WMU announces voluntary retirement plan amid COVID financial crisis

In response to a decline in sales due to COVID-19, national WMU has announced it is offering a voluntary retirement plan to staff.

“We have worked incredibly hard over the past several years to ‘right size’ our organization based on revenue projections,” said Sandy Wisdom-Martin, executive director of national WMU. “With two difficult back-to-back downsizings and budget cuts, our goal has been to simplify and put limited resources where they can make the most impact for the Kingdom.”

Over the past four years, WMU has cut 34 percent from its budget, which will be $5.2 million beginning in October for 2020-21. Sales of curriculum for missions groups is WMU’s main source of revenue. However, with so much uncertainty related to the pandemic, many churches are not ordering these resources.

When churches suspended in-person services and many across the country were sheltering-at-home at the onset of the pandemic, WMU responded by moving GA and RA lessons online, creating free missions resources for families, providing free PTSD Bible studies and resources for pastors, and launching a new podcast. While helping meet needs, these efforts do not replace income lost from decreased sales.

“We value all of our employees,” Wisdom-Martin affirmed. “Each and every one makes meaningful contributions, and we are seeking to be as gracious and generous as possible. After the consideration period for those eligible for the voluntary retirement offer closes on Sept. 21, we will determine how much of a deficit in the budget remains and how to proceed from there.”