Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
COMBINED FUND DRIVE 2012-13
Generosity: an essential aspect of
the Web of East Shore
Each of us has an opportunity to experience a generous heart as we make a financial contribution to this religious community that enriches our lives. Each Unitarian Universalist Church is solely responsible for funding its own programs and day-to day operations.
Here we answer some common questions newcomers ask about money and provide a guide to generous giving. If you have never been a part of a Unitarian Universalist church, you probably have some questions about what financial expectations East Shore has for you.
Q: Talking about money makes me anxious, and makes me question my involvement with East Shore. What do you recommend?
We understand that anxiety. Money is a difficult subject for most people. But what we recommend is that you reconsider what your gift represents. It is not a financial transaction like buying something that you want from a store. Being involved in a community like ours is a different relationship than you may have with other organizations, businesses or even other non-profits. We are a self-supporting community of people who have chosen to band together so that our energies and values will be given structure and reach out to positively affect each other and our world. Our community is able to exist because our members and friends pledge their support, so giving is an integral part of that relationship. We recommend that you reconsider what it means to pay money to East Shore. It is really an investment in your own well-being, in your community, and in the greater world.
Q: I’m planning to take an expensive vacation so I’ll limit my gift this year… should I feel guilty?
We understand that you have other priorities that you need to balance in your family budget. That’s why we base our request on your family income. If you are pledging 2-5% or more of your income, then you can still have money for your other priorities. Consider how much value the church is bringing you throughout the year. With some budget planning, you’ll probably be surprised that you can give generously to the church and still enjoy the other things in life that you like to have or do.
Q: When am I expected to give money to East Shore?
Once a year in the spring we conduct our annual pledge drive. We ask for pledges for the church’s upcoming fiscal year, which runs from July 1 through June 30th. So please pledge your support early… in February or March… so we will have time to prepare our annual budgets and get it approved by members at our Annual Congregational Meeting in June. East Shore also accepts pledges and donations at other times of the year.
Q: Whom does East Shore ask to pledge or donate?
We ask all who participate in our services or programs, members or not, to join us in financial support of our community. We are a community of 375-425 families, so each gift is important. We ask newcomers and those who attend services or programs to pledge or contribute to the church. We have few sources of income other than donations from our members and friends; therefore we truly need and expect the support of all newcomers as well as our continuing members.
Q: Why should I pledge if I put money in the collection plate whenever I come to church?
To provide ongoing programs, we need to have predictable revenue. Our expenses for salaries, utilities and maintenance continue regardless of attendance. We cannot budget adequately based on fluctuating collection-plate contributions. Currently, almost 90% of our revenue comes from pledged contributions. As a participant, we ask you to give your fair share to support East Shore.
Q: How do I pay a pledge?
Most members and friends contribute once or twice each month. Many authorize East Shore to automatically receive regular payments from their bank account or credit card (see back of pledge card for the form). Others place their checks in the plate on Sunday or mail them to East Shore. Some make payments when they can, and this can be done through our website by clicking on “donate.” Some contribute a lump sum to cover the entire year. Occasionally we receive gifts of appreciated stock, which give significant tax benefits to the donors.
Q: I have never pledged to a church before and don’t know how much is appropriate. Can you explain this to me?
At East Shore, we do not require a fixed pledge. However, when asked what an appropriate pledge would be, we use a rule of thumb of between 2% and 10% of household income. (For more information, please see the UUA’s Suggested Fair Share Giving Guide at the end of this document.) Some of our members are early in their earning careers and some are older and on fixed incomes, so they may need to contribute less. That means that others, who can, contribute more. One purpose of a spiritual community is to help those in more limited circumstances.
Q. How do I know that others are doing their fair share?
Rest assured that many members are giving regularly at an extremely generous level to East Shore. Some of our members give generously despite having modest incomes. It should be a comfort to everyone in our community that such generosity exists. If everyone donated their fair share, then funding our church operations would be relatively easy. That’s why we’ve adopted the UUA’s Suggested Fair Share Giving Guide – so that more of our members will understand the importance of their financial support and give according to a fair and progressive giving guideline.
Q: How much do others pledge annually to East Shore?
For the current fiscal year, 391 households made pledges totaling over $720,000 to support the operating budget. The pledges ranged greatly, based upon capacity to give. The average pledge was $1,850 and the median $1,200. The chart below shows the number of pledges in gift ranges.
Q: What will my pledge go towards?
East Shore is a healthy community with 640 members. Our annual budget supports everything we do. The chart below shows how our resources are distributed to the programs most important to us.
Q: What if my financial circumstances change during the year and I can’t keep up with my pledge?
Should a change occur in your financial status and you are unable to meet your pledge, it is possible to adjust your pledge during the fiscal year. We care about your situation, and will work with people who are having financial needs.
Q: What is more important – giving to the Annual Operating Fund or the Sanctuary Improvement Fund?
If you only have resources to contribute to one fund, please support the annual church Operating Fund. If you have been able to give your fair share to the annual fund, then please make an additional gift for the Sanctuary Improvement Fund. Our priority is to fully fund church operations.
Q: What number and size of gifts are needed to reach the Sanctuary Fund Goal of $540,000?
The table below shows the size and number of gifts needed. A generous pledge of $50,000 was already received to help kick-off this effort.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter!
From the 2012-13 Combined Fund Drive Team and
East Shore’s Stewardship Development Team