The German Village Society earlier this week released a report aimed at helping the nonprofit recover from several years of financial hardship.

The German Village Society earlier this week released a report aimed at helping the nonprofit recover from several years of financial hardship.

The report, which was finalized by the society's board of trustees in December but kept confidential until Monday, is from the society's New Business Model Task Force.

According to the report, the society has "experienced net losses in its operations over the past several years, to a point where revenue is insufficient to maintain current programs and provide for the upkeep of the Meeting Haus."

The report shows that from 2000 to 2007, the society averaged a loss of $58,000 annually. This number would have been higher if not for the sale of the Third Street cottage that put $150,000 into the nonprofit's coffers.

During the time the society had budget shortfalls, it used its reserves to offset the losses. In 2006, however, the reserve fund was depleted.

The report, which is a response to these problems, states, "the society must find ways to increase revenue, decrease expenses, or employ a combination of the two strategies."

Erin O'Donnell, executive director of the society, said at its heart the report is a call for change in the society.

"I think it's that the board took it upon themselves to say that we haven't been making budget every year and it's time to make changes," O'Donnell said. "If they had not created this plan it is something that I would have been looking for anyway. There's a lot more to fundraising than planning a few parties."

Among the ways the society can alleviate its financial challenges is to reduce reliance on weather-sensitive events, specifically Oktoberfest and the Haus und Garten Tour, the report stated. Currently, 81 percent of the society's budget comes from weather-dependent events.

"We cannot rely on weather related events, so let's take a good look and develop a budget that looks at all forms of development and fundraising in case of tough times," O'Donnell said.

To support this new model, the report made several recommendations, including the creation of a permanent Development Committee, enhancing membership benefits and encouraging the German Village Business Committee to play a greater role in the society, among others.

O'Donnell said the society's staff will no longer be able to organize various events outside Oktoberfest and the Haus und Garten Tour. These, she said, will have to be put together by committees.

"It needs to be done outside of staff," she said. "We also have to run a business."

It is estimated that the transition to the new business model will take anywhere from one to two years, according to the report.

dcross@thisweeknews.com