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, each of us truly receives much more than we give. As each of us gives, we reap the benefits of generosity and faith. What we give–whether time, talent, or treasure–comes back to us multiplied.
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 to show your thanks for those gifts by giving back to the church. It also models, especially to children, the importance of our spiritual lives and our commitment to a growing relationship with God and the church.
For our church community, there is also another very practical reason. Each year, Unity of Ann Arbor creates an operating budget, the foundation for the year’s activities, based on the total amount of income we expect to receive the next year. The majority of that income is from your financial commitments.
If we have a committed amount to work with, it is much easier to build a realistic operating budget, and to carry out the activities as planned. This helps reduce the chances that our music, education, or 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 Sunday speakers/guest ministers, 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, our church comfortable, and our outreach active come from your tithes. Goals such as providing more activities for all age groups, having a more active presence in the community, and making improvements to our 30-year old building, all require 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, 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. Prosperity teachers, such as 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. If you’ve never tried proportionate giving before, why not start at, say, 2% of your income? If you are already committing a specific percentage of your income, consider moving up one step, and see what results manifest in your life.
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.
Question 6: How and when do I make my financial commitment?
Answer: We have Financial Commitment forms available on this website or from the church office. After prayerfully considering what you would like your gift to be, please complete and return the form to our office. 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, including:
1) Placing your check or cash in the offering at each in-person service;
2) Mailing your check to the P.O. Box listed on the “Contact Us” page;
3) Using the Paypal link on our website to pay online;
4) Setting up regular payments via your credit card or your bank.
Our Business Administrator will help you with any of these choices should you have questions about 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 our Business Administrator, in writing, if a change needs to be made in your commitment.
Question 11: Why are there fundraisers, even if we make financial commitments?
Answer: There are many events and programs which we presently have at Unity of Ann Arbor and those we would like to have. Not all of these may have been included when the operating budget was built, so they cannot all be funded by that budget. As a result, Unity of Ann Arbor will, from time to time, hold fundraisers.
In addition to raising needed monies, fundraisers provide opportunities for team-building and fellowship as we fulfill our mission and vision. With increases in committed giving, we hope to eliminate any pleas for support merely 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, would like to receive pledge envelopes, or have a question about your pledge, please contact: Sonja Carico, Business Administrator ([email protected]).
Please contact us with any questions regarding stewardship and financial commitments.