Unity of Ann Arbor
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Stewardship
Question 1: What does it mean to make a financial pledge/commitment?
Answer: Making a financial commitment is promising to give a specific dollar amount of your financial resources to the operating budget of Unity of Ann Arbor over the course of a calendar year. With faithful stewardship, truly we receive much more than we give. As each of us gives, we reap the benefits of generosity and faith. What we give comes back to us multiplied whether time, talent or treasure.
Question 2: Why is making a financial commitment important?
Answer: Making a financial commitment is an important spiritual exercise, which allows you to reflect on the gifts God has given you and show your thanks for those gifts by giving back to the church. It also models the importance of our spiritual lives and our commitment to a growing relationship with God and the church, especially to children. For the church, there is another very practical reason. Each year Unity of Ann Arbor creates an operating budget based on the total amount of income we expect to receive the next year. A majority of that income is from your financial commitments. In the past, we have had to guess at that amount, which has made it very difficult to build an operating budget. The budget is the foundation for planning the future year’s events. If the amounts committed do not cover the projected expenses of the church, then the expenses must be reduced. Reducing expenses means that music, education and other important programs, and possibly the staff who support them, might need to be cut.
Question 3: How is my money used?
Answer: The gifts or your time, talents, and treasure make things happen at Unity! The Board of Trustees and staff work hard to be good stewards of your gifts. Your generosity pays for our new minister, Rev. Patty, our Business Manager, Sonja, our custodian and Sunday School teachers. It pays for the lovely music we have each Sunday and at special services. All expenses connected with keeping our doors open and our church comfortable come from your tithes. We would like to have more activities for all age groups at church, have more of a face in the community, provide for the spiritual health of our congregation, have a dynamic education program for our youth, and make improvements on our twenty year old building. All of this requires your financial support.
Question 4: Who should make a financial commitment to the church?
Answer: Anyone and everyone! You do not have to be a formal member to make a financial commitment to Unity of Ann Arbor. If you are spiritually fed here, feel free to commit!
Question 5: How much should I commit?
Answer: There are many ways to decide how much to give. The most important thing is that we give in gratitude, attending to that before all else. This is a biblical practice, dedicating the “first fruits” of our labor right off the top, rather than offering what remains after all other expenses are taken care of. The standard of giving in Unity is 10% of our income, or a tithe. Our prosperity teachers, Edwene Gaines and Catherine Ponder, say that tithing increases our own prosperity. Many of us, however, may need to start more modestly. For those, proportionate giving, giving a set percentage of our income back to God for God’s work, can be very helpful. Our hope is that everyone at Unity of Ann Arbor will commit to some amount. That is a first and important step for each of us on the path of gratitude and generosity. No matter what your financial commitment is, know that it makes a valued contribution to our mission and ministry. If you’ve never tried proportionate giving before, why not start at 2% of your income? If you are already committing a specific percentage of your income, consider moving up one step on the proportional giving chart. Use the chart below to help you.
Question 6: How and when do I make my financial commitment?
Answer: We have Financial Commitment sheets available today. They are also available on our website. After prayerfully considering what you would like your gift to be for the next calendar year beginning January 1, 2019, complete and return the form to Sonja Carico by Wednesday, November 28, 2018. Your financial commitment may be paid weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually.
Question 7: What are the different ways to pay my commitment?
Answer: There are many ways you can make your payment. 1) Put your envelope with your check or cash in the offering at each service. 2) Credit card 3) Paypal on our website and Facebook 4) Pay electronically through your bank 5) Use automatic payments.
Sonja Carico will help you with any of these choices should you have questions with setting this up. It is important for you to know that all of your information is kept confidential.
Question 8: Can I give stocks or other financial instruments?
Answer: Yes, this is a great way to offset capital gains.
Question 9: Are my donations tax deductible?
Answer: Yes, they are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. You will receive a statement in the first quarter of the year that details all the donations you made to the church in the previous year.
Question 10: What if I can’t pay the amount to which I have committed?
Answer: We understand that circumstances change. Please contact Sonja, in writing, if a change needs to be made in your commitment.
Question 11: Why are there fund raisers if we make financial commitments?
Answer: There are many events and programs which we presently have at Unity and those we would like to have. They cannot all be funded by the budget of the church. As a result, we will from time to time have fund raisers. As committed income increases, we can more fully fund our events and programs, thus eliminating the need for some fund raisers. We would not want them to disappear entirely, because in addition to raising needed monies, fund raisers provide opportunities for team-building and fellowship as we fulfill our mission and vision. The important thing is that we hope to eliminate pleas for funding just for operating expenses.
Question 12: Who should I contact if I have questions or need help?
Answer: If you need help setting up electronic payments or fund transfers, receiving pledge envelopes, or have a question about your pledge, please contact: Sonja Carico, Business Administrator.
Contact Reverend Patty regarding questions of stewardship and financial commitments.