If you are an adult, then you almost certainly have experience with managing money.  Most adults have experience with budgeting, having a plan to manage your money well, anticipating income and expenses as well as any foreseeable factors.  As an organization, budgets are crucial.  One of COTP’s values is stewardship, moving in faith while using our God given abilities to manage the resources we have been given.  Over the years, we have taken great pride in our ability to maximize each dollar we are given toward impact in our ministry in Haiti.

I want to make an honest confession as the Executive Director of COTP:  This is really hard, and it continues to get harder.  Each year, we create our best laid plans, navigating a long list of variables:

  • How much do we think people will give next year?  Nearly all of our income comes through donations from individuals and churches.  There are no guarantees and each of these supporters is facing their own set of variables and challenges.
  • How much will these donations be worth in Haiti throughout the coming year?  Most of our income is received in US dollars.  Most of it is spent in Haitian Gourdes, mostly in contracts with Haitian staff.  Over the past 5 years, this exchange rate has varied greatly, which means the biggest item in our budget, Haitian payroll, changes from month to month and year to year.
  • How much will essential resources cost?  Haiti often experiences fluctuation in prices of key resources (food, fuel, building supplies).  The past few years have seen record inflation.  

Each year, we consider all these factors and create a budget (a plan) to carry out our goals toward achieving our mission in Haiti.  We step in faith, and trust that God will provide and guide us.  He always does.  However, as a leader the journey is often humbling.  In 2023, we experienced 2 key challenges.  

  • We projected more income than we were able to raise.  
  • We spent our entire budget, in large part due to inflation and a shift in the exchange rate that devalued our US dollars in Haiti.

The result was a net loss of $140,000 in 2023…gulp.  This situation has no doubt impacted our cash flow and placed limits on our spending in the short term.  We’ve had to make tough decisions.  As we looked at plans in 2024, one key decision was to cut our budget by $150,000 from the previous year.  We felt it was a priority to create a plan that would place COTP on a better trajectory financially.  With 75% of our budget going to payroll in Haiti and the US, this meant we had to make some hard choices that would no doubt impact people.  Throughout this process, our goal was to make cuts that would have the lowest impact on the vulnerable population we serve.  

However, all decisions like this have consequences.  We’ve had to cut some people who mean a lot to us and have served COTP well over the years.  We’ve had to cut some items that we know will impact our community and make our jobs more difficult in the coming year.  And still, we remain hopeful and steadfast that God is Faithful.  He is going to do what He always does, move in our lives and through us.  We will continue to serve the vulnerable children and families in Haiti, and remember that God’s power is not contingent on our finances or our payrolls. 

Would you please join us in praying for COTP in 2024?  Pray for our leaders.  Pray for those we serve, and our staff who serve on the front lines.  Pray for our finances and for wisdom as we use them.  We also ask that you consider giving this month to the work of COTP in 2024.  Over the next few weeks, we plan to share more about the shifts and changes in 2024 that excite us.  We invite you to ask us questions, share your thoughts and engage with us in the ministry of COTP.