At the bottom of this section there are downloadable PDFs covering the Combined LWVUS and LWVEF Summary of Proposed Budgets for 2018-2020 Biennium, LWVUS Proposed Budget for 2018-2020 Biennium and LWVEF Proposed Budget for 2018–2020 Biennium.

DELEGATES' BUDGET RESPONSIBILITIES

Delegates to Convention participate in two votes related to the LWVUS budget:

  1. Deciding the PMP for the fiscal biennium, running from July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2020, and
  2. Adopting the LWVUS budget for the 2018-2020 biennium.

The proposed LWV Education Fund (LWVEF) budget for the biennium is also presented because the LWVUS and LWVEF budgets are interrelated.  However, the Bylaws provide for its adoption by the LWVEF Board of Trustees and not Convention delegates.

OVERVIEW

The 2018-2020 budget was built to support LWV Strategic Goals. The budget reflects continued increases in investment in the mission work of the organization and the ability to fund same. The budget also funds the initial implementation of the Transformation Roadmap, reflecting continued commitment to organizational change, and building upon initial investments in this work in the prior biennium. The budgeting process included several rounds of review by Staff and the Budget Committee. Certain budgeted revenues and expenses have shifted between LWVUS and LWVEF in order to better reflect the operations of each.   

Today both LWVUS and LWVEF are financially very strong. Financial performance in the 2016-2018 biennium period outperformed what was approved at convention more than six-fold. As compared to a 2016 Convention approved ($448K) budgeted operating deficit, it is projected that the biennium will end with an operating surplus of nearly +$3M for LWVUS/EF combined. Due to the strong performance of FY 2017 and investing wisely, LWVUS and EF combined reserves today exceed $9M.  This is nearly $7M in excess of the required operating reserves per the League’s reserve policy for both entities - LWVUS has reserves $1.9M above the required minimum and LWVEF has reserves in excess of $5M above the minimum.

While balanced budgets continue to be our long-term ambition, the need to invest in the organization transformation comes at an important time as we approach our 100th anniversary and face critical challenges we must take action on. Both LWVUS and LWVEF budgets include planned drawdowns from reserves. A ($477,271) deficit is projected for LWVUS for the combined two-year period. A ($2.6M) deficit is projected for LWVEF for the combined two-year period.

It is appropriate to use reserves for nonrecurring expenses that build long-term capacity, which the Transformation Roadmap largely represents. Planned Transformation Roadmap investments over the biennium for the benefit of a stronger organization at all levels include increased programmatic grants to Leagues, investment in increasing diversity, equity and inclusion of volunteers as well as those we serve, establishing a programmatic impact and evaluation methodology and associated data and analytics framework, communications support to drive the Transformation, and substantial technology investments that include ‘join at all levels’, ‘all in CRM’, and upgrades to Vote411. 

REVENUE OVERVIEW

Individual contributions are the largest component of revenue. Most of this comes from non-League members. Public support for our work has increased dramatically since the 2016 election, though long-term commitment of new donors is unclear. Thus, we anticipate moderate growth in this area. Major Gifts is a new developing program and an area of strategic focus to grow revenue. 

Per Member Payments (PMP) make up our second largest revenue stream. Membership numbers have increased and thus PMP budgeted revenues have increased The PMP rate will not increase during the 2018-2020 biennium.

Corporate and Foundation revenue projections have been decreased from the 2016-2018 biennium budget. Though investment continues in developing and improving long-term relationships with a discrete number of foundations in the democracy space, these relationship-building efforts have taken longer than originally anticipated. Funding from foundations is also subject to a changing landscape of priority funding areas and alignment between funders and organizations such as LWV seeking funding.  

Under the LWVEF budget, licensing fees include revenue from Vote411.org and E.thePeople, and Other Income includes substantial in-kind revenue of $970,000 related to a grant from Google for free advertisement for Vote411.org as well as pro bono legal services; Election Services and Advocacy have an in-kind expense in their budgets that correspond with this income.

OPERATING EXPENSES

The combined LWVUS and LWVEF budgets support all functions of the national organization. They are aligned with our mission and consistent with the strategic goals that were adopted by the Board of Directors/Trustees in January 2016 and endorsed by delegates at the 2016 Convention.  Transformation Roadmap expenses, including additional programmatic grants for Leagues, are included in the departments in which the expense will be incurred. Presentation of the budget is organized by function, with program areas listed individually. Much of the national organizations’ work and resultant social impact at the local, state, and national levels is carried out by volunteers, although the in-kind value of such support is not reflected in these budgets.    

Development, our largest expense, is revenue-producing and can be seen as an investment in the organization for the short and long term. Some Development costs promote and drive our mission work, though most expenses are tied to revenue generation. Development costs include staff time, consultants needed for specialized fundraising avenues, mailing list rental costs, printing, postage and more. 

Administrative Services is a centralized cost center for shared expenses such as rent, telephone, some technology licenses, staff and other resources necessary for the League to operate at a national level. Some of the initial investment in the organizational Transformation are included within Administrative Services. 

Election Services includes much of the core mission work of the League and is appropriately housed in LWVEF, while Communications is a needed service for both organizations and thus allocated between the two entities. Staff reporting of “actual time spent” provided the new allocation ratios for functional costs in these and all other departments.

Advocacy includes both lobbying and non-lobbying activities, to help shape public policies at the national, state and local levels. The continued focus on protecting voters and voting rights, finance reform that keeps dark money out of elections, and redistricting reform under our Campaign for Making Democracy Work® continues into this next biennium. 

Member Services continues a focus on sharing best practices and supporting communication of our mission work, along with member/leadership development through Council, Convention, and MLD. Investment in this area has been increased substantially to support diversity, equity, and inclusion, and development of a program impact and evaluation framework, associated data and analytics, and staff support. 

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