While there are no easy answers about how to moderate historic trends, a careful examination of what are the factors that may have influenced those trends is a helpful place to start.
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What a difference inflation makes when trying to figure out what has happened to historic funds like the M&S1.
Consider the following chart which shows the historic amount received from Pastoral Charges:
That looks like a steady rise reaching a peak about 1987 of $28,400,000 and then holding steady to the present $28,000,000 in 2010.
And since the number of Identified Givers to M&S has dropped from 268,000 to 116,000 over that same period, it looks as though today’s donors give an average of $240 compared with $105 in 1987. A significantly increased commitment.
But when the historic data is adjusted for inflation based on the CPI for 2010, here’s what happens:
Now we see the effect of Depression during the 1930’s, and the growth of the post-World War II period, peaking in 1964 at $62,700,000 (in 2010’s dollar values).
And by today’s values, the M&S has declined from the 1964 peak by $34,700,000 or 55%. This data helps explain the inability of the M&S Fund to maintain the level of programs from the 1960’s – or 1980’s or 90’s for that matter.
The average 1987 donation is $180 compared with today’s $240. Still a notable increased commitment.
When the UCW was formed in 1962, donations to M&S from its groups were also tracked as shown in the chart below.
Including the donations from the UCW, the total M&S has declined from a peak of $75,700,000 in 1964 to $29,800,000 in 2010; a decline of $45,900,000 or 60%. Ouch.
And if the trend for the past 10 years does not change, UCW offerings for M&S will reach zero in 2022, and the Total M&S will be $19,000,000 in 2025; a further decline of $10,800,000 or 35%.
The chart below shows the number of Identifiable Givers to Local Expenses (Line 18) and to M&S (Line 19). The shape of the graphs is similar to other data for attendance, total givings, etc.
The number of Givers to Local Expenses rose from 265,000 in 1945 to a peak of 543,000 in 1961. The number in 2010 is 258,000 a decline of 285,000 or 52%. If the trend for the past ten years does not change, the number in 2025 will be 166,000, a further loss of 92,000 or 36%.
The number of Givers to M&S rose from 144,000 in 1945 to a peak of 374,000 in 1962. The number in 2010 is 116,000, a decline of 258,000 or 69%. If the trend for the past ten years does not change, the number in 2025 will be 63,000, a further loss of 53,000 or 46%.
While the Total Raised for All Purposes by Congregational Givings (Line 32A) has also been steadily declining since 1964, we can see from the following chart that in 1982 the M&S Received from the Pastoral Charge (Exclusive of UCW) (Line 36) fell below 16% of the Total Raised to 11% in 2010. If the trend for the past 10 years does not change, the percentage will decline to 8% in 2025.
The chart below comparing Identifiable Givers to M&S (Line 19) as a percentage of Identifiable Givers to Local Expenses (Line 18) shows that at its peak in 1962 there were 7 M&S Givers for every 10 Givers to Local Expenses. This has been followed by decades of decline mixed with decades of holding steady. The ratio in 2010 is 4.5 M&S Givers for every 10 Givers to Local Expenses. If the trend for the past 10 years does not change, this ratio will decline to 4.0 M&S Givers for every 10 Givers to Local Expenses.
In spite of the overall declines of the amount raised and the number of Identifiable Givers to M&S, the chart below shows that the M&S Received from the Pastoral Charge (Exclusive of UCW) (Line 36) divided by the number of Identifiable Givers to M&S (Line 19) has risen from just under $190 in the 1990’s to $240 in 2010 an increase of $50 or 26%. If the trend for the past ten years does not change, this amount will rise to $300 in 2010, a further increase of $60 or 20%.
While there are no easy answers to reversing historic trends, the above data points to two potential areas for exploration:
- Why are fewer Local Givers also giving to M&S? What could be done to reverse this trend?
- Why are Pastoral Charges raising a smaller percentage of Total Raised for All Purposes by Congregational Givings that is for M&S? What could be done to reverse this trend?
1 All data is from The United Church of Canada Year Book.
Permission is granted for non-profit use of these materials provided credit is acknowledged as, "David Ewart, www.davidewart.ca."