Communique #4 – Treasurers

October 08, 2020

National Secretary-Treasurer Janet McLean, October 8, 2020

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Dear provincial treasurers,

On September 21st Catholics celebrated the feast of St. Matthew, the patron saint of accountants. He is my kind of saint! Even in his gospels, he was short and to the point. His writings directed to the Jewish people showed them what was written in The Old Testament had been fulfilled in their time by Christ, the Messiah. As treasurers, we tend to be concise and to the point and lay out the facts. So, here it goes.

These are challenging times for members. Most of us cannot meet in person. Many churches can only accommodate a limited number of parishioners. Parish councils can hardly do any fundraising, and members may be suffering from physical, financial or emotional distress and desperately need a hug from their League sisters! Thank goodness for our faith and for the fact that God is always with us. So let us get to work and deal with issues that you or your counterparts at other levels may be facing.

Payment of membership fees
“Why pay a membership fee since everything is closed?” is a remark you may hear spoken. Remember, the national portion of the per capita fee is $13.00 and work at national office is certainly not on hold! Office building expenses (rent, utilities, maintenance), office equipment, and staff expenses cost approximately $6.50 per member. Expenses for implementing the strategic plan are approximately $2.50 per member and The Canadian League costs approximately $3.50 per member. National also provides funds for League development, the national executive expenses, and funds a large part of the national convention. The League’s financial stability is directly affected by the number of its members, so early membership renewal and remittance for 2021 is essential. Please encourage your diocesan counterparts to share this with their councils.

Insurance
Directors’ and officers’ liability insurance for national, provincial and diocesan needs to be maintained as does general liability insurance for all councils. Some in-person meetings are taking place, and all it takes is one claim to illustrate the importance of insurance. Negotiations with the insurers took place in an attempt to lower the rate for 2021, but unfortunately, insurers across the board are taking a very hard line. The League advised that very few meetings and activities were taking place but to no avail. A reduction from $0.50 to $0.45 per member for the liability insurance for 2021 has been received. Please make sure your diocesan counterparts ensure members understand that the payment of the $0.45 per member insurance fee is for the good of all members—much like wearing a mask to protect others.

Preparation of a 2021 budget
A budget is a financial forecast for the coming year. It is essential so that you know what your council can expect in income for the year and what expenses you will be able to pay from this income. It enables your council to make plans regarding your annual convention, meetings of your provincial executive, workshops or development days you may wish to offer and subsidies you may be able to provide to members to attend such events. Expenses can include the cost of licenses to hold online meetings and workshops, enabling you to keep in touch with diocesan and parish councils during these unprecedented times. A five-year forecast is also a good tool to use to anticipate your provincial council’s needs for the future. Perhaps you incurred fewer expenses this year because conventions were not held, which may provide additional funds for the coming years. This is not a problem as surpluses are allowed and can help offset any future losses. As costs are likely to increase in the years ahead, a surplus now is a bonus for your council.

Next to prayer, being present for members is the most important thing that we can do at this time. Reach out to your counterparts and let them know that you are there for them. I am only too happy to assist you in any way that I can, so do not hesitate to contact me by e-mail or telephone if you have any questions or want to talk.

I saw a beautiful picture today of a guardian angel looking after her charge and found it very comforting. May your guardian angels keep you and your family well, and may Our Lady of Good Counsel keep you in her loving arms.