How our church operates and supports its institutions, mission and services.
The Reformed Church in Hungary is an important venue for community building. After World War II. the state deprived the economic foundations of our operations without compensation. After the change, partial restitution took place, which affected the real estate property of the church. However, most of the operable assets have not been reinstated, and their compensations not set. The returned property caused cost growth instead of income generation for the church. As with every registered church, the RCH is entitled to establish educational, social and healthcare institutions which, based on the principle of separation of state and church and the equal treatment of institutions providing public service, are financed mostly by the state on a per capita basis. As this is a designated financial mean, it does not enrich the operational core budget of the church.
Basically, local congregations are self-supporting. They must guarantee financial means to cover all the material and personnel costs related to the operation of the congregation, including the salary of the pastor. Congregations do this from the yearly contributions of enrolled members, weekly and designated collections and from other offerings.
The structure of the RCH, unlike several European churches, is not centralised (e.g. pastors are not paid centrally), and therefore, there is no consolidated budget of the RCH. The core budget, which includes the operation of all levels and ministries of the church, except congregations, the pension fund and the operation of institutions, is as high as 40,000,000 EUR. Out of this, the only undesignated income for free use through the 1% pledges represents 4,000,000 EUR.
For all these reasons, the RCH relies heavily on 1% pledges of the taxpayers. Similarly to the "Otto per mille" system in Italy, tax payers have the possibility to direct one percent of their paid income tax to a particular church. A second one percent can be offered to an NGO.
In past years, the Reformed Church in Hungary supported the collection of 1% with conscious marketing communication. Through research and experiences of campaigns, we are more able to effectively succeed in reaching those strata of Hungarian society, who are most open to the messages of the church. In recent years, the central element of communication was to introduce and demonstrate that the church is not only a faith community but also active in social work.
Since 2011, following the latest trends in media consumption, the RCH has been campaigning with to the new generation of technological users in Hungary employing social media and downloadable applications (iPhone, iPad, Android). Research shows that 40% of our current support base does not belong to the church.
In 2019 nearly 260 000 individuals supported RCH with a total of around 4 Million Euros. The number of supporters raised by 50 000 persons in a year.