5. Stewardship

A. Stewardship Team

The Stewardship Team is a group of lay members and friends of the church accountable to the senior minister and responsible for the following charter:

Promote a culture of giving, create a framework for relationship-building between leadership and congregants, conduct the pledge drive and maintain the fundraising calendar  

Additionally, the following are the goals of the Stewardship Team:

    1. Lead the culture of Foothills Unitarian as one of abundance and generosity (in place of scarcity).  
    2. Encourage gratitude and giving in response to gratitude. Help people understand the spiritual nature of giving.
    3. Cultivate a shared practice and experience of giving as joyful and liberating.  
    4. Educate people of all ages about the importance of being stewards of the church and to make financial commitments to the mission of the church.
    5. Encourage giving and higher levels of giving to support the mission of the church. Use inspiration, not shame, to encourage giving.
    6. Support financial education so people may feel more comfortable and confident in their money decisions – and, we hope, more generous in their lives.

In order to accomplish these goals, the Stewardship Team is responsible for the following tasks:

    1. Plan and run the annual Stewardship Drive.
    2. Cultivate donors by conducting events and gatherings (i.e. Listening Parties, Thank You Parties, Fair Share/Major Donor Parties).
    3. Suggest, plan and assist with Stewardship themed sermons (i.e. Reverse Basket, Giving Hands Exercise).
    4. Plan and run/assist with Financial Fitness Classes in collaboration with the whole program for Adult Faith Formation.
    5. Learn about best practices from workshops, books, UUA resources, and Facebook/Twitter/Email groups.
    6. Assess the team’s efforts and our progress with the congregation through reflection and study of data.
    7. Continually evaluate strategy and tactics, making adjustments and trying new things.
    8. Use innovation and creativity to communicate with the whole congregation, as well as tailoring our messages to specific groups.
    9. Grow in one’s own understanding of gratitude and generosity.
    10. Oversee all fundraising in the church, including ongoing efforts, such as the Rummage Sale and the Auction, as well as short-term efforts such as the Cake Auction and Pancake Breakfast. Work to ensure that fundraisers and events do not conflict with each other or with the Pledge Drive.

B. Stewardship Drive

In order to accurately create a budget and to ensure a steady cashflow for operating expenses, the church primarily relies on members and friends establishing a pledge or promise of financial support.  Each year, the Stewardship Team engages the congregation in a Stewardship Drive wherein the congregation is invited to consider their giving and to assess their financial pledge for the coming fiscal year based on their capacity for giving, as well as the congregation’s vision and goals.

This Drive is conducted in different ways, based on what the Stewardship Team and the ministers determine will be most effective in the congregation within a particular year.  It is initiated no earlier than the end of January, and no later than the end of February, and is concluded at the latest by the end of April.

Before the public Drive begins, the ministers work with the Team to determine a theme for the Drive, and the basic strategy and approach.

*While the Drive may take different forms, it should include three phases, (1) pre-event publicity, (2) kick-off event and distribution of commitment cards, (3) follow-up to receive responses from maximal numbers of congregants.

(1) Pre-event publicity may include written and spoken testimonials on giving and generosity, mailings to congregants and forum presentations.  (2) The kick-off event can be an actual celebration or a special worship service. The commitment cards can be distributed and collected at the event or through individual stewardship “visits”.  (3) The follow-up phase may include mailings, phone calls or visits to collect pledges from the entire congregation. Those non-responders who are still involved in church life will have their pledges continued at the same level (roll-over) and will be informed.

A final phase of the Stewardship Drive is evaluation, in order to make effective plans for the future.

C. Offering Plate

At every church service a plate collection is made, and in all of these at least half of this collection is given away to an outside organization.  Payments to the offering can be made through check, cash, or through texting a donation. When a donation comes in through text, it may result in an automatic bank transfer, or a payment by credit card.  This may result in different timing about when the money actually arrives in our account.

Unless a congregant specifically marks their donation as “Pledge” it will not be applied to their pledge, and instead will be considered an additional donation.  

During the service ushers and a staff member count and record donations made to the plate. The collection is put directly into the safe.

Each Wednesday, the bookkeeper re-counts all bills, approves the form, and enters all donation and pledge payment checks into Planning Center Online.  These entries have one of three tags:

  1. Offering – 1st Service
  2. Offering – 2nd Service
  3.  Offering – 3rd Service
  4. Pledge

No later than Friday, the bookkeeper enters the total plate collection into Quickbooks as well as into the dashboard.  

I. Share the Plate

To support our mission, our congregation gives away at least half of its plate each Sunday.  Each month the ministers select an organization that aligns with our mission and is doing the work of love in Northern Colorado, and whose message fits with our worship theme. We invite the organization to join us on a Sunday to help educate our members about their work and to strengthen our partnership.

All deposits to the Sunday plate will be shared with the monthly recipient of our Share the Plate program unless marked “pledge”. Donations to share the plate can also be made online through Planning Center Online.

1. Share the Plate Recipient Selection Process

Church members are encouraged to submit a nomination for a potential recipient for Share the Plate at any time throughout the church year.  A specific call for nominees will occur in May or June each year. To nominate a potential recipient, congregants should complete this form and submit it to the Senior Minister. Paper copies of the form can be obtained in the office.  

When nominees are received, and annually each June, the Senior Minister works with congregational Justice leaders and the staff team to set a tentative schedule for share the plate recipients no later than July.  

This schedule is inputted into the Worship Calendar for transfer to the dashboard.  This information is communicated to the nominator, and the nominees, but is not communicated to the general public, as it is always subject to change based on emergent needs in our area, in Unitarian Universalism, or across the globe.  

2. Recipient Participation on Sunday

It is our hope that all recipients are able to have someone from their organization present on at least one Sunday morning so as to foster deeper connections and partnerships across our organizations.  The minister or the nominating congregant reaches out to the organization at least 4 weeks in advance of the time when the plate will be shared and invites them to participate in the Sunday service. It is our hope that they would attend all three services, but if necessary, one of the services can have their remarks read by another person.  They are also invited to have a table in the social hall between services to share information about their organization and to recruit additional support through volunteering or in kind donations.

D. Other Contributions

Beyond the fulfillment of pledges and the weekly plate, individuals and households may contribute to the church through direct cash donations, securities, designated gifts, the donation of a vehicle for cash, through tangible property donations, and through in-direct support.  

I. Direct Cash Donations

When a payment is received from a congregant without a pledge it will be recorded as a donation.  Congregants can establish recurring donations through our database using their bank transfer or by using a credit card.  Information on direct donations can be found at foothillsuu.org/donate.

II. Donation of Securities

Donation of securities allows congregants to contribute to Foothills Unitarian Church by transferring shares of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or other securities to the church.  This provides the donor an opportunity to contribute money without using funds from their regular income. The contributor may gain a tax advantage if the securities have appreciated while they were owned.

The Church will maintain a relationship with a stock broker to handle the details of these transactions.  Our current broker is RBC Wealth Management in Fort Collins, Account Number 303-04172.  DTC Number 0235.

A stock transfer coordinator (staff member or volunteer) will be approved by the finance ministry team to handle all security donations.

When a person indicates a desire to donate a security, the stock transfer coordinator is notified.  The coordinator gives the donor contact information for our stockbroker along with the church account number and DTC number.  Note: If the person is not local the stockbroker must be informed.

The stock transfer coordinator communicates with the stockbroker that a stock transfer is expected. When it is received, the coordinator instructs the broker to sell the stock immediately. The coordinator also determines the actual date of transfer, the high/low average sale price per share, and the total number of shares.  S/he then computes the actual amount of the donation and notifies the donor/s by letter and/or e-mail that the transfer is complete. S/he includes a receipt for tax purposes and forwards a copy to the bookkeeper.

The stockbroker will send a check along with a statement of the sale and stockbroker commissions to the church.

The bookkeeper reviews the receipt/letter, deposit, and statement to book the transaction/s.  The bookkeeper’s entry may include the pledge amount, donation amount, dividends earned, gain/loss on the sale, and/or fees paid (commissions and other expenses of the sale are charged in our books as “finance fees/charges.”)

Donors may sell stock via their own broker and have that broker send a check to the Church.  These sales do not necessarily have the same tax advantages as direct transfer to the Church and should be handled as regular pledge payments.

III. Donor Designated Gifts

Per Board Policy, “The Church may accept donor-designated funds when the intent of the donor is consistent with the mission and current plans of the Church.  Such funds will only be used for the purpose specified by the donor. The Senior Minister may accept such donations up to a dollar amount equal to 3% of the budget .  Excess of that amount, the Senior Minister brings it to the Board for discussion and shared decision making.”

Donor should contact the senior minister with their intention for their donation. The senior minister will assess the alignment of the donation with the vision of ministry and make a decision about the church’s capacity to accept the stated restrictions.

IV.  Donation of a Vehicle for Cash

Donor should contact the church administrator to begin the process of having their automobile auctioned off. Donor completes a donor referral form for IAA Donation Division who then begins the process of picking up the car, getting it to auction and completing all paperwork needed for title transfer and insurance. Payment after the auction comes directly to the church and is recorded as a donation.

V. Donation of Tangible Personal Property

Donor should contact the senior minister with their intention for their donation.  The senior minister will assess the alignment of the donation with the vision of ministry and make a decision about the church’s capacity to accept the property being donated.

VI. Indirect Support

Another meaningful way that people can support the work of the church is through the use of grocery cards, scrip cards and through purchases on AmazonSmile. These programs are monitored by the church administrator.

  1. Grocery and scrip prepaid purchasing cards are purchased in bulk by the church from participating local stores. These cards are sold to congregants on Sunday’s by volunteers or anytime in the church office. The cards are purchased and sold at face value (e.g., $10, $20, etc.).  When the cards are used to purchase groceries or merchandise, the church earns a rebate, which is periodically remitted by the participating merchant. See Section 9(c)(i) for the specific procedures for the internal management of this program.
  2. AmazonSmile is a non-profit charitable foundation set up by Amazon to provide a way for supporters to have a portion of their Amazon purchases donated to the charity of their choice.  The church is listed as an eligible charity on their website, Smile.Amazon.com. Shopping through this site is the same as shopping at Amazon.com, however, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate to the church 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible AmazonSmile purchases.  To participate in this program, the supporter logs into Smile.Amazon.com, and clicks on “pick your own charity.” Typing in “Foothills Unitarian Church”will direct contributions to us.  The customer will be prompted to enter their Amazon login and password. The AmazonSmile Foundation directly transfers these contributions to the church’s bank account, which is included in our registration profile.

E. Capital Campaign

In the event the church feels that a major project requires special and substantial  funding, the Board may determine that a separate Capital Campaign is warranted. The nature, size, and financial scope of the campaign must be approved by the Board and will be directed by the Senior Minister.  All funds raised and expended or transferred from this campaign fund will be accounted for separately from the church’s normal operating resources until the funds are depleted.

F. Endowment  

The endowment is monitored by the endowment committee using rules specified by the Board of Trustees.  The assets are tracked by the church’s financial software, and the bookkeeper receives and files the financial statements from the investments and enters the data into the books. The endowment committee may issue grants to provide additional unbudgeted funds in support of the church and the bookkeeper distributes these funds as instructed by the committee. Endowment policies/procedures

Endowment assets are invested with the Unitarian Universalist Common Endowment Fund and Vanguard.

G. Memorial Gifts and Bequests

Money received from a will, trust, “in memory of”, gift annuity or other similar bequest will go into the general fund unless specified as Endowment. Non-cash gifts or bequests of significant value, such as real estate or art, may only be accepted by the Senior Minister who will assess the alignment of the donation with the vision of ministry and make a decision about the church’s capacity to accept the property being donated.

F. Fundraising for an Outside Group

An outside group wishing to raise funds at Foothills Unitarian Church has two options: Share the Plate or Auction Share the Plate. The Sunday Share the Plate procedures are detailed above.  The Auction Share the Plate requires a meeting with the Senior Minister to discuss whether the work aligns with the mission of the congregation and if and how it makes sense to raise funds within our church. Priority is given to groups where we have an existing partnership or established relationship with our members actively volunteering or contributing.  It is our policy not to promote individual or group fundraising outside of these avenues, including gofundme or other crowdsourcing endeavors.

Updated on September 12, 2018

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