Frequently Asked Questions
An annual pledge is a promise to our fellowship to give money for our congregation’s operation and 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 ask me 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.
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.
Where do my pledge dollars go?
Pledge dollars are by far the single largest source of revenue to fund the operation of the fellowship. We have a goal to make pledges account for 90% of our operational revenue stream. Your pledge dollars pay the salaries of our staff, pay for the occupancy and maintenance of our buildings, fund our religious education program, the Sunday services, and all the other programs and ministries of our fellowship including music, social justice, social events and all of our committees. Your pledge dollars allow WHUUF to remain an honor congregation and pay our fair-share to the UUA and the PNWD
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 a Visiting Steward, a member of the congregation who has generously given of their time and talent to meet with you. 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 is confidential.
We ask that you be open and welcoming to your Steward and find a time you can get together before March 20. Please be prepared to make your financial commitment. You don’t pay any money at this time. Your commitment is for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.
When can I make my pledge?
The campaign begins on February 28 with Commitment Sunday and we want to complete our pledging by March 20 in time for Celebration Sunday. Unlike previous years when the Campaign lasted for months, this year we want to wrap it up in three weeks. This will require all of us working together to make the campaign a success. The operating budget for 2016-2017 will be based only on the revenue projections at the end of the campaign. We will not present a deficit or unfunded budget at the annual meeting in May.
Can I change my pledge?
Yes, you may adjust your financial commitment at any time. We know things happen that may change your ability to fully pay your pledge. Often that means 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. If you are having difficulty meeting your pledge commitments, please contact our minister or Stewardship Team Lead. We can help if only you will ask. You may make changes to your pledge by contacting the fellowship administrator, Pat Lichen.
How can I 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). Currently we are unable to accept credit or debit cards.
You can pay your pledge by donating stock. Please contact our Stewardship Team or Pat Lichen for more details.
Is my pledge tax deductible?
Yes, pledges are fully tax deductible and you will receive a calendar year-end statement detailing your payments.
I give money to congregational fundraisers throughout the year. Do these gifts count toward my pledge?
No they do not. Fundraisers such as the auction or the scrip program cannot be treated the same as pledges for tax purposes. Those events result in you receiving a tangible product that has monetary value. In addition, revenue from these other events is usually “earmarked” for some purpose other than general operation of the fellowship.
How much should I pledge?
We cannot answer that question for you because everyone’s economic circumstances are different. We trust that you will give as generously as you are able.
- WHUUF subscribes to the Fair Share Contribution Guide of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
- We ask members and friends to work to pledge at least 3% of their adjusted gross income.
- We challenge members and friends to become UU Tithers and give 5% of their adjusted gross income in support of our fellowship and our mission.
- For many members of our community these goals 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 UUA Fair Share Contribution 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.
- Transformer — I am deeply committed to the congregation; my contribution provides fuel for transformation and is part of my spiritual practices in living out my UU Principles My fair share commitment represents 10% of my income.
What does it cost to run WHUUF?
The operating budget for the current fiscal-year is $214,307. That equates to about $590 per day and $4,130 per week.
What is the average pledge?
Our average pledge for the 2015-2016 fiscal year is $1165. This is lower than it was in 2014-2015. We must dramatically increase our average pledge to fund even the current operating budget let alone achieve our goals for the next year. When we compare ourselves to other UUA congregations of similar size in the Pacific Northwest we are significantly lower in our average pledge. Together we must find a way to bring our average pledge closer to $1800 if we are to operate at our current level of expenditure.
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. The bylaws do not state how much you must pledge.