Synagogues are continually looking for more and better ways to develop alternate revenue streams. Grants that enhance programming are available from a myriad of sources. Renting your facility for congregants’ simchahs and for local use by the community is another possibility. Establishing funds restricted for a designated time and purpose in which the income and principle are expended may be used to fulfill specific needs.
To approve budgets that reflect the congregational mission, to effect an equitable dues structure, and to supplement dues income through short- as well as long-term financial planning are just a few of the basic considerations that must be addressed by board members in order to meet their fiduciary responsibilities.
For more detailed information on money matters, see the Union publications Give As God Has Blessed You: Rethinking Financial Committment in Your Congregation; Doing What Is Just and Right: Endowments, Investments and Synagogue Funds; Money Matters: Compassionate Guidelines for Talking Dues and Food for the Spirit: Synagogue Budgets, all available at www.urj.org/synmgmt/publications.
CONGREGATIONAL FINANCE AS A SACRED TRUST Issues to Consider
What is your temple’s budget process?
Does your budget reflect your temple’s priorities: the goals, vision, and mission of the congregation?
Does your budget process begin by a consideration of who you are, what you want to achieve, and what it will cost to create that vision?
Do you view your budget as a tool to help the congregation achieve that vision?
Do you consider the “big picture,” understanding that sometimes you need to spend money to make money?
Do you communicate frequently and appropriately (not only in times of crisis) with the congregation about the synagogue’s financial situation?
Do you consider raising dues slightly every year, instead of a large increase every few years?
Do you consider spending less time focusing on the percentage of the congre- gation who are not meeting dues commitments and more time focusing on those who have the ability to exceed minimum commitments?