|Vietnam Veterans of America|
|Treasurer’s Report, May/June 2021|
A Strong Comeback
BY JACK McMANUS
VVA’s financial outlook a year ago was very bleak, indeed. We didn’t know if we would survive the coronavirus pandemic, and, if we did, how long until our funding stream returned. There were no encouraging words from our funding partners, and the whole nonprofit world was predicting catastrophic doom.
The VVA Finance Committee submitted, and the Board of Directors approved, a revised “survival” budget in response to the funding crisis created by the economic collapse triggered by the pandemic and its restrictions. The revised budget froze spending, reduced staffing, and ceased or slashed everything but our most critical veterans service operations.
Anticipating the need, we approved the option to partially fund the operating budget with VVA’s reserve funds, which had been set aside over many years in preparation for this kind of event. We estimated we might need $1.5 to $2.0 million from the reserve funds, depending on the extent of funding from multiple fundraising channels—all of which depended on donor generosity in the midst of the crisis.
I am happy to say that we were able to execute the budget objectives almost exactly as planned. The largest discrepancy in the budget, in fact, was not on the spending side but in the funding recovery. An unexpected outpouring of generous donations from all of our fundraising channels made a positive difference.
Ultimately, we didn’t need to go into our operating reserve funds as projected. Cash flow was phenomenal and exceeded every expectation. We kept expenses within the revised budgeted costs, and with the cooperation and participation of the entire VVA organization, we largely hit our expense projections.
The Board of Directors recently approved the FY2022 budget. It’s a recovery budget as we strive to reinvigorate our veterans service and advocacy programs. We have renewed hope with an in-person VVA Convention in November. With the return of The VVA Veteran to print, we can provide updated information to you and the general public about the vital interests of veterans and their families.
If all goes well, at the Convention we will get a clear direction from the membership on how VVA will operate as the organization fades away. Despite speculation to the contrary, our highest level of governance—the National Convention and its elected delegates—has not determined the path we will follow. We need every chapter in VVA to heavily participate in this year’s National Convention in Greensboro, North Carolina. This could be our last opportunity to influence exactly how VVA will fade away. The resolutions and constitutional amendments that come out of the Convention will make those decisions on behalf of the membership—not fancy speeches about our glorious past.
The future remains in our members’ hands, and we need them to participate in determining its direction.
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