Expenses versus Income - The Cold Hard Facts
MERA is a not for profit corporation incorporated by Letters Patent in the Province of Ontario and is a registered charity. The schoolhouse building and property is owned and maintained as a community centre by the Corporation of the Township of Lanark Highlands and is leased to MERA for a token amount.
If you have visited MERA, or spent any time at this website, you will have realized that there are a great many activities that go on at this community centre. Some of these program activities are largely volunteer driven and low cost, while other program activities involve the expenditure and collection of more significant amounts of money. Underlying and supporting all of these activities are the operating expenses related to the building and general administration.
Virtually all programming at MERA is organized and coordinated by volunteers. However visiting performers and instructors are paid at fair market value, and this, along with the attendant costs for promotion and supplies, adds up to a not insignificant figure. The estimated programming costs for 2018 are $20,000.
General & Operating Expenses
MERA is largely responsible for the costs of day to day building services and operations such as heat, hydro, telephone, etc. Day to day interior and exterior maintenance is looked after by David Wilson who been our conscientious and reliable part time caretaker for several years now. Additional “fixed” costs include accounting, insurance and office expenses. The estimated 2018 operating expenses are $17,000.
Communication and coordination are essential if a community organization such as MERA is to function effectively. We have been most fortunate to have hired a succession of dedicated and efficient part time administrators who have been consistently under-paid for the time and expertise they have contributed to manage the scheduling, reporting, collections, payments and general coordination required to keep MERA running smoothly. Our current administrator extraordinaire is Trina Conboy. The 2018 estimate for administrative coordination is $4,250.
MERA receives one annual operating grant of approximately $1900 from the Township of Lanark Highlands. All other grants that have been received over the last several years have been tied to supporting specific events or projects. For 2018 MERA has received a $1000 grant from the Basketry Network for various workshops and $1500 from the Perth & District Community Fund for the Family Focused Neighbourhood Party project.
The lion’s share of income is generated by the programming at MERA. However, income does not necessarily indicate profit. For example, music events and workshops contribute approximately one third of the programming income and yet return little profit after expenses. Conversely, membership fees, the Annual Christmas Fair and the ‘Round the World Dinners return significant amounts after expenses.
All program activities at MERA strive to be at least self-sustaining and over the last several years, with a few exceptions, all have contributed income back to MERA. These exceptions have all been reviewed and approved beforehand by MERA’s board of directors as worthwhile investments that include such things as the initial 2017 Family Neighbourhood Parties, Pottery Studio upgrades and the website project.
Income from grants, memberships, participant & admission fees, building rentals and sales & commissions for the year 2018 is estimated to be $28,600.
As of December 31, 2017, MERA’s assets amounted to $53,170, comprised primarily of cash, bank deposits and term deposits. This is MERA’s financial “cushion” that allows the organization to deal with unexpected contingencies should the need arise.
The Need for Fundraising
Total Estimated 2018 Programmng & Operating Expenses = $41,250
Estimated Income before Fundraising = $28,600
Fundraising Target to Reach Balanced Budget in 2018 = $12,650
In 2017 investment expenditures approved by the board, along with the winding down of the 2016-2017 Labyrinth fundraising campaign resulted in a deficit of $4,463.
Donations to MERA pure fundraising programs have fallen off over the last few years: $14,784 in 2015, $8,924 in 2016 and $3,675 in 2017. This trend cannot be allowed to continue but the figures also illustrate that the community resources are there if the need is effectively communicated.
A committee has been struck to examine fundraising options and recommend projects for 2018 to begin this spring.