Below is the letter from our Executive Director Sr. Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN, which opens the 2015 Annual Report. To see the entire 2015 Annual Report, click here.
As your Executive Director, I am pleased to submit this Annual Report to you as a summary of our 2015 activity. I am especially pleased, on behalf of the National Council and staff, to tell you that we had a very, very good year.
In past Annual Reports I have, unfortunately, had to tell you of difficult times we faced financially, which, of course, had impact programmatically because we weren’t able to do things we had hoped to do. My goal in 2015 was to reverse this trend and I am pleased to tell you that in 2015 we began the process of stabilizing our finances to such an extent that we have gone from a deficit budget to a small surplus – in just one year. This has allowed us to concentrate more on being a leader in the effort to bring peace with justice to our country and the world, always with our work centered in Catholic Social Teaching.
Here are some of the highlights of our year:
- From a fundraising perspective, we have begun to put systems in place for raising the money we need to be more effective. In 2015, for example, we budgeted to raise $8.52 and in fact raised $134,668.28 – a 100% revenue over expenses. We did that by becoming much more intentional in communicating with our donors, especially our Major Donors, and by asking them to support us at higher levels. We began to emphasize Membership as a central way to mobilize and fund our organization. For our members, we budgeted to raise $76,675. In fact we raised $105,957. In FY2014 we had 3,671 members and in FY 2015, we have 3,855 members and our membership continues to see signs of growth.
- We completely retired our debt to Pax Christi International. We are proud members of Pax Christi International and know that we must support them with our monthly assessment. As of result of financial restraints in the past, we had fallen behind on our assessment to the tune of $75,000. Thanks to the generosity of one of our major donors, we completely paid off what we owed to our International Office.
- We called or visited every single major donor to the organization. I personally flew to the Midwest to meet with several of our donors and all of them increased their already generous gifts to Pax Christi USA.
- We were advised to send our direct mail appeals to people who had supported us in the past but had stopped supporting us. This raised the number of year-end appeal letters we sent out from 3,617 to 9,000. I am pleased to tell you that for the Christmas appeal, for which we expected $25,000, we actually raised $46,467 and we expect even more to come in from that appeal in January.
- Much of this success also was due to stabilizing our databases. We now know who our friends are and are able to better communicate with them.
This financial stability progress has resulted in remedying a situation we have desperately needed to for some time. We are able in 2016 to again have all our full-time employees working 40 hour weeks and we are able to provide a stipend for health insurance. Pax Christi USA needs a full-time staff. Once again, now, we are almost there.
Our work in the financial area is not done however. We still need to improve in some areas and I commit to you that we will do this in 2016 to further take us on the road to stability.
We have had a good year together my friends. And the future is looking brighter than ever thanks to the fabulous National Council you have assembled under the leadership of Cathy Woodson and the great staff that can once again give its full attention to our work. Look in 2016 for several new initiatives from the council, including taking a harder look at our structure to make us all more effective, and the national office providing more service to our regional offices and local chapters.
We look forward to continuing our work together to one day see that goal of a peaceful and just world realized.
With gratitude and hope,
Sr. Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN