WAYfinders & Friends,
It’s hard to believe WAYfinding was four years old this past October. It’s been quite a journey.
From the very beginning, WAYfinding has been both scrappy experiment and grand vision. It’s been four years of giving ideas a shot, watching some work and others sputter, and ultimately, always trying again. Four years of being and growing, and yet always also imagining and discerning what comes next. Four years of creating a beautiful community movement where folks from diverse theological and ideological perspectives can come together to explore the big questions and practice what it means to be compassionate and loving. And, four years of growing from 8 people in one group to, this fall, 60 people in seven groups and 20 WAYkids.
I am proud of what we’ve created. I hope you are too.
It has also been four years of piecing together a scrappy budget. This is okay. Sweat equity and “making it work” is all part of building something new. But, it’s important we begin making big leaps toward becoming a financially sustainable organization. We need to support the work we’re doing, if we want to continue it and innovate.
To this end, as we head into 2017, I am writing you with a financial update and ask.
First, please find below pie charts (because who doesn’t love those) of WAYfinding’s 2016 income and expenses. As you can see, despite our modest budget of $40K, income is not covering expenses. This has meant, for the last 3 years, we’ve been operating at a loss. Consequently, the organization has not been able to pay me the full Director’s salary of $35K (rather, it’s been $25K). It has also meant smaller budgets for outreach, program and round development, etc.
In order to take a big step in the break-even direction in 2017, it is necessary, as a community, we shift internal contributions to a larger percentage of the total. This leads me to my ask… would you help us raise $5K for WAYfinding by year’s end? If every participant this fall gave $85, we’d get there. If everyone on this mailing list gave just $25, we’d get there. I know we can do this!
This money will help fund several of our 2017 goals: Develop new groups and partnerships. Continue growing WAYkids. Begin exploration of a WAYteens program. Shift from operating through Christian Theological Seminary to a separate non-profit entity (and set up required accounting systems). And, set up a WAYfinding Scholarship Fund.
Let me take just a minute to explain our Scholarship Fund. The Advisory Team recently concluded it is no longer sustainable to offer an entire round for free to first-time participants. Instead, we will continue to offer free Sample WAYfinding meetings, as well as set up a formal Scholarship Fund. Because it is our intention that the inability to contribute financially never keep someone from participating, we have always offered free rounds to anyone who needs it. Now, this offering with be formalized, allowing folks to select this option when signing up. Establishing a Fund also means participants can more directly sponsor a new or existing participant. For example, you invite Matt from work to a round and tell him you’d like his first round to be on you.
We hope you will give. To donate toward our $5K December goal, please fill out an Investment Form. Then, using the same link, you may donate online or mail in a check. Please thoughtfully consider what you can give. You can give a one-time donation or become a sustaining member.
In fact, as an additional goal, I’m hoping 10 more people will become sustaining members. That’s $30+ a month. Check out www.wayfindinglife.org/invest to read about the different investment levels. For example, if you appreciate our Scholarship Fund, you may become a Sustaining Member at the Scholarship level for $45 per month. This equates to investing in yourself as well as 4 rounds for other folks!
Let’s support financially this community movement we love!
A fellow WAYfinder wrote me recently that she felt from day one WAYfinding was “a significant part of [my] soul externalized.” She’s right; for me, WAYfinding has always felt like a personal calling. I also believe it’s part of something much bigger: that the world’s soul is externalizing in new ways; that we’re moving to a consciousness of One even as we celebrate our diversity more fully. This is what WAYfinding is all about! It’s also more important than ever, as tribalism rears its ugly head in this country and beyond. I hope you’ll help support the good work we’re doing through a financial contribution this December.
And, if you cannot, please continue to contribute your voice, time and energy. We’ve got Sample WAYfinding meetings coming up, Winter Round sign ups begin December 13th, and we’re always looking for new facilitators. Thank you!
Sincerely and in peace,