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A Better Way to Address an End-of-Year Shortfall

How to talk about end-of-year deficits—and spur giving.

A Better Way to Address an End-of-Year Shortfall

The letter from the board of an affluent, mid-sized congregation in suburban Chicago contained an urgent message: increase giving or else.

While affirming the past faithful giving of members, the letter also emphasized the impact of the economic recession. Some members recently lost jobs and struggled to maintain their regular giving levels. And others who worried about their financial futures did not increase giving. The result: the church budget faced a serious and unexpected deficit, prompting the board to consider serious cuts in mission and ministry.

"We are striving to fulfill God's call, and also to be good stewards of your financial support to this church," the letter read. "Now, at this critical time in this ministry, we will have to make cuts in our staffing and programs. We know you do not want to see this happen. We know that you want us to meet our budget commitments. ...

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