The Budget and how it is determined

Use this forum to discuss issues that are not found in any of the other clerk and stake technology specialist forums.
User avatar
johnshaw
Senior Member
Posts: 1838
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2007 1:55 pm
Location: Syracuse, UT

The Budget and how it is determined

Postby johnshaw » Thu Aug 11, 2011 5:52 am

I have thought for many years now as I have been in various leadership positions in the church that the current method of establishing budgets in stakes and wards is flawed. I even feel it adversely impacts wards and stakes outside the 'Mormon corridor' more than inside, and arguably any system we use should have the reverse.

Sacrament Meeting Attendance
  • The count is performed in March, June, September, and December
  • I find that 2 of those counting months (June and December) are traditionally when families go on vacation, many of them from outside of Utah go home to Utah, decreasing their home ward attendance, and increasing attendance in Utah wards - for students this can be multiple weeks affecting the counts negatively.
  • The counts often exclude members who are home sick... a family of 10 that is home ill one Sunday during the count can really impact numbers - partial families that a wife or husband is home with a kid or 2. Some women who are home during a new baby time, there are multiple reasons why a member isn't counted.
  • When a family that is partially there for some reason, but is generally there each week, isn't counted, it doesn't seem to me a good representation of the ward or branch.

I know that Generally this is something that an average is supposed to take care of, but, particularly for June and December, these months don't average well for me. I believe this leads to lower numbers in the diaspora Church.

I wonder if we counted members of our wards and branches like we do the YM and YW, if we wouldn't have a more accurate representation of activity for budget numbers, be more able to know who is there and who isn't, see a trend for a family starting towards the brink of inactivity, etc...

My second point is that wards and branches outside of the 'Mormon corridor' will spend more of their budget money on the programs of the church. A temple trip for the Youth (Adults as well) will include renting a bus for the day to get to a temple hours away. How many times does a ward in Utah need to take a BUS to a temple.

Activity rates are also often higher, generally, inside the 'Mormon corridor' and budgets for wards and stakes are much higher - generating more money for those wards.

I know there are many complications with funding a budget, the least of which is, you have to pick something, and it will never be perfect. But are there other ways you have thought of that would account for some of these complexities. Making the budgeting process a little more fair.

I have a hard time when a ward shows me their Sacrament meeting counts for December that look like this:
Week 1 - 160
Week 2 - 160
Week 3 - 140
Week 4 - 120

Average is 145 - but probably is better represented as 160... because in September it averaged 160, every month except December it averages 160... But even that average considering that Every week there is bound to be somebody that isn't present that would be considered active, if we counted generally, that could really mean 165 is a better representation, but we're off by 20*13 = $260 - a very nice YW activity that can't be held that year.

To those that will tell me that there is probably someone there Every week that isn't a member of the ward, and that makes up for the missed opportunities, I will tell you that I've been counting ward attendance outside of Utah off and on for 10 years, and you are wrong. It is magnitudes less likely that someone is visiting unexpectedly (contributing to higher than normal numbers) than someone stays home sick, or is on vacation, etc... (contributing to lower than normal numbers).

I welcome an opposing view in this thread, but was really hoping for some ideas on a potentially better system, maybe I'll be shown the light...

crislapi
Senior Member
Posts: 1265
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 3:05 pm
Location: USA

Postby crislapi » Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:49 am

No opposing view per se. I don't think anyone will argue that the current system is perfect. The latest iteration w/ CUBS automatically dispersing it has actually caused more concern since it makes it harder to help out your smaller/struggling wards. In the end, some systematic way of doing it had to be developed so a policy was developed. This way, everyone is counting the same way and during the same time periods. Could it be improved? Sure. Do I think discussing it here will lead to a change? No.

User avatar
aebrown
Community Administrator
Posts: 14693
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 8:48 pm
Location: Sandy, Utah

Postby aebrown » Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:51 am

JohnShaw wrote:I welcome an opposing view in this thread, but was really hoping for some ideas on a potentially better system, maybe I'll be shown the light...


Interesting thoughts. I live in the "Mormon Corridor", but I have lived outside of Utah, and I visit family and friends all over the country and, occasionally, the world. Here are some responses:

  • I think you're right about December. In our ward we tend to have a great December for sacrament meeting attendance. We have a lot of 50-80 year olds, who have kids and grandkids come home from school or visit during December.
  • In December (and occasionally in March), we get a bump in attendance from the C&E members, as a member of my stake presidency lovingly calls those rather inactive members who attend for Christmas and Easter. That effect may vary from ward to ward, but probably is not unique to Utah.
  • I don't think that the issue of members being sick is a notable factor. The Church knows that people get sick, and that is factored into the budget allocation amounts. So unless your ward has a much higher than average sickness rate, I would think we can ignore that point.
  • On the other hand, some vacation spots (mostly outside the Mormon Corridor) get a huge bump in attendance from vacationing members who attend their wards. I've been to some places in the summer where there are more visitors than regular members. Those locations get a disproportionate benefit from the budget formula.
None of those points make any suggestion for a different scheme. I imagine that any adjustment would have its pros and cons, and definitely would have winners and losers in terms of allocations to various units. We probably can't influence the policy from this discussion, but who knows? Maybe some good ideas might filter up to the policy makers.
Questions that can benefit the larger community should be asked in a public forum, not a private message.

atticusewig
Member
Posts: 308
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2007 9:48 am

Postby atticusewig » Thu Aug 11, 2011 9:44 am

Isn't counting visitors just to ease the counting process for the clerks ?
Honestly, the budget "earned" by visitors is seldom used for them.
The visitors give a ward extra money for activities populated by the "locals".
Should probably only be counting the locals, but that would be a nightmare
for clerks in high-turnover wards, I expect.

russellhltn
Community Administrator
Posts: 20762
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 2:53 pm
Location: U.S.

Postby russellhltn » Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:35 am

aebrown wrote:that is factored into the budget allocation amounts.


Good point. It's easy to see how some method "short changes" a unit on the head count. We're not told how the price per person is derived, but it's quite likely that any new method that changes the count on a church-wide basis would likely change the price per person so as to keep within some budget at the top level.

So any new method that increases headcount may or may not result in more money for the unit.


aebrown wrote:We probably can't influence the policy from this discussion, but who knows? Maybe some good ideas might filter up to the policy makers.


Quoted for emphasis.
Have you searched the Wiki?
Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

User avatar
johnshaw
Senior Member
Posts: 1838
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2007 1:55 pm
Location: Syracuse, UT

Postby johnshaw » Thu Aug 11, 2011 12:40 pm

I hope we can continue the discussion, however, in my own observations many of the successful parts of our church today started, not from the top, but the bottom. YW Personal Progress, which eventually led to the same on the AP side. Welfare, Primary. The leaders of the church are not dismissive of good ideas, but welcoming. This item weighs on my heart heavily, I don't know why, but I feel that the only way to move beyond what I feel is the right thing to do at this point, is to gather the data, information and the 'story' behind my thoughts, collect, and compile and submit this to my Stake President. If he feels so inclined, he can move it up. If he doesn't then it stays there, either way, I will have relieved my heart of this burden, and provided the information to my priesthood authority.

User avatar
johnshaw
Senior Member
Posts: 1838
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2007 1:55 pm
Location: Syracuse, UT

Postby johnshaw » Thu Aug 11, 2011 12:42 pm

So I've seen good comments on the counting parts of the initial post... What about the idea that wards and stakes not in the greater populated member areas are spending more budget on items out of necessity, and sometimes because of policy. Is this observed by others?

russellhltn
Community Administrator
Posts: 20762
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 2:53 pm
Location: U.S.

Postby russellhltn » Thu Aug 11, 2011 2:25 pm

JohnShaw wrote:So I've seen good comments on the counting parts of the initial post... What about the idea that wards and stakes not in the greater populated member areas are spending more budget on items out of necessity, and sometimes because of policy. Is this observed by others?


That's a tough one. Some costs are going to be greater, but the other activities might be cheaper. I'm sure it's easy to see where our units spend more money then others, but are likely blind to where we're cheaper.

While some units might grouse about paying for a temple bus, I'm sure others are envious about the quality time that unit gets to spend together and how the units that don't have temple buses have to do other activities to have that sense of bonding.
Have you searched the Wiki?

Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

crislapi
Senior Member
Posts: 1265
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 3:05 pm
Location: USA

Postby crislapi » Thu Aug 11, 2011 2:34 pm

JohnShaw wrote:So I've seen good comments on the counting parts of the initial post... What about the idea that wards and stakes not in the greater populated member areas are spending more budget on items out of necessity, and sometimes because of policy. Is this observed by others?

I see this request as essentially asking the budget amount to be increased for those who live outside Utah. Unfortunately, the argument is tied to specific activities that yes, are likely more expensive if the temple is more than a couple miles away. However, the flaw with that logic is money is not allocated per activity, it is allocated per member. There is no prescribed list of activities so there is no way to stratify expenses by geographic locations. Instead, every ward gets the same amount and it is up to the ward to decide how to best spend it. The difference that comes with geographic location is how frequently, perhaps, the activity can be held.

Until each unit is told what activities they must hold, it will be very difficult to create a way of taking this concern into account.

dannykos
Member
Posts: 295
Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2008 1:26 am
Location: UK, East Grinstead

Postby dannykos » Thu Aug 11, 2011 4:24 pm

The London temple is in my ward boundary - and so we take the youth there to do baptisms every 6 weeks. Obviously, it costs nothing against the YM/YW budgets. You'd think that we are better off than a ward that has to travel 3-4 hours on a saturday morning to bring their youth, a couple of times a year.

The reality is that familiarity breeds contempt - and so in some ways, I'd rather we had to make more of an effort to travel to go there. Some of our youth take the temple for granted due to their close proximity. I'm sure there are many other examples of different situations where there is a silver lining to a particular cloud if you look hard enough.


Return to “General Clerk Discussions”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest