by Jennifer Cauhorn

National staff and the national board are continually working to improve the services and resources we provide to our members. Following are some highlights of what we’ve accomplished in FY2018.

Jennifer Cauhorn
Executive Director

Download Financial Report for Fiscal Year 2018

Members Only Website

We continue to update handbellmembers.org, adding more benefits and valuable resources for our members.

  • Member Extras: A new section offering games, fun activities, and resources designed especially for ringers. Items are added regularly. So, keep checking to see what’s new.
  • Video of the Month: Videos are submitted by members. The video of the month is selected from the submissions by our regional membership coordinators. The goal is to highlight all types of ensembles and a wide variety of musical genres. Do you have a video you’d like to submit for consideration? Email membership@handbellmusicians.org.
  • Area Event Directory: We’ve added a list of all the upcoming Area and local events on the home page of handbellmembers.org. This is regularly updated and includes all events officially approved for sponsorship or endorsement. This webpage can be your one-stop list for all events happening around the Guild.
  • HMA Governance: At the request of the national board, we added this section to proactively share meeting notes from each of the biannual in-person meetings of the board. Also included on this page are financial reports, national bylaws and the national Policy Governance document.

Area Leadership Connection Opportunities

Our regional membership coordinators (RMC’s) host quarterly webinar conference calls for Area Leadership. These provide Area board members the opportunity to make connections, share ideas, and get advice from each other (and from the national staff). This helps everyone overcome challenges and meet common goals.

In addition, Area leaders can communicate anytime through their own Google group. This group is moderated by the RMC’s who facilitate conversations and find answers to questions.

Sustaining Partner Membership

A new giving and membership opportunity was added in FY2018 – the Sustaining Partner Membership. Anyone who reaches $1,500 in total donations and membership dues (combined) is automatically named a Sustaining Partner. That elite status provides additional discounts on event registrations, complimentary access to the Virtual Bell Academy archive, and appropriate recognition on our website and in Overtones. For a complete list of benefits and to learn more about becoming a Sustaining Partner, visit handbellmusicians.org/sustaining-partner.

National Events

Our national events team experienced one of their best years ever in FY2018.

  • Distinctly Bronze West sold out in record time and reached new levels of musical excellence under the direction of Fred Gramann.
  • Distinctly Bronze East, directed by Dr. William Payn, was also an enormous sell-out success.
  • The College Ring-In had its highest attendance yet through a wonderful partnership with Westminster Choir College.
  • Master Class in Composition, instructed by Sondra Tucker, was added to our summer event line-up. Registration sold out and the event was well-received.
  • Master Class in Conducting, led by Dr. Payn, returned to the summer event line-up for a second year and also sold out and earned great reviews.
  • The National Seminar in Grand Rapids was one of our most successful in the past 10 years.
    • We offered live-streaming of the event’s concerts for the second year. However, this year, we posted it on our YouTube channel, allowing for better quality video and sound.
    • Also new this year: we offered Seminar Mentors who were available to assist first-time attendees, helping them better navigate the event.

Year-End Financial Report

In addition to the full FY2018 year-end financial report, here are some details and further explanation of key line items.

Income

Compared to FY2018, our revenue increased by more than $50,000. This increase can be primarily attributed to the following:

  • Return of Distinctly Bronze East (after the cancellation of the 2016 event due to Hurricane Matthew);
  • The National Seminar in Grand Rapids boasted one of its highest registration totals in ten years; and
  • Music Publishing garnered a slight increase in year-over-year sales.

There were some areas of slightly declining revenue. They include:

Membership Dues decreased by 2.5%.

  • This was the first fiscal year with only four issues of Overtones (rather than the previously published six). Accordingly, year-over-year advertising revenue was less.
  • Event Other income was lower than last year. This can be attributed to the higher-than-usual income we experienced in FY2017 (due to the exceptionally popular Disney excursion related to the National Seminar in Anaheim).

Expenses

Here is a topline summary and some further explanation of expense increases and decreases, this year.

  • The Personnel line item shows an increase over FY2017. This is primarily due to a journal entry correction. Last year, staff accrued vacation liability differently which resulted in a lower recorded total expense amount. Of note, the corrected personnel expense for FY2018 is consistent with that line item in the years before FY2017.
  • Overtones expense is lower because we now produce and distribute only four issues annually.
  • Royalties expense is lower due to an expected correction in the accrual of estimated expense over the past two years. This is because we are not able to calculate actual royalties until more specific reports are provided by our distributor, the Lorenz Corporation, which operates on a different fiscal year than we do.
  • Events expense increased (as event revenue also increased) due to the return of Distinctly Bronze East and the high registration for the National Seminar. Of note, when compared with years that included both a Distinctly Bronze East and a well-attended National Seminar, these expenses are lower than the average.
  • General Fundraising expense increased because we engaged Harbor Compliance to research state-by-state fundraising compliance requirements to ensure we file the appropriate reports and pay all required fees. Since we had to register as a charitable corporation for the first time in many states, the fees were higher. Going forward, this line item should remain under $10,000.

Other Income and Expense

These are items that do not affect our operating budget but are always included on our balance sheet.

  • Donations here represent gifts to our specific scholarship funds, the Grant Fund, and the Heritage Fund, which were down slightly compared to last fiscal year.
  • Our investments performed slightly better, this year. These funds remain invested and are drawn to cover only the value of scholarships and grants awarded during that year. The total value of all investments at fiscal year-end was $624,314.
  • In FY2018, we awarded eight named scholarships to various national events. In addition, we awarded three grants. Details about the grant recipients were provided in the Fall 2018 issue of this journal.

Bottom Line

While our operating budget ended with a loss of just under nine thousand dollars, that is a considerable improvement year-over-year. In addition, the strong performance of our investments and our events yielded more than $50,000. Given all of that, we ended the year “in the black” by more than $41,000.

Looking to the Future

As we look to the future of Handbell Musicians of America, the national board has made decisions in five key areas of our operation.

Membership Renewal Timeline

Beginning with FY2019 (October 1, 2019 – September 30, 2020), members will choose from three membership renewal dates: November 1, January 1, or March 1. By streamlining membership renewals, national staff can better project annual revenue and more effectively manage expenses. Details about your specific options and the related transition process will be emailed or sent via U.S. mail, if no email address is available. National staff will be available to answer any questions and assist you through the transition to your new renewal date.

AGEHR Music Publishing

With our core mission of “advancing the art of handbell and handchime ringing through education, community, and communication” in mind, the National Board has voted to discontinue the publication of new music through AGEHR Music Publishing, effective August 1, 2019.

We will continue to promote and sell music in our existing catalogue and will assist our Areas by publishing winners of Area Composition Contests, when requested. However, as we become a smaller organization and our financial resources get smaller too, the board must take actions that best fulfill our mission within that leaner budget.

When AGEHR Music Publishing was established, there was a great need in the handbell community for handbell music and the Guild was one of the few organizations equipped to fulfill that need. Today, there are many other fine publishers offering excellent catalogs of handbell music for all ringing levels and in multiple genres.

By discontinuing the publication of new music, we will free up resources to focus on offering more benefits to—and support for—our members. We can also concentrate on developing programs that encourage new audiences and communities to participate in handbell and handchime ringing.

We are gratified by the work we have historically done in this space. We are proud of the extensive music catalogue of more than 1,000 titles created over our 50 years of publishing. And as we begin this new chapter in our history, it is a great time to look back and celebrate all that’s been accomplished and acknowledge those who helped us do just that. Please see the article on page 26 about retiring editor John Behnke and his many contributions to our organization and our catalogue, specifically.

Reaching for Bronze

This new event is being added as a companion event to Distinctly Bronze East. Reaching for Bronze (RFB) is designed to respond to requests from members for more opportunities to stretch their skills from the intermediate level to the advanced. Participants will rehearse three selections from Distinctly Bronze (DB) and will then perform those pieces in the final concert with the DB choirs. In addition, the RFB choir will prepare and perform two pieces of their own. Rehearsal time will be focused on building musicianship and technical skills to help the participants rise to the “Bronze” level.

Events in a Box

As a new resource for our members, we are developing a series of event templates designed to help produce events on a local and regional level. These kits will include everything you need to present your own event including: timelines, budget worksheets, lists of equipment, venue suggestions, workshop curriculum, and more. Watch for these downloadable files to be posted to handbellmembers.org in fall 2019.

National Board Chats

The National Board wants more opportunities to connect directly with membership. Therefore in 2019, Board Members are hosting several webinars (Chats) available to all members. The first was held in January. Additional Chats are scheduled in March, July, and October. The March and October Chats will be live from the biannual in-person Board meetings and the July Chat will be live from the National Seminar in St. Louis. You can see complete details about these at Handbellmusicians.org.

Summary

Whenever one writes about a year’s worth of work – struggles, successes, lessons learned, and opportunities identified – it is always good when we can acknowledge that the positives have outweighed the negatives. And that was certainly true for FY2018.

The year was gratifying. We provided many scholarships and grants. Our events offered learning and fellowship opportunities. To the best of our ability, we served our membership wisely and fully. Each year, we are continually amazed to see so many people who love handbell and handchime ringing find one another to support a common mission and to make music.

The year was not without challenges. However, our board leadership has met those challenges head-on and provided great direction for the coming year and beyond. As we enter FY2019, we will continue to serve the handbell community, uniting people through the musical art of handbell and handchime ringing.

Members Only Website

We continue to update handbellmembers.org, adding more benefits and valuable resources for our members.

  • Member Extras: A new section offering games, fun activities, and resources designed especially for ringers. Items are added regularly. So, keep checking to see what’s new.
  • Video of the Month: Videos are submitted by members. The video of the month is selected from the submissions by our regional membership coordinators. The goal is to highlight all types of ensembles and a wide variety of musical genres. Do you have a video you’d like to submit for consideration? Email membership@handbellmusicians.org.
  • Area Event Directory: We’ve added a list of all the upcoming Area and local events on the home page of handbellmembers.org. This is regularly updated and includes all events officially approved for sponsorship or endorsement. This webpage can be your one-stop list for all events happening around the Guild.
  • HMA Governance: At the request of the national board, we added this section to proactively share meeting notes from each of the biannual in-person meetings of the board. Also included on this page are financial reports, national bylaws and the national Policy Governance document.

Area Leadership Connection Opportunities

Our regional membership coordinators (RMC’s) host quarterly webinar conference calls for Area Leadership. These provide Area board members the opportunity to make connections, share ideas, and get advice from each other (and from the national staff). This helps everyone overcome challenges and meet common goals.

In addition, Area leaders can communicate anytime through their own Google group. This group is moderated by the RMC’s who facilitate conversations and find answers to questions.

Sustaining Partner Membership

A new giving and membership opportunity was added in FY2018 – the Sustaining Partner Membership. Anyone who reaches $1,500 in total donations and membership dues (combined) is automatically named a Sustaining Partner. That elite status provides additional discounts on event registrations, complimentary access to the Virtual Bell Academy archive, and appropriate recognition on our website and in Overtones. For a complete list of benefits and to learn more about becoming a Sustaining Partner, visit handbellmusicians.org/sustaining-partner.

National Events

Our national events team experienced one of their best years ever in FY2018.

  • Distinctly Bronze West sold out in record time and reached new levels of musical excellence under the direction of Fred Gramann.
  • Distinctly Bronze East, directed by Dr. William Payn, was also an enormous sell-out success.
  • The College Ring-In had its highest attendance yet through a wonderful partnership with Westminster Choir College.
  • Master Class in Composition, instructed by Sondra Tucker, was added to our summer event line-up. Registration sold out and the event was well-received.
  • Master Class in Conducting, led by Dr. Payn, returned to the summer event line-up for a second year and also sold out and earned great reviews.
  • The National Seminar in Grand Rapids was one of our most successful in the past 10 years.
    • We offered live-streaming of the event’s concerts for the second year. However, this year, we posted it on our YouTube channel, allowing for better quality video and sound.
    • Also new this year: we offered Seminar Mentors who were available to assist first-time attendees, helping them better navigate the event.

Year-End Financial Report

In addition to the full FY2018 year-end financial report, here are some details and further explanation of key line items.

Income

Compared to FY2018, our revenue increased by more than $50,000. This increase can be primarily attributed to the following:

  • Return of Distinctly Bronze East (after the cancellation of the 2016 event due to Hurricane Matthew);
  • The National Seminar in Grand Rapids boasted one of its highest registration totals in ten years; and
  • Music Publishing garnered a slight increase in year-over-year sales.

There were some areas of slightly declining revenue. They include:

Membership Dues decreased by 2.5%.

  • This was the first fiscal year with only four issues of Overtones (rather than the previously published six). Accordingly, year-over-year advertising revenue was less.
  • Event Other income was lower than last year. This can be attributed to the higher-than-usual income we experienced in FY2017 (due to the exceptionally popular Disney excursion related to the National Seminar in Anaheim).

Expenses

Here is a topline summary and some further explanation of expense increases and decreases, this year.

  • The Personnel line item shows an increase over FY2017. This is primarily due to a journal entry correction. Last year, staff accrued vacation liability differently which resulted in a lower recorded total expense amount. Of note, the corrected personnel expense for FY2018 is consistent with that line item in the years before FY2017.
  • Overtones expense is lower because we now produce and distribute only four issues annually.
  • Royalties expense is lower due to an expected correction in the accrual of estimated expense over the past two years. This is because we are not able to calculate actual royalties until more specific reports are provided by our distributor, the Lorenz Corporation, which operates on a different fiscal year than we do.
  • Events expense increased (as event revenue also increased) due to the return of Distinctly Bronze East and the high registration for the National Seminar. Of note, when compared with years that included both a Distinctly Bronze East and a well-attended National Seminar, these expenses are lower than the average.
  • General Fundraising expense increased because we engaged Harbor Compliance to research state-by-state fundraising compliance requirements to ensure we file the appropriate reports and pay all required fees. Since we had to register as a charitable corporation for the first time in many states, the fees were higher. Going forward, this line item should remain under $10,000.

Other Income and Expense

These are items that do not affect our operating budget but are always included on our balance sheet.

  • Donations here represent gifts to our specific scholarship funds, the Grant Fund, and the Heritage Fund, which were down slightly compared to last fiscal year.
  • Our investments performed slightly better, this year. These funds remain invested and are drawn to cover only the value of scholarships and grants awarded during that year. The total value of all investments at fiscal year-end was $624,314.
  • In FY2018, we awarded eight named scholarships to various national events. In addition, we awarded three grants. Details about the grant recipients were provided in the Fall 2018 issue of this journal.

Bottom Line

While our operating budget ended with a loss of just under nine thousand dollars, that is a considerable improvement year-over-year. In addition, the strong performance of our investments and our events yielded more than $50,000. Given all of that, we ended the year “in the black” by more than $41,000.

Looking to the Future

As we look to the future of Handbell Musicians of America, the national board has made decisions in five key areas of our operation.

Membership Renewal Timeline

Beginning with FY2019 (October 1, 2019 – September 30, 2020), members will choose from three membership renewal dates: November 1, January 1, or March 1. By streamlining membership renewals, national staff can better project annual revenue and more effectively manage expenses. Details about your specific options and the related transition process will be emailed or sent via U.S. mail, if no email address is available. National staff will be available to answer any questions and assist you through the transition to your new renewal date.

AGEHR Music Publishing

With our core mission of “advancing the art of handbell and handchime ringing through education, community, and communication” in mind, the National Board has voted to discontinue the publication of new music through AGEHR Music Publishing, effective August 1, 2019.

We will continue to promote and sell music in our existing catalogue and will assist our Areas by publishing winners of Area Composition Contests, when requested. However, as we become a smaller organization and our financial resources get smaller too, the board must take actions that best fulfill our mission within that leaner budget.

When AGEHR Music Publishing was established, there was a great need in the handbell community for handbell music and the Guild was one of the few organizations equipped to fulfill that need. Today, there are many other fine publishers offering excellent catalogs of handbell music for all ringing levels and in multiple genres.

By discontinuing the publication of new music, we will free up resources to focus on offering more benefits to—and support for—our members. We can also concentrate on developing programs that encourage new audiences and communities to participate in handbell and handchime ringing.

We are gratified by the work we have historically done in this space. We are proud of the extensive music catalogue of more than 1,000 titles created over our 50 years of publishing. And as we begin this new chapter in our history, it is a great time to look back and celebrate all that’s been accomplished and acknowledge those who helped us do just that. Please see the article on page 26 about retiring editor John Behnke and his many contributions to our organization and our catalogue, specifically.

Reaching for Bronze

This new event is being added as a companion event to Distinctly Bronze East. Reaching for Bronze (RFB) is designed to respond to requests from members for more opportunities to stretch their skills from the intermediate level to the advanced. Participants will rehearse three selections from Distinctly Bronze (DB) and will then perform those pieces in the final concert with the DB choirs. In addition, the RFB choir will prepare and perform two pieces of their own. Rehearsal time will be focused on building musicianship and technical skills to help the participants rise to the “Bronze” level.

Events in a Box

As a new resource for our members, we are developing a series of event templates designed to help produce events on a local and regional level. These kits will include everything you need to present your own event including: timelines, budget worksheets, lists of equipment, venue suggestions, workshop curriculum, and more. Watch for these downloadable files to be posted to handbellmembers.org in fall 2019.

National Board Chats

The National Board wants more opportunities to connect directly with membership. Therefore in 2019, Board Members are hosting several webinars (Chats) available to all members. The first was held in January. Additional Chats are scheduled in March, July, and October. The March and October Chats will be live from the biannual in-person Board meetings and the July Chat will be live from the National Seminar in St. Louis. You can see complete details about these at Handbellmusicians.org.

Summary

Whenever one writes about a year’s worth of work – struggles, successes, lessons learned, and opportunities identified – it is always good when we can acknowledge that the positives have outweighed the negatives. And that was certainly true for FY2018.

The year was gratifying. We provided many scholarships and grants. Our events offered learning and fellowship opportunities. To the best of our ability, we served our membership wisely and fully. Each year, we are continually amazed to see so many people who love handbell and handchime ringing find one another to support a common mission and to make music.

The year was not without challenges. However, our board leadership has met those challenges head-on and provided great direction for the coming year and beyond. As we enter FY2019, we will continue to serve the handbell community, uniting people through the musical art of handbell and handchime ringing.

Jennifer Cauhorn
Executive Director

Download Financial Report for Fiscal Year 2018


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