Accountability is very important. At Crow, we make decisions based on what seems best to the Holy Spirit and to us (Acts 15:28), but sometimes we make bad decisions, and need to review them. That's the purpose of having a community. If you have a question about finances, please let us know, and as they come up, we will continue to add to this list! And, as always, we welcome your questions, and your concerns. We even welcome criticism - though in the end, our commitment is to God, and we must please God rather than men. (Acts 5:29)
As we receive these questions, we will add them below.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. I note that salaries/wages increased significantly from 2019, and had thought that, perhaps due to covid slowdowns, that expenditure might have gone down?
Answer: There were several pertinent factors that led to salary/wage changes in 2020. The first two were known in advance and budgeted for in the lead-up to 2019-2020 fiscal year:
Planned Sabbatical: Daniel Vanderpyl, our Director of Outdoor Programs took a four month sabbatical, in part to complete the requirements of a Master's Degree, in part for family reasons. This sabbatical was very successful, but meant that we had to backfill his position for several months before and after his departure. That salary is a large part of the overall salary-line increase. This increase was anticipated and budgeted for in advance. (Daniel is now back in his role as Director of Outdoor Programs.)
Staff team Structure Changes:
When kitchen coordinator Jeanette Kazakawich and volunteer coordinator Danika Vanderpyl resigned in September/October 2019, we made some changes to job descriptions, with the intention of increasing our total capacity for peak season. We divided the jobs, rather than giving them to one individual. The thinking was: during May/June/July/August, when demand is highest, we will have a higher total capacity. (I still think this was a good idea, but we never really saw it in action, due to summer cancellation.) There was some associated increase in salary cost to make this change, but because most of the individuals in these roles were hourly employees, it wasn't very large. This change was budgeted for in advance.
We hired a new role - Integration Coordinator - with the intention of doing a better job ensuring that kids from camp are connected to local churches after the summer ends. We want to know which kids coming to camp have a spiritual community back home, and for those that do not, we want to do a better job of making introductions. We also expect the Integration Coordinator will help us connect with the local community, with things like... Craft Sales at the camp, fitness or literacy classes for families... It's funny, but there are many people in the Crowsnest Pass that are not aware that the camp exists. We'd like to change that, so we built this position. This salary is a large part of the overall salary-line increase. This increase was anticipated and budgeted for in advance.
The next two were unexpected increases:
Randy Demman, Maintenance Director, had a knee replacement in September, and was 6 weeks on paid bed rest, and then 6 weeks on reduced duty. During this time, we backfilled (hired Jason Lyons) to ensure we kept up on the Maintenance front. 4 weeks of Jason's salary is included in the trial balance. This change was not budgeted for (we didn't know the surgery was going to be happening until August).
Full-time Cook: In response to Covid, we decided to hire a head cook for the entire summer. Normally, we rotate through a series of head cooks for the entirety of the summer. To make our "summer cohort model" pass muster with AHS, we needed someone willing to “self-isolate” on-site all summer to make this possible. I expect that cost was approximately $7,000.
To be entirely forthright... when the impact of Covid became apparent in April, I thought we would be making significant lay-offs. However, the Federal Government created a program (Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy - CEWS) providing very substantial salary support for businesses and not-for-profits, like Crow, that had suffered a decline in revenue as a result of Covid. I interpreted this program as an effort by the federal government to prioritize keeping people gainfully and usefully employed, rather than seeing layoffs, loading many more people on EI or the CERB. Consequently, I decided to keep people employed & busy, as much as possible, with a lot of 'renovation' type work that needed to be done. In the office, that meant updates to donor management, bookkeeping, and so forth (we automated payroll with Ceridian, for instance). In maintenance, we did approximately a million trips to the dump (maybe only a few dozen, but it felt like a million). We borrowed a woodchipper from Johan Knol and did a lot of bush clean up. We tore down and removed an old storage trailer, as well as the Classroom and the Manager's Cabin at Mountain Site. We renovated the boat house and the archery range. Many other projects that had been long-planned but were never possible to complete, because there were always kids around.
We have applied for CEWS covering March - August 2020, and to date have received approximately $100,000+ from this program. We will apply for September when the fiscal year-end books are finalized, and I would expect a further $20,000 in Salary support (total of $120,000+ over March - September). Given this support, and given the apparent federal government priority of keeping folks employed, it didn't make any sense to me to lay people off to constrain Crow's salary costs.
We did increase two salaries this year, each by $100/month, because those positions were being paid less than minimum wage assuming full-time hours.
FAQ #2. “Your written comments reference a marked decline in revenues, but the statement of revenues & expenditures shows a $160,000 year-over-year increase in donations to the operating fund and an overall increase in total donations of $137,000. Have I understood the statement correctly? If so, can you help me rationalize the comments about a decline in revenue with what I’m seeing in the statement?”
Answer: Thank you for engaging the documents.
The short answer on this one is “A Tale of Two Years”.
Our fiscal year runs 1 October to 30 September, so last fiscal year was one quarter of 2019, and three quarters of 2020.
The first quarter, 1 October to 31 December 2019 saw significant - really, unprecedented - contributions to the ministry. Crow’s revenue in those three months was more than $456,000 - an increase of more than 177% year over year, and $246,000 over the same period in 2018. January & February 2020 were also strong months. This was the part of the year that was referenced in the finance report as “the best of times.”
“Your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.” ~ Proverbs 3:10
After that… well, 2020 has been “the worst of times.” We lost all our rental revenue in Spring 2020 - tens of thousands of dollars. And we saw significant decline in donations over the summer - which is precisely what you would expect, given the concurrent decline in campers.
|July 2019||$91,953.93||July 2020||$28,472.00||- 69%|
|August 2019||$49,475.72||August 2020||$19,609.00||- 60%|
These significant declines have continued through September, October, and November as well. All told, this is a real concern for us. Should we budget for donations of $20,000/month? $45,000/month? No, I am really asking: how should we manage our budgeting for this coming year?