Covid had changed all of our lives, but prior to it, BGES enjoyed its best response ever to a new tradition that has no purpose other than to balance the BGES books. BGES’s Annual Bucket Appeal is timed to help people considering their tax vulnerability and the ongoing needs of their favored charitable organizations to wrap up the year with a clean slate. For two years now, BGES has used it to pay off lingering credit card debt from our operations.
We entered 2020 with $83,000 in residual debt—our first target was a $38,000 Visa bill at 9.99% interest. This appeal and a symposium in Jacksonville reduced it by $8,000, and it was paid in full by mid-July. We owed one of our vendors $7,000 in arrears—that was paid off in August. Our final debt of $38,000 was at 4%. It was provided to relieve us of $50,000 in an American Express Card Pay Over Time debt at 22%. A member paid it off and now we are repaying them. That $50,000 debt is 27 months old and is now at $25,000. We expect to pay it off by the end of 2021—our original plan, which still looks good, is September 1, 2021. Three years from its inception.
Our pledge as we have done in years past is to take 100% of the funds donated under this umbrella ending on January 31, to the principal of the debt. With another payment due the lender at the end of the year, I hope to reduce the debt to between $15,000 and $18,000 by February 1.
Debt is a way of life and certainly. not a stranger to nonprofit organizations. We manage your funds carefully, and while some programs do not produce the revenue we anticipate, we have never defaulted on a debt, and we carefully manage our assets and cash flow to ensure we never fall into default. We are all members of the BGES or supporters. Every penny of debt paid in interest is money not directly supporting BGES, is money not supporting our nonprofit work. The sooner debt is gone, the more we can focus on our important work.
The campaign will start on December 14—look for an email and a worksheet in your members’s snail mailing that is coming with your copy of the 20th BGES monograph the same week. We will establish a hotlink to contribute online, and Facebook Friends and BGES followers on Facebook will all have a chance to toss some money in the Bucket. Thanks so much.