Patience while I review the numbers

So now I’m curious what the total congregational expenditures and membership numbers tell us. How much church “do you get” for the money? This goes right to the question of church development.

These are fair, but rarely asked questions when the promoted culture is “give, baby, give.” Must you have $2,000 to spare per head to be a Unitarian Universalist? Or more? And what if you think the money is — frankly — better used elsewhere?

It’ll take me some time to review the numbers.

6 Replies to “Patience while I review the numbers”

  1. I’m curious which bits of data you’re going to compare. Are you simply going to compare current congregational expenditures to current membership, or are you going to look at trend lines—say, expenditures:membership five years ago compared to expenditures:membership today?

  2. It has to be the end of the last UUA fiscal year: they’re the only semi-good numbers I have. And there are a lot of other problems with the data, which I’ll discuss later.

  3. I’m guessing a mean pledge of $2k what it takes to run a Church of 150 to 180 pledging units with minister, dre, staff and full far share contributions.

  4. Bill writes: “I’m guessing a mean pledge of $2k what it takes to run a Church of 150 to 180 pledging units with minister, dre, staff and full far share contributions.”

    I’m thinking it will be substantially more in the San Francisco Bay area, where the cost of living in some cities is about 200% of national average. And I’m thinking it will be somewhat less in regions with a lower cost of living.

    I’m also thinking there may be an economy of scale: bigger congregations may be able to serve more people with less staff per person. At the same time, small congregations that have only one part-time staff person may also wind up being cheaper, because you don’t necessarily have to provide health insurance and other benefits for part-time staff.

  5. I’ll accept a geographic locality adjustment. I’m also one of those guys who looks at a list and calculates the mean and dispersion from the mean, but CC told me this was a perfectly evil thing to do with a Church’s budget and the number of pledge units. I thought it would be nice to construct budgets in terms of pledging units as a way to force the question of if we don’t want to up our mean pledge, why not increase the number of units…..

    …but geek stuff doesn’t go over well in UUism ’cause that mean pledge a hush hush number.

    So, Scott, awaitng the post.

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