leadership Conference March 18, 2009 Session: Bridging the Budget Gap The “Bridging the Budget Session”

was presented by Lisa Harris Glass, the Executive Director of the New Jersey Region of United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. Lisa had previously served in the international Board of Governors and local Board of the North American Association of Synagogue Executives (NAASE). Lisa has received NAASE’s professional accreditation, Fellow in Synagogue Administration. This session was attended by approx. 25 representatives from METNY Region synagogues. Items discussed included, but were not limited to examining new avenues for synagogue income, development of a strategic plan for alternative income sources, examining of your synagogue’s current staffing, utilizing previously restricted synagogue funds to “Bridge the Gap”, reaching out to your more influential members for additional “assistance”, multi-synagogue collaboration for programming and facing the possible realities of mergers. The session, scheduled for 90 minutes, could have gone on for hours. I was also made clear by Lisa, that should any synagogue have questions relative to this subject, they should feel free to call her directly. Albert Jay Krull METNY Vice President Moderator

Bridging the Budget Gap:201 Facilitator: Lisa Harris Glass, FSA Executive Director The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism New Jersey Region 1090 King Georges Post Road Suite 1003 Edison, New Jersey 08837 (732) 738-4301 this page intentionally left blank



13 THINGS TO CONSIDER – OLD SCHOOL A. 1. REVIEW EVERYTHING: Send items out for quotes. Even long term vendors. It keeps them on their toes and assures your membership that you are seeking competitive pricing. Printing, insurance, telephone, gas, credit card processing fees, landscarping, copier and postage machine leases, office supplies, security, extermination servies, preventative maintenance contracts for HVAC. Have you looked into rebates for energy efficient lighting, insulation, etc. Kiddushes. 2. Have you attempted to renegotiate any mortgages or loans that the synagogue has.

3. What unrealized income do you possess? Cemetery plots, yahrzeit plaques, simcha wall plaques, tree of life. 4. Your fee structure. Dues, Tuition, bar/bat mitzvah fee. Are you competitive? What add-ons are a possibility for you? EXPLORE NEW AVENUES: Get some O.P.M. (Other People’s Money). a. Scrip - Scrip is a substitute for money in the form of negotiable certificates or cards that can be used like cash to purchase products or services from merchants who have issued them. Scrip can be used to purchase anything from groceries, fuel, clothing, toys and cosmetics to entertainment, electronics, home improvement, or household services. (What is the potential of such a program? If a family spends an average of $300 per month on groceries through the scrip program that would provide a benefit to your synagouge of $15.00 (or 5%). Over three months that’s $45. Over a year that’s $180. Multiply that

B. 1.

b. c. d. e.

times 200 families and that’s $36,000 at no cost to the synagogue or extra cost to the person.) U-promise or Virtual Auction Underwrite items out of your budget TD BANK Affinity Program

2. Can you conduct a large campaign to create an endowment fund? 3. Are you untilizing planned giving vehicles such as Wills & Bequests? 4. Fund raisers. Let’s talk . . . . 5. Maximize what you are already doing. High Holy Day Appeal. Start now. 6. Have you taken advantage of USCJ programs to reduce costs or bring in money like the ADP program, Staples, Web Hosting.

The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism Budgeting 201 by Lisa Harris Glass, FSA; Executive Director, New Jersey Region


THE NEW REALITY A: 1. THINGS TO CONSIDER “Doing more with less.” A familiar refrain but is it realistic? The real question is how do we “do less with less?” This is a strategic question about what programs to keep, and do them as efficiently and effectively as possible, and what programs to exit, close, or transfer to someone else. 2. If you have to trim, trim back to your mission. a. Spend time discussing your mission and connecting with stakeholders. b. Engage the board and staff in a discussion about the organization’s mission. i. Ask what has changed in your area or field. ii. Review your mission. Does it still respond to today’s needs and environment? iii. Evaluate each activity or program as it relates to and contributes to the mission. iv. Evaluate the impact and quality of the progams and services you offer: -What do you do best?

-- Which programs are of unique value to the community? 3. Set priorities and make choices. Assess your programs and make the tough, but necessary choices.
The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism Budgeting 201 by Lisa Harris Glass, FSA; Executive Director, New Jersey Region


Low contribution to Low use of Resources High use of Resources Mission Is this a fit? Needs to be reconsidered or eliminated 4.

High contribution to Mission Keep or expand? Core services Can it be done differently for less?

Develop strategies, with four basic categories: a. b. Do the same work with less Do the same with new funding

c. Do less of the work d. Do the work differently. Many effective changes start with a new idea or approach.

The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism Budgeting 201 by Lisa Harris Glass, FSA; Executive Director, New Jersey Region




a. Have you sought Board permission to use any and all available funds

belonging to the synagogue to get through the rough time. Ask donors who are giving restricted gifts if they are willing to unrestrict usable monies or even a portion of the corpus of the fund for 2009. Afterall, what happens to the restricted gift when the synagogue closes due to insolvency? Consider asking past donors to make payments earlier of previously-made pledges. 2. Staffing: a. Have you reassessed staffing and elminated or reduced nonessential personnel. (Board exercise: define non-essential) b. Have you frozen or reduced staff salaries. (How do you approach contractual staff on this topic?)


Have you investigated outsourcing services (such as bookkeeping and/or custodial services).

3. Reach out to influential members (some jobs are recession proof): a. Make sure you have a strong message that you can communicate easily, in writing and verbally, both to use with donors and with the public at-large. BE POSITIVE to the mission and the future. People support winners. Know why your mission is worth saving.

The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism Budgeting 201 by Lisa Harris Glass, FSA; Executive Director, New Jersey Region



Keep your key funders in the loop (they should not find out what is going on through the grapevine!)


Would they be interested in paying for specific programs to remove costs from the budget.

d. 4.

Who could you borrow from?

Obtain credit lines from the bank while they are available and USE THEM. (Some banks are closing lines that are in place but not used. If you think you have a credit line you should check to make sure your bank has not recalled it.)


Get out of the box: a. Reconsider how programs are delivered.

b. Could you collaborate with other organizations on programs. (lecture series, adult ed) Don’t be afraid to try. Joint ventures can be a great thing for your organization and its long term viability. Joint grant writing. c. Consider mergers - If it becomes necessary to merge the organization to keep the programs alive, this might beShare time to take that action. Could you merge your d. the staff. (Could you share IT, bookeeper?) schools (preschool, religious school, hebrew high school), e. Save dollars by outsourcing programs instead of using staff. (Could share your building and thereby your overhead costs? you outsource some administrative work, cleaning and custodial?) f. Develop new revenue sources from contracts or earned income ventures. (Initiate earned income ventures that fit with your organization’s mission. For example, HVAC, phone, after-school bridge program, summer camp, school break programs.) g. Ask allied organizations to take over programs that are a lowpriority fit with your mission. Inform that agency that you are stopping that service so it can pick up the ball. (social worker, nurse, etc.) It is important to use communal resources wisely. h. Don’t be afraid to ask for anything you need. Whether it’s an inkind donation, or to a contributor that said “no” the first time.

i. Could you barter? Directly – membership for x; or indirectly. What

businesses are your members in? Would a member accountant take on the accounting of the your landscaping company so the landscaper can donate their service to the temple? j. Look for creative and innovative ways to raise money.

The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism Budgeting 201 by Lisa Harris Glass, FSA; Executive Director, New Jersey Region


6. Put new initiatives on the back burner… unless you know how you will pay for them in a sustainable way. 7. If you were planning a capital campaign, consider moving back its starting date; if your capital campaign is in progress, consider a temporary pause in making requests. 8. Develop contingency plans for different budget models (e.g. 10%, 25% cutback budgets) so you have a back-up plan if past funding sources don’t come through. Use cost/benefit analysis to determine what to reduce and what to maintain. 9. Communicate with board and staff about what is going on. 10.Use volunteers wherever you can.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Non-profit Harvest newsletters November 26, December 9 and 15, 2009 NY Nonprofit Executive Directors Network Newsletter Sunday, November 16, 2008 Managing 5, 2008

The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism Budgeting 201 by Lisa Harris Glass, FSA; Executive Director, New Jersey Region