Frequently Asked Questions
What is a financial commitment (pledge)?
An annual financial commitment is a promise to our fellowship to donate money for our congregation’s mission. Each year during our Financial Stewardship Campaign, we ask our members and friends to consider what they are able to commit for the coming fiscal year and document that commitment. The funds from this campaign are by far the largest share of our budget.
Why does WHUUF require members to make a pledge?
Pledges are a sign of our commitment to the fellowship. They say that we find value at WHUUF and support its mission of transformation. Pledging is part of our covenant with one another. When we join together we are committing to sharing our money for the transformation of each of us and our community and our world.
WHUUF is completely self-supporting. We receive no payments from the UUA or the Pacific Northwest District (PNWD) of the UUA. In fact WHUUF has a fair share contribution we pay to remain members of the UUA and the PNWD.
Can I pay using checks?
Can I pay using my credit or debit card?
Can I donate stock?
Yes, please contact our administrator Pat Lichen for more details
What is the deadline for making my pledge?
March 26, 2017 is the end of our formal Financial Stewardship Campaign for the fiscal year beginning on July 1, 2017. You may pledge at any time.
How do I make my pledge?
Our annual Financial Stewardship Campaign is based on a model we call Visiting Stewards. Each member or friend will be assigned to a Visiting Steward, a member of the congregation who has generously given of their time. You will be contacted by your Visiting Steward and asked to meet for approximately 30 minutes. The meeting may be at your home or any other place you can mutually arrange to get together. The visit is informal and the Steward will want to get to know you a little better and understand why you are committed to being a member or friend of WHUUF. The Stewards also take note of any positive or negative feedback you may have about WHUUF and the way it is being operated. The Steward will ask you to complete a pledge form that documents your financial commitment for the next fiscal year. Your discussion with your Steward and the amount of your pledge are confidential.
We ask that you be open and welcoming to your Steward and find a time you can get together before March 26. Please be prepared to make your financial commitment. You don’t pay any money at this time. Your commitment is for the 2017-2018 fiscal year which begins July 1, 2017.
Do I have to have a meeting with my pledge steward?
No, you do not need to meet with a Steward if you do not want to. We encourage you to meet because every connection between a Steward and a congregant is another piece of building beloved community. If you decide not to have a Stewardship visit, please contact our administrator Pat Lichen or our Stewardship Team Leader Patrick Neal before February 26 and we will send you a pledge form. Every member must complete a pledge form to retain you membership.
I put whatever I can in the collection basket on Sundays, why should I pledge?
Making a financial pledge allows WHUUF to project revenue for the coming year. Our budget is directly related to the amount of revenue we will have available. While we appreciate every gift, our budget must be based upon the money we think we will have available. Our by-laws require a completed pledge form as a requirement for membership.
What happens to the money in the collection basket on Sundays?
After our worship service the money is collected by a member of the Board of Trustees and working with another Board member they count and secure the funds and prepare it for deposit. These funds become part of the operating revenue for the fellowship (approximately 5% of the needed revenue). Once a month we “donate the basket” to a local community service institution.
What is the best way to pay my pledge?
You may drop a check or cash (in an envelope) in the collection basket as long as it is clearly indicated as being a pledge payment and has your name on it. Payments may be made by check monthly, quarterly, or annually. The best way to make payments is by setting up monthly payments through your bank (contact your bank for specific instructions).
Is my pledge tax deductable?
Yes, pledges are fully tax deductable and you will receive a calendar year-end statement detailing your payments.
What is a fiscal year?
The WHUUF fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30 of the following year. Our Financial Stewardship Campaign in March 2017 is for the fiscal year July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018.
I am not ready to become a member can I still make a pledge?
Yes, we have a category of association called “friend.” We encourage friends to complete a pledge form indicating the financial commitment to the fellowship. Again, the commitment through a pledge form allows us to factor in your contribution as a known part of our revenue.
How do I know the money I donate to the fellowship is treated responsibly?
Our fellowship does its best to be transparent with its finances. Our budget is available to all members and friends at the annual meeting, at budget meetings held before the annual meeting, and at any time on request. Our elected Board of Trustees has fiduciary responsibility for all of financial resources and reviews financial reports at each Monthly Board Meeting. Any member of the congregation may attend these meetings.
I give money to other congregational fundraisers throughout the year. Do these gifts count toward my pledge?
No they do not. Other fundraisers such as the auction may not be treated the same as pledges for tax purposes. Revenue from these other events is usually “earmarked” for some purpose other than general operation of the fellowship
Do I have to pledge to be a member of the congregation?
Yes you do. The bylaws state that to be a member you must complete a pledge form for the current fiscal year and make an identifiable payment of that pledge.
What are the dates of the pledge drive?
The dates for the 2017-2018 Financial Stewardship Campaign are February 26 to March 26, 2017. Unlike past years the pledge drive will wrap-up in March.
How can I change my pledge?
Yes, we know that things happen that may change your ability to pledge. That may mean you need to reduce your pledge, but if your income goes up instead of down please share a portion of that by increasing your pledge. You may make changes to your pledge by contacting the fellowship administrator, Pat Lichen.
What is the financial goal for this year’s campaign?
The goals of the 2017-2018 Financial Stewardship Campaign were set by congregational activity in January and early February. The congregation proposed and then prioritized operational aspirations for the next fiscal year. The aspirations are in addition to the amount necessary to maintain our current level of ministries.
|Items in Priority Order||Item Cost||Pledge Goal|
|1. Maintain current staffing and operations||$150,000||$150,000|
|2. Increase minister’s position to ¾ time from current ½ time||$20,000||$170,000|
|3. Increase DRE position to ¾ time from ½ time||$15,000||$185,000|
|4. Cost-of-living increases for staff||$2,500||$187,500|
What is the average pledge at WHUUF?
Our average pledge for the current fiscal year (2016-2017) is $1368. We need to significantly increase our average pledge to fund our current level of operations plus meet any of our aspirational objectives. An increase of $200 in our average pledge will allow us to hire a ¾ time minister and a $360 increase will allow us to also hire a ¾ time DRE. When we compare ourselves to other UUA congregations of similar size in the Pacific Northwest we are lower in our average pledge.
How can I learn more about the budget and participate in creating the budget?
- Volunteer to be on the Finance Committee and attend their meetings.
- Participate in the pre-annual meeting budget review meetings.
- Participate in the annual meeting.
What does it cost to run WHUUF?
The operating budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year is $202,700. That equates to $3900 per week and $555 per day. Pledges account for 72% of our operating revenue.
How do I define my commitment to WHUUF? What should I pledge?
Only you can determine how much to pledge. Pledging to WHUUF is not like buying a commodity. WHUUF exists to live out its mission, to be a place where the congregation can gather to build the beloved community. We plant seeds of inspiration through our Sunday services and religious and adult education programs and services, we grow compassionate community through the work of our minister and our various ministries, and we bloom in service to the wider world through our social justice ministries. Our financial contributions to WHUUF are made in support of this mission and we are paying it forward so that this liberal, spiritual community and faith will continue long after we are gone.
- WHUUF subscribes to the fair share giving guidelines of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
- We ask members and friends to consider giving 5% of their adjusted gross income in support of our fellowship and our mission. If we had giving at that level we could completely live out our mission of service to the wider world.
- For many members of our community 5% can be easily reached or even surpassed. For others such a goal may not be possible. Many of us will need several years to reach this goal. If you can give 3% develop a plan to move to 5% in the next two to three years. If you are unable to pledge 3% develop a plan to reach that level within the next two to three years.
- We encourage you to review the four general levels of commitment shown below. You can refer to the attached fair share giving guide to translate these levels to dollars.
- Supporter —WHUUF is a significant part of my life and promotes my spiritual growth.
- Sustainer —WHUUF is central to my identity; I am committed to sustaining our programs.
- Visionary —I am committed to both the present and the future growth of WHUUF.
- Full Tithe —I designate 10% of my income to WHUUF as a way to live out my spiritual principles.