Under the FairShare System each church is asked to submit selected financial details to their Area Partnership M&M Advocate on a ‘FairShare Return’. The information on the form is used by the Synod M&M Advocate to calculate a church’s contribution to the M&M Fund. 70% of a church’s contribution is based on financial resources (The Pounds Part) and 30% on average adult attendance at Sunday worship (The People Part). The sum of the Pounds Part and the People Part is the ‘FairShare’ figure but the contribution requested is capped so as to never be greater than 5% + RPI above current contribution. No church can work out its own M&M contribution, as the figures from all of the churches are needed. In essence every church is ‘measured’ using the same assessment of financial resources (broadly defined as unrestricted income less expenditure needed to generate that income) and attendance. These are then used as factors so that every church is treated according to the same criteria.
How the FairShare System Works
The Area Partnership M&M Advocate, who may make further adjustments in the light of local knowledge, will inform churches of both the ‘FairShare’ figure (for information only) and the adjusted figure, that could be lower or higher than the FairShare. In the light of these two figures churches are asked to reflect on them, and on their current situation, and to let the Area Partnership M&M Advocate know if they are able to meet the requested adjusted amount. It may be that some churches feel in a position to offer more whilst others feel that they will struggle to meet their assessment. If the latter is the case then discussion needs to take place with the Area Partnership M&M Advocate.
Integral to the whole process of this system is that it aims to be a consultative procedure. The raw numbers from churches may be objective but they do not take into account local knowledge and situations. That is why discussion and sharing together is so important.
FairShare Review 2020
The FairShare system was developed in 2008 and the history of how this came about is shown below In 2020 a survey was carried out to try to ascertainn whether the underlying principles of the system, which were based on feedback from churches when it was developed twelve years previously, continued to reflect the views of churches in 2020. The survey was sent to all church treasurers either via SurveyMonkey or by post if e-mail addreses were not available. The results of the survey can be seen by viewing Fairshare Review 2020.
For many years contributions to the M&M Fund were established within Districts with each District in the Synod using a different system; most such systems relied on membership as a major factor. With the cessation of Districts the Synod was faced with the challenge of moving to a unified system. It also became evident that many churches were profoundly unhappy about the use of membership figures in calculating contributions. A system in which the large support the small does not take account of the ability of churches to give. The Ministry and Mission Resources Committee (which now no longer exists) was directed to find a system whereby the strong support the weak, which reflects ability to give (including demographic influences), takes account of year-on-year changes in circumstances, is easy to calculate and manage, is flexible and involves no sudden large year changes. No mean feat!