Annual Giving Campaign FAQ

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What is the annual giving campaign?

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia is financially autonomous. We do not have a diocese or umbrella organization to support us if we fail to meet our annual operating budget needs. We are it – we are in effect a co-op. The annual generosity campaign gifts provide about 90% of the revenue we need, with the rest provided by church facility rentals, undesignated Sunday offerings, and fundraisers.

The annual generosity campaign is held in late winter every year, but pledges can be and are made throughout the year by new members and friends as they realize the value they find here. During the generosity campaign, every household in our community is invited  to make a pledge – a promise – of financial support. The pledge you make and then honor in the upcoming year keeps the Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia thriving.

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What are four easy ways to submit a pledge?

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Who pledges?

Members. Friends. Parents. Newcomers. Each of us who is connected to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia is invited to make an annual financial commitment to support the church.

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I am not ready to become a member of this church, so why am I getting information about pledging?

We have non-members of the church who pledge financial support. We call them friends of the church. We invite everyone who is regularly participating in church activities to make a pledge.

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How much should I pledge?

This is a personal decision. We ask that you consider your personal budget and what the church means to you as you determine an amount you can contribute to the church on a weekly or monthly basis. We ask everyone to consider making a pledge that is both meaningful and significant based on their own financial situation. Most of our members contribute on a regular basis. For newer members and friends, we ask that you consider pledging an amount that reflects a serious commitment to the space you have chosen as your spiritual home – not simply to make a donation to yet another charity.

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I’m doing well – what should I pledge?

 If you attend Sunday services, are active in our programs and activities, or if you have children in R.E., OWL, or Youth Group, and these connections are important in your life, then please consider a significant increase that would be meaningful to you and demonstrate your commitment.

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I have a limited income – what should I pledge?

Please know that you are always welcome at our church. If you have a modest income or are facing demands on your resources, then pledge what you can manage.

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What if I have a hardship situation that prevents me from making a financial pledge?

If you cannot make a financial pledge because you are struggling financially, please discuss your situation with the minister. We have funds available to support members and friends in times of great need.

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How is pledging different from weekly donations?

While cash donations via the weekly offering are greatly appreciated and are used to help support the church, they are unpredictable, and we cannot rely on them in planning our budget. Also, twice a month, cash offerings go toward our designated Faith-to-Action collections.

Annual pledges give us a good idea of the funds we can expect during the year, providing a solid foundation for our operating budget to support the work we envision for the coming year.

Begin making your newly pledged annual gift amount in July.  You may pay your pledge in a variety of ways – weekly, monthly, online, via text, or bank drafts. These are all safe, secure and convenient ways to give. Our church uses the Breeze church management system which uses the Stripe online payment platform to process donations. This ensures the security of transactions processed over the internet because transactions through the Breeze and Stripe websites, as well as our website, are protected by SSL encryption.

If you put your pledge in the Sunday offering plate, label your check as your pledge on the memo line.  For cash, place it in an envelope with your name so it can be tracked.

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What about the time I contribute? Do you just care about money?

Your volunteer efforts are greatly appreciated and we know how valuable your time is! Thank you for helping to make our congregational life work!

We also know that you understand that our staff, our building, and the things that we do for each other and for the rest of the world require money as well as time.

We could not survive without the generous donations of our members’ and friends’ time and talent, as well as their financial gifts

If you are eager to know more about our volunteer opportunities, committees, and other areas where energies are needed, please consult our website, read our weekly announcements or talk to the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon, board members, or various team or committee leaders about the options open to you.

The generosity campaign is the special time of the year when we talk more about money because we need to assure that we can turn our shared vision for the future year into actions that reach our members and the community.

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Where does my pledge go?

 Your pledge goes toward paying living wages and benefits to our staff, building maintenance, administrative costs, technology, the costs of worship services, religious education, ministries, programming and committees/teams. Our budget, approved by the Board of Trustees and then by the membership, details the amounts budgeted in each of these areas, and we provide regular reports of our expenses.

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Can I designate what I want my money to go to?

Not specifically. If you are a member of the church, you have a voice in deciding the overall direction of the church and how income will be used. However, it is not possible to earmark specific pledges to pay for specific things.  One exception is the Accessibility Campaign, where members have promised designated amounts for this important capital project.

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How can I change my current pledge?

If your financial circumstances change and you want or need to change your pledge – either up or down – simply contact Church Administrator Suzanne Clark and tell her what you want to do.

A pledge is a promise, not a contract.  Letting us know if you need to change your pledge helps us anticipate our cash-flow and responsibly manage our budget.

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What if I have questions not answered here?

You can direct additional questions to:

    • Our Minister: Rev. Molly Housh Gordon – email
    • Our Church Administrator: April Rodeghero – email
    • Our Annual Giving Campaign Chair: Susan Even – email

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