Connectional Table hones budget process

March 14, 2018

Funding requests from the New England Conference’s committees, boards, and agencies were the topic when the Connectional Table met on March 7, 2018.
The Connectional Table is responsible for reviewing and making recommendations regarding requests for funding from the programming budget (Fund 2). Those recommendations are then passed to the Conference Council on Finance and Administration (CFA), which develops the proposed budget for the Conference.

Members recommended a total of $364,475 in spending for Fund 2 in 2019; $23,000 less than the total of $387,475 requested in groups’ proposals.

With many congregations facing difficult financial circumstances and struggling to meet their Mission Shares, Connectional Table member Steve Dry said he felt the decrease in spending “sends the right message” that the Conference is committed to good stewardship of our funds.

Requests for funding were received from 19 of 23 groups included in Fund 2; four did not submit requests.
The Connectional Table’s role is focused on determining program investment and assessing how well ministries are meeting the mission and vision of the Conference as laid out in the Strategic Plan.

To help assess proposals this year and in the future, the Connectional Table developed a “scorecard,” an evaluation tool that is designed to:
  • Provide a framework for evaluation
  • Evaluate proposals more objectively and consistently
  • Expedite the budget process
  • Ensure that all voices are part of the process
  • Provide greater feedback to organizations regarding their proposals
The scorecard included four broad categories for evaluation: Fit, Financials, Performance, and Vision.

Fit –  includes how well the group connected their proposal to the Conference’s mission, vision and critical values
Financials – examines whether the amount requested is in line with the group’s historic impact, as well as its potential impact.
Performance – looks at past metrics and proposed metrics for measuring impact in the future. 
Vision – considers if a proposal offers “new and creative opportunities to live out the mission, vision, and critical values of the Annual Conference.”

Each category is assigned a point total: Fit (30 points), Financials (30 points), Performance (30 points) and Vision (10 points). Proposals were given scores and received comments from the Connectional Table members.

This scorecard provided a valuable starting place for the conversation, and helped to focus the conversations, but did not limit a robust dialogue about the funding proposals.

Members said they will continue to refine the evaluation scorecard, the processes for how funding proposals are made, and how they will provide feedback to boards, committees, and agencies about how their requests were evaluated.

The Connectional Table meets three to four times each year. Its next meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on May 16, 2018.