The White Heron Sangha’s financial picture was very good at the end of 2019. For the 2019 Fiscal Year income exceeded expenses by $40,000, an increase of 30% over 2018. Cash held in bank accounts was $114,000 with an additional $67,000 in the Future Growth Fund account.
Income: Revenue from contributions for Sangha meetings, classes, sitting groups, annual fund, and ongoing donations was 2.9% higher than in 2019. Retreat registration income was 43% higher than in 2018 due to additional weekend and one-day events. Total revenue for 2019, including a generous contribution from the estate of one our deceased members to the Future Growth Fund and miscellaneous interest income was nearly $93,000, 11% higher than in 2018.
Expenses: Our Avila Village facility expenses (rent, utilities, insurance) account for 82% of our expenses. Other significant expenses are retreat-related expenses, such as teacher transportation and meals and retreat refreshments, and website expenses.
Total merchant processing fees for the year for online donations and retreat registrations were less than $600 in 2019 but are expected to be significantly higher in 2020 and ongoing. This is due to the required conversion to AffiniPay, our software vendor’s online payment system that has a slightly higher fee than we paid with PayPal and the fact that we are now requiring most retreat registration payments online and encouraging additional online donations.
Overall expenses in 2019 were virtually the same as 2018. However, we had budgeted scholarship money for the year that was not spent in 2019. Had we actually incurred that expense, our income and expenses would have been nearly identical to 2018.
Stewardship Circle: At the close of 2019, there were 18 individuals or couples who have indicated they will send dana on a regular basis, many of them monthly through online donations on the WHS website, bank electronic fund transfers, or by personal check, for a total member commitment of about $2100/month. Most individuals fulfilled their pledges in 2019.
Conclusion: Thanks to the generous contributions of Sangha members and other participants in Sangha events, our income more than covered our 2019 expenses. Hopefully, they will be able to continue to do so in 2020. However, the COVID-19 pandemic presents challenges to the Sangha. Most likely, due to social distancing and safety requirements, the White Heron Sangha Meditation Center will be closed for the rest of the year, except for small gatherings. Online practice opportunities are now in place and most likely will continue through at least 2020.
The financial status of the Sangha is solid but community financial challenges now will undoubtedly affect the ability of some members to support the Sangha at current levels. Unless we can encourage more members and participants in our offerings to contribute to the Sangha, it is quite possible that we will need to utilize some of the available reserves in 2020 to cover our ongoing expenses.
If anyone wishes to view the full details about any income or expense figure, please contact Greg Thomas, Treasurer, email@example.com.
Next article - Summer 2020