By Chris Wolf
I have a hard time prioritizing step-wise progress toward long range goals. I think I’m not alone in this as an adult, and I certainly see this struggle with students. Because we are not interested as a school in carrot stick incentive structures or punitive measures, if a course-project doesn’t have real stakes, it’s easy for the due date to feel kind of arbitrary, and it can be a struggle for teens to build the intrinsic motivation to meet the deadline. I wonder about how this dynamic is at play in our fundraising efforts. It’s no small achievement to raise over $16,000 in a month (deep thanks to all who contributed), and yet we were almost $20,000 short of our goal. Was this because of our lack of effort? Poor planning? Macro economic factors? Something else? With a student we look at all the factors and try to take a missed deadline as an opportunity for learning and growth: what was in your control? What wasn’t? What are the real consequences? How can you take steps to do it differently in the future?
In much of my work with the finances at Springhouse, there’s often an urgency that allows me to overcome my tendencies towards procrastination that can show up in other areas of my life. There are real consequences if a tax deadline is not met, if bills are not paid, or if checks are not deposited in the bank. I have a larger degree of control as to whether or not these targets are met. But in terms of revenues, it’s much less clear what is within our realm of influence. It has happened in the past that we are looking at a budget deficit moving into the end of the year, and the shortfall gets lumped in with our June fundraising target. With our backs against the wall of the fiscal year, a deadline with real consequences, and with the power and grace of something much greater, we have somehow managed to consistently meet, and even exceed, our budget goals. So have we learned that it’s not a big deal to miss our revenue targets along the way? Or are we learning something else?
While missing target revenues has mostly worked out for us in the past, rolling this shortfall into our June fundraiser goal means we would need to raise over $100,000 to meet our target this year. It’s not impossible and I have great faith in our community, but it does not feel sustainable as a long term strategy, and it’s certainly not comfortable, to have such uncertainty around 25% of money we need to bring for the year pushed off to the very last minute! It feels a little like pulling an all-nighter the day before the term paper is due.
Without the necessary financial resources, Springhouse will not be able to continue. Those of us who experience the treasure that is Springhouse work incredibly hard to ensure its continuation. We remain committed to keeping our offerings accessible to all, regardless of financial means. The turn of the calendar year means the beginning of my work developing the budget for the coming fiscal year. In this collaborative effort, we’ll be looking for ways to channel our efforts at bringing in the money that Springhouse needs more strategically and sustainably. This will mean growing our network of monthly supporters, cultivating relationships with philanthropically inclined individuals inspired by our work, developing alternative revenue streams and certainly continuing to tell the story of why the world needs Springhouse with even more clarity and courage. We are listening deeply as we take the next steps, holding hands and moving together. We are so grateful for the many individuals who believe in Springhouse and support our work, not just financially, but also with service, participation and mindful intention. Thank you for your part.