Sustaining Our Mission
To arrange secure payment for a pledge please visit: http://tinyurl.com/pledgeoptions
Annual Pledges and contributions account for almost 70% of the churches budget each year, meaning that each and every pledge plays a decisive role in the ability of First Church to work towards fulfilling its mission each year. Meaning WE really are the church.
Making and fulfilling an annual pledge deepens our faith and sustains First Unitarian for the benefit of us all and the wider community we serve. Our pledges express gratitude, generosity, and commitment to our work in the world
Annual Giving FAQs
What Is the Annual Fund Drive (AFD)?
Each autumn, during our Annual Fund Drive, First Unitarian asks its members and friends to make a promise of financial support (a Pledge) for the coming calendar year.
Our Annual Fund Drive (AFD) provides the funds that make the life of our church possible.
This is the time for you to think deeply about the role of First Unitarian in your life. As congregants we count on this community to be here for us in intensely personal ways—for solace, support, and hope. This personal connection is only possible through generous congregant support.
What Is a Pledge?
A pledge is a promise to donate a certain amount of money to the church during the calendar year. It is a statement of intent; it’s not a legally binding obligation. Do not hesitate to pledge generously because you are uncertain about your financial situation. Pledges can be adjusted in times of shifting resources.
Last year we introduced the Auto-Renewing Pledge. Auto-Renewal is for those who view their pledge as a symbol of an ongoing commitment to First Unitarian and want their pledge to automatically renew itself year to year. We hope this will encourage a deeper reflection on the importance of First Unitarian in our lives and in the broader community centered on mission and purpose. It enables us to ask ourselves “How might my relationships and commitments grow from year to year?” instead of just “Will I give support to the church?” Use the “Opt-In” box on the pledge form if you want to sign up for an auto-renewing pledge.
Is a Pledge like a Membership Fee?
No. Many of us are members of OPB, the ACLU or other organizations; but participation at First Unitarian is different. We expect the church not only to provide worship and religious education for us and our families, but we also count on the church to be here for us in intensely personal ways: when we celebrate, when we grieve and when we work for justice. The church strives to be a Beloved Community which supports us throughout our lives.
Who Should Pledge?
Members who sign the membership book, as well as non-members or friends of the church are ALL invited to pledge! If you have found services, solace, support or meaningful work here, don’t hesitate to make a pledge. This allows us to extend those same things to more and more people in our community and beyond.
Do I Have to Pledge?
Making and fulfilling an annual pledge deepens our faith and sustains First Unitarian for the benefit of us all and the wider community we serve.
*To be a voting member and receive a ballot, you must sign the Membership Book and fulfill a pledge each year. This requirement is a reflection of our shared responsibility to sustain the church.
When Should I Make My Pledge?
We welcome your pledge anytime, but traditionally each autumn our members and friends are asked to make financial pledges to support the work and mission of First Unitarian Church for the coming calendar year. We call this the Annual Fund Drive (AFD).
New Members and friends who join us at other times of the year are invited to make a financial pledge for the REMAINING current calendar year.
How Much Does It Cost to Run the Church?
Our annual budget is $2.3 million. That budget “keeps the lights on” for our block-sized downtown campus, supports our staff and pays for the rich array of programs we offer including lifespan learning for children, youth and adults; an outstanding music program to enhance our Sunday worship; and a broad array of social justice action groups and service projects. It might help individuals and families to know that in order to meet our pledge goal this year we will need an average pledge of $1,460.
How Much Should I Pledge?
Everyone’s circumstances are different. Individual pledges vary from $2 per week to many thousands of dollars a year. We recognize and deeply embrace the financial diversity of our congregation. To make this a church for all, we ask those who are able to carry a greater financial commitment to our beloved community.
Your pledge should fit your heart and your budget! Let your pledge be an expression of joy.
We are asking for a 5% increase from everyone. If you increased your pledge significantly last year, that may be too much. But if you had to reduce your pledge last year or weren’t able to pledge at all, we hope you will return your pledge to its prior level.
Is There a Minimum Annual Pledge?
There is no minimum annual pledge. However church members and participating friends alike are asked to “pledge generously within their means.” The reason for this is that we count on the church to be here for us in a very supportive and personal way—unlike other organizations we may give to.
No gift is too small and ALL gifts are valued.
What Does It Mean to “Give Generously Within Your Means”?
Our policies ask that members pledge “generously within their means,” but each individual and family makes their own decision on how much to give. Financial circumstances are different. Involvement in the church and participation also vary. It is the sense of open-hearted generosity that we ask you to find. One person described this as “Give until it feels good.”
Can I Pledge to a Specific Program or Fund Instead of to the Operating Fund?
All special designated gifts are certainly appreciated. But it is much more helpful to the church if gifts from our congregants can go to our Operating budget because that’s what supports our programs from year to year. We need those funds to ensure that the church runs properly from every angle.
How Will My Pledge Be Used?
Pledges and donations account for almost 70% of the churches budget each year. Our annual budget of $2.3 million “keeps the lights on” for our block-sized downtown campus, supports our staff and pays for the rich array of programs we offer including lifespan learning for children, youth and adults; an outstanding music program to enhance our Sunday worship; and a broad array of social justice action groups and service projects. It might help individuals and families to know that in order to meet our pledge goal this year we will need an average pledge of $1,460.
What Are My Payment Options?
Pledge payments can be made on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis using any of the following payment methods:
- Automatic Checking Withdrawal (church initiated)
Most congregants contribute once each month or quarter by having their pledge payments automatically deducted from their checking or savings account. You just need to attach a voided check to your pledge form or send one to the church “ATTN: Controller”. The same account can be debited year after year as long as the account number does not change.
- Bank Bill Pay (congregant initiated)
You the congregant would need to go into your online bank account and set-up a payment to the church using your bank’s Bill Pay feature.
- Secure On-Line Pledge Payments
You can pay your pledge online through our secure payment center Vanco at http://tinyurl.com/pledgeoptions
- Debit Card and Credit Card
You may also pay your pledge using your debit card or credit card. Just write the number and the expiration date on the space provided on your pledge form. The same card can be debited year after year as long as the account number does not change. If the card number or expiration date changes, be sure to notify the church office. Please Note: 3% of your pledge will go to the credit card company instead of the church.
What If I Cannot Pay My pledge?
Financial hardship should never be an obstacle to church participation. Through good times and bad, we are all in this together! Annual waivers are available to any member facing financial difficulty. No paperwork to fill out, no eligibility requirements, just a quick conversation with one of our Ministers or our Church Administrator will suffice. Please contact one of our ministers or Church Administrator Kathryn Estey at 503-228-6389 Ext. 122.
Is My Pledge Tax Deductible?
Because First Unitarian Church is a 501©3 non-profit religious organization, recognized by the IRS, your contribution are tax deductible. Our office issues an end-of-the-year tax letters showing total contributions made.
Can Plate Offerings Be in Place of Pledging?
While gifts of all kinds and amounts are appreciated money put into the plate on Sundays isn’t enough to pay for the church’s expenses. In fact, Sunday offerings represent just 3% of First Unitarian’s income, and are shared with other worthy causes.
What About the Time I Spend Volunteering?
Members and friends of the church are encouraged to give regularly of time and talent as volunteers. Without our volunteers doing much of the church’s important work in the world, our paid staff budget would be much higher. But the church also requires financial support in order to fund our many programs and pay our bills. Volunteered time is highly valued in its own right, but can never replace financial contributions.
I Still Have Questions, Who Can Answer Them?
For additional questions please contact contact Erin Tafuri at (503) 228-6389 Ext. 312 or email firstname.lastname@example.org