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Changes in Your Membership Renewal Packet

by Stefanie Kushner, executive director

Please watch your mailbox for your Temple Beth El membership renewal packet in early December.

In the packet we will share stories from current members describing how TBE fuels their lives, just as your membership dollars fuel our work.

Our Board of Trustees carefully oversees the use of these funds, which represent the single largest source of revenue for TBE.

In recent years we have been very gratified to welcome new, young families to our congregation, which has increased our total membership. These new faces are a testament to the strength of our Temple.

However, TBE has experienced a decrease in total income: membership contributions dropped from $815,000 in 2018 to just below $800,00 in 2019.

Reasons include recent tax code changes, which have decreased charitable contributions. We have also seen a decrease in the average contribution as younger families have joined, congregants with larger average contributions have left for retirement in warmer climates, and many current members have not increased their contribution in many years.

As income from membership has decreased, our expenses have gone up:

  • Inflation has led to higher utility costs, higher prices for the goods we purchase, and higher prices for services such as cleaning and garbage collection.
  • Staffing changes have added to our payroll costs, while allowing us to improve our member relations, enhance the professionalism and effectiveness of our communications, and maintain our aging building.
  • Costs to repair or replace equipment in our aging building have continued to climb, and frequency of maintenance has increased.

To account for the difference between membership contribution income and rising operating costs, the Temple Beth El Board of Trustees has passed a one-time request for a donation equal to 10 percent of your current membership contribution. For example, if you currently pay $1,500, we will ask you to consider an additional $150 donation. We thank you in advance for your generous response, which will help keep TBE on a sustainable path in the face of rising expenses. 

The board approved this increase with the understanding that the finance committee will continue to evaluate the membership contribution process and recommend potential changes to the current structure, which has been in place for approximately 20 years.

I am always available to answer your questions about membership contributions and the financial health of Temple Beth El. We will continue to keep you updated through future editions of the Giving Spotlight and the Temple Bulletin. Don’t hesitate to contact me at exec@tbemadison.org or 608-238-3123.

November 14, 2019 16 Cheshvan 5780