Stewardship / Annual Pledging
Our Giving is a Commitment to our Mission
During services, we speak aloud our congregational mission statement: “We come together to deepen our lives and be a force for healing in the world.” We rely on the generosity of our members, families, and friends to carry out our mission. We do not receive funding from outside sources to cover our operating expenses. Instead, we count on each other’s support. It truly is up to us.
How the Budget Reflects
Our Mission and Values
By our pledges, we share responsibility for the vitality of our congregation. Seventy-five (75%) percent of our operating budget comes from annual pledges. Our budget covers compensation for our talented staff and ministers, adult and youth religious education, worship services and pastoral care, activity groups and special events, care of buildings and grounds, the mortgage, our administration and governance, and outreach efforts. Our giving supports our congregation’s programs and goals, we also provide support to both our national Unitarian Univeralist Association (UUA) and its Pacific Western Region affiliate (PWR-UUA). In so doing, our UU denomination provides services to UU congregations and leaders and promotes a public voice for spiritual diversity, religious freedom, fairness, and social justice. In addition, half of our Sunday offerings are provided to community partners that have been selected by the congregation.
Our Annual Pledge is an Important Part of Our Giving
One of the most valuable ways we financially express our commitment to our ideals is through making our annual pledges. When we pledge together to provide annual funding to UUSS, we enable staff and lay leaders to plan well for the upcoming yearly operating budget. Our Board of Trustees proposes a new yearly operating budget taking into account our annual pledges, other income, and operating budget costs. In May of each year, our Board of Trustees proposes a new fiscal year budget (July 1 to June 30) at our biannual Congregational meeting. Members then consider, discuss, and approve a final budget.
Making an Annual Pledge
In deciding on our annual pledge, we make a personal decision which expresses our commitment to our ideals, our ability to give, our gratitude, and our spirit of generosity. In making our pledge, we consider what UUSS means to us in our daily life and how we can sustain it with our generous support. We suggest basing one’s annual pledge in terms of a percentage of one’s yearly “adjusted annual income” which is defined as an individual or a family’s income after taxes, medical and educational expenses, and childcare costs. UUA guidelines recommend a pledge of 2% to 10% of such yearly income.
Our congregation understands and values the financial diversity of its members, families, and friends. We honor pledges which reflect a person’s generosity and a person’s budget, regardless of the amount. At the same time, we ask those who are able to provide a greater share to sustain our congregation. Our senior minister recommends:
“Start pledging at a percentage that feels right for you. Then consider bumping it up every year as you consider your ability to do so and express your gratitude for UUSS.”
Giving Guide Chart
2016-2017 Giving Data
Payments are Tracked and Confidential
Staff and lay leaders who manage UUSS finances keep all pledges confidential. Members and friends who make annual pledges and other donations receive quarterly updates. An annual summary of tax-deductible contributions is sent to each member making pledges or other donations.
Forms of Annual Pledge Payments
Many of us make a pledge commitment and pay it every month with a check or by automatic payments from our bank account. Making a monthly payment in this way saves UUSS both staff time and the cost of bank or credit card fees. Each Spring, we are asked to complete the annual pledge form during the annual Stewardship Month. If your financial circumstances change during the year, pledges can be modified by contacting our bookkeeper to raise, lower, or stop pledge payments.