Village News (November 16, 2017)
By Barry Dyck
Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) is not the only organization trying to close the year with black ink on the bottom line. Many organizations end their fiscal year on December 31. This is also the time of year when individuals and businesses are assessing their profits for the almost-completed year and making decisions about sharing some of those profits with charities. We are again inviting our constituency to keep MHV in mind when making those year-end giving decisions.
MHV has had a challenging year as we have faced ongoing cost increases. Labour rates continue to increase as the minimum-wage rate goes up. Insurance premiums and property taxes are on the rise. Costs for food in the Livery Barn Restaurant, office supplies, and fuel for our lawn mowers are also not static. We have had little or no control over most of these increases.
However, we are always on the lookout for ways to cut costs. This year, for example, we initiated a project to replace a large number of incandescent lights with new and more energy-efficient LED lights. The Manitoba Government’s Community Places Program, Manitoba Hydro’s Power Smart Program, and a number of supporting individuals and businesses came together to provide the funding for this initiative. We fully expect this to reduce our energy and maintenance costs going forward, as the bulbs will last longer and we will not need to spend time and money replacing them.
At this point, however, we still need over $200,000 of revenue before the end of this year to hit our 2017 income target. While our gift shop and our facility rental business will continue to generate income these remaining months, much of the needed revenue must still come through personal and corporate donations. These donations will support the work that we do in preserving and interpreting important and interesting artifacts and stories; building community with our festivals, education programs, and meeting facilities; and generating tourism which feeds the local economy of the Southeast.
There are multiple ways to make a financial donation to MHV. Our office in the Village Centre is open from 9:00 to 5:00 Monday through Friday, and we are always happy to receive cash or cheques. Donations can also be made with a credit card, either in our office or on our website at www.mhv.ca. There is a “Donate” button on every page of our website for ready access. For those who have investment shares that they would like to donate, it is significant to note that there are tax advantages to converting shares into charitable donations. This can readily be accomplished through an organization like Abundance Canada who can provide advice on tax benefits of various giving plans and also process donations.
Regular monthly giving is also an option through the “Donate” button on our website. A regular pre-authorized debit (PAD) from a donor’s bank account to ours can be arranged. This provides MHV with regular and reliable income and offers the donor a hassle-free method of providing support.
Our constituency has supported our Foundations for a Strong Future campaign in a big way, for which we are very grateful. This campaign is providing significant support to the longer-term capital initiatives which are essential for MHV to thrive in the coming years. We are just $850,000 short of our $3 million goal and hope to reach that by the end of 2018.
So as 2017 is soon coming to a close, we are inviting our constituency to once again consider how best to support MHV. We need regular annual operating funds to pay the bills and keep our doors open. But we also need capital-project funds to ensure future organizational health. We appreciate every donation that comes our way, regardless of its size.