Our Church, Mountain Light Unitarian Universalist Church, meets the needs of its members and gathers in its own building. Since its inception it has grown in size and resources, and is a place of acceptance, love, and good feelings about ourselves and others. But like any entity, it needs financial resources to continue functioning. For this reason, we ask our membership and friends to make a pledge of financial support for the coming fiscal year, FY22, July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022.
What is a Pledge?
A pledge to MLUUC is a statement of your intention to contribute to the financing of the Church during the next fiscal year. It is not legally binding, and no one will come after you with reminders that your pledged contributions have not yet reached the total amount expected from you. The amount of the pledge and its fulfillment are up to you.
Who Should Pledge?
A pledge is asked from each member of MLUUC. A pledge could be that of an individual member or of the member’s entire household. This decision is purely at the discretion of each member. We welcome non-members to pledge as well.
Why not just make contributions to each Sunday’s collection? This is fine, and some folks prefer to contribute this way. However, the Board of Directors is responsible for anticipating the expenses for the year and developing the budget for the year. The major source of revenue for the Church is the contributions of its membership. If the Board knows how much revenue can be expected from the membership during the fiscal year, it can plan more effectively, and the Church will function better.
How Much Should I Pledge?
Some churches ask their membership for a 10% tithe. Other organizations provide guidelines for giving based upon your income. This is often called, “Your Fair Share.” MLUUC chooses not to provide such guidelines because it’s not the Church’s business to know your income. Additionally, we believe that any amount given should be given freely and without any guilt that might be felt by an individual who may perceive such guidelines as an expectation, which if not fulfilled would demonstrate the bad faith of the member.
So How Much Should I Pledge?
That’s up to you. The amount pledged should reflect two factors: the importance the Church in your life, and what you can afford. The amount pledged (if any) will not influence the Church’s esteem or regard for you, and will not, of course, have any effect on the Church’s views on where you will spend your afterlife (if any). Also, it will not influence your voice or say in matters affecting the Church
The Pledging Process
You will be asked to fill out a form indicating the amount of your pledge and when you expect to pay it: weekly, monthly, quarterly, or in one lump sum. You may put your name on the form, although this is not necessary. Your pledge amount and its status are kept confidential, known only to the Treasurer and in the event of an emergency, the President. Your pledge will be aggregated with other pledges for the purpose of planning by the Board. We encourage you to keep your own personal records of your contributions.
How Should I Fulfill My Pledge?
Cash or checks in the collection basket would be fine under normal circumstances. However, until we have regular Sunday services, please mail your check to the Church.* The check should note on the memo line whether the amount is a fulfillment of your pledge, or for any other purpose such as the month’s Giving Tree project or a birthday gift in celebration of your natal day.
If you have financial assets such as stocks, mutual funds, and the like, they may be transferred to the Church’s account at Edward Jones which will sell them and place the cash in our money market account.
By doing this, you may avoid a tax (if any) on the asset’s capital gains by making the donation directly from your account to the Church, rather than selling the asset and remitting the proceeds to the Church. If you itemize deductions on your federal income tax, the full amount of your contribution will be allowed as a deduction. Even if you do not itemize, you still don’t have to pay a tax on the capital gain (if any).
Good News for IRA owners
The 2018 tax law doubled the personal exemption, and so many folks who had previously itemized their deductions (which could include donations to MLUUC), will find it more tax-efficient to donate to MLUUC by means of a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD). This entails having a financial asset donated directly to MLUUC from your IRA. The fiduciary that is holding your IRA will make the check payable to MLUUC and can structure the transaction so that it will be sent to you, at which time you can forward it to the Church, or if you prefer, they can send the check directly to the Church.
And Especially for Seniors with IRAs!
If you are age 70 ½ or over, you must take a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from your IRA. You can donate a QCD from your IRA, and the amount of the QCD is excluded from income on which you may be liable for income tax. This results in a reduction of Adjusted Gross Income and thus yields lower taxes. It’s a sweet deal and more than makes up for the loss of the benefit of itemizing deductions.
So, there are tax savings available to you when donating financial assets to MLUUC. The MLUUC Treasurer has prepared a summary (Donating Financial Assets to MLUUC) of the procedures for such giving and the tax accounting appertaining thereto. Please ask the Treasurer for this document if you might be interested in donating financial assets.
Your Board of Directors thanks you for your consideration of making a pledge.
Ed Wolpert, Treasurer
*MLUUC, PO Box 442, Ellijay, GA 30540