Stewardship on the Vitality of Monthly Giving

Monthly givers are steadfast

As we get ready for the pledge drive in March, we want to connect feel-good generosity to a real commitment. The Pledge Committee also asks that you give a thought to the mechanisms we use to fulfill our pledges. Consider a year-long giving strategy. If you’re not already one of our community’s stalwart monthly givers, please consider monthly giving to UUSM. It’s easy and convenient, and so much more.

Predictable monthly giving helps UUSM with confidence in planning and cashflow (more on that below). But it also helps members and pledging friends with their own finances. Quite a few of us still fulfill our pledges at the end of the year. Monthly giving lends peace of mind, with a fixed sum given on a fixed date each month. In contrast, a looming lump-sum payment can add stress and perhaps lead to a cash-flow crunch.

Automated monthly giving is even easier. Just sign up once, and you don’t ever have to remember whether you’ve paid your pledge. Monthly givers generally consider and adjust their pledge amount only once a year; though you can always make a change should your resources or personal circumstances change. Monthly givers enjoy our church celebrations and services, and continue our work together for common causes, all year long; knowing that our community is deeply grateful for their constancy. You’re able to focus on what’s important about church – making a difference in your life and in the world – rather than paying the bills.

Speaking of paying bills…

Monthly giving, particularly automated monthly giving, frees up staff and volunteer time. Rather than tracking unfulfilled pledges several times throughout the year, staff members and the Stewardship volunteers can focus more on music, environmental and social justice issues, meaningful connections, education, pastoral care… you name it. Our largest source of income is pledging, and our largest expense category is staff. As with any employer, UUSM has an obligation to staff. It is part of our community’s covenant with staff that we manage our collective resources such that they feel empowered to bring joy and dedicated engagement to their work.

It’s common for businesses to have cash ebbs and flows throughout the year, and the church has reserves in place for just that purpose. But having that steady monthly-giving income provides ease for the office staff and Stewardship. It gives the Board of Directors and the Finance Committee – all of us, really – a more realistic picture of the heath and capacity of the church as we look to the future and the initiatives we undertake.

You have bills. What if you weren’t sure when a third of your salary would be paid? Yes, 32% of UUSM’s pledge income is paid on a date (and sometimes amount) uncertain. About 40% households pay once a year.

This coming spring, our annual pledge drive will consider our congregation’s culture of generosity and commitment, bringing those issues to the fore of our vision. Though it is simple to enroll and forget about it, Stewardship and members in leadership want to thank monthly givers often. Thank you for your steadfastness. We remind you to embrace the joy of your generosity to our beloved community.

Any manner you choose to meet your pledge commitment and support our call to a more loving and just society is warmly welcomed, and deeply appreciated. But to those who usually make a single payment to fulfill your pledge: when you think about your 2019-20 pledge, please consider automated monthly giving. Is it right for you, your finances, and your commitment to UU Santa Monica?

In fact, you can start today. Call or email Finance Assistant Nancy Thompson and she’ll help you convert your current single-payment pledge to monthly giving going forward. Or visit the improved online giving platform right now. There’s an app for that!

Your investment in monthly giving to UUSM will lend you peace of mind, and then go on to bring joy and inspire change through the coming church year and beyond. Thank you.

Gretchen Goetz and Kit Shaw
Stewardship Committee Co-Chairs

Note: You’ll be hearing from Stewardship volunteers, “Connectors,” in March to discuss generosity and commitment. The Stewardship Committee is happy to support you as you make decisions about how you fulfill your pledge: transfers of investments, legacy giving, and year-end versus year-long giving. Contact Nancy with any questions, and we’ll be in touch.

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