PLEDGE Q & A

Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno (UUCF) is here today because of the commitments and dreams of those who came before us – those whose hard work, vision, talents, time and planning got us where we are today.  Sustaining the vision of a beloved community that nurtures spiritual growth and acts on our values to heal the world requires dedication, both to today’s tasks and to what the future requires.  Just as those who “went before” and made this Church so important to us and those we serve, we are responsible for future members.  It is our turn to “go before” and ensure that the future of the Church has a vital influence on members’ lives and has the resources needed to justify saying, “service is our prayer.”

Why does UUCF have an annual pledge drive?

A pledge is a promise to donate money to the church within a 12-month period.  Our pledges are an annual commitment – each year we have an Annual Pledge Drive to encourage members and friends to reevaluate their commitment to the Church and Pledge for the upcoming fiscal year.

What is the “pledge cycle?”

Our pledge cycle is based on the fiscal year from July 1 – June 30.

What is funded by Pledge Income?

Your financial commitment puts a minister in the pulpit.  Pays for Adult and Youth Programing.  Pays for quality staff.  Pays for the running and support of our teams and committees.  Maintains our building and campus.  Provides Pastoral Care.  Provides Worship Services each Sunday.  Sustains our music program.  Allows us to do justice work in the larger community through many vital community programs.  For a responsible budget, we must forecast realistically the ongoing support of the Congregation.

How does pledging help to develop the operating budget?

Prior to the Annual Pledge Drive, the Minister, with the input of other Church leaders, develops a preliminary annual budget.  We carefully consider the costs involved in maintaining programs, activities and services, as well as future growth and goals.  This information is the structure of our budget.   The preliminary budget is intended as a realistic budget to meet our goals.   Members and friends are encouraged to review the preliminary budget and thoughtfully determine the level of financial contribution they are comfortable with to support the vision of the upcoming year that has been crafted.  Once the pledge drive has completed, the total amount of annual Pledges provides us with a realistic anticipation of Pledge Income for the upcoming fiscal year.  With this figure, the final budget is drafted and presented to the congregation for their approval at our Annual Meeting in May. To steward this sound base of programs, personnel, and facility, we plan thoughtfully, budget carefully, and act wisely.

Who can pledge?

Anyone!  Hopefully you!  Members, friends and financial supporters of the church are who sustain us.  If you are a member of the Church, one of the commitments that is made to the congregation upon joining the Church is to contribute time, talent and treasure.  Membership is not a requirement to pledge your financial commitment to the congregation.  We gratefully accept all pledges of support.

Do I have to make monthly contributions towards my pledge?

No, a monthly contribution is not required.  Our pledges are an annual commitment to the church; there is a variety of ways people honor that commitment.  Some pay their pledge all at once, others contribute weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, etc. Some choose to contribute at the end of the calendar year, others use their IRA required distributions.  It is helpful for the administration to know how you intend to incrementally fulfill your pledge commitment for planning purposes, but you can make changes to satisfy your financial status at any time.

Is pledging confidential?

Yes, pledging is confidential.  Access to individual pledge amounts is limited to the Minister, Administration and Facilities Manager, and our Administrative Assistant.  Individual pledge information is never shared beyond these three people.  All financial discussion relating to budget development is based on cumulative amounts, never individually.

How do I submit my pledge?

We have multiple ways to pledge:  Mail: complete your pledge card and return it to the Church office.  Online:   complete the online pledge form to submit your annual pledge. Email: email your pledge amount to Pledge@uufresno.org.  Phone:  Contact Administrative staff at (559) 322-6146 and provide your Annual Pledge Commitment.  A confirmation of your pledge submission will be mailed or emailed to you.

How can I pay my Pledge?

We have multiple ways to make your contribution.  You can pay by credit card on our website https://uufresno.org/giving/ or the contact the church office (322-6146 ext. 11) for assistance, CashApp ($UUFresno), Text (855-497-7462), PayPal or mail a check to the office (UUCF, 2672 E. Alluvial Ave, Fresno CA 93720).  You can also pay by utilizing “Bill Pay Service” from your personal bank account.  UUCF has a brokerage account for stock transfers and some take advantage of the tax benefits from IRA distributions.

How often do I pledge?

We encourage Members and Friends to pledge during the Annual Pledge Drive so your financial contribution can be included in our Final Preliminary Budget presented to the congregation in May.  However, a pledge can be made at any time during the year.

How much should I pledge?

Each of us will have our own unique circumstances to consider when making a financial commitment.  In making your decision, consider your UU values in thinking about your income and your financial commitment to the congregation.  We provide “The Fair Share Contribution Guide” that provides the consideration of four commitment levels and how they relate to your membership.  Any financial commitment amount that is meaningful for you is appropriate.  Many church members pledge 2-5% of their gross income.  Others pledge much more.  Others pledge even more because they know that in these challenging times, some of us are unable to make a pledge this year, and they want to pledge extra on our behalf.

Is my Pledge tax deductible?

Yes, your pledge and many other contributions to the church is tax deductible because you are not receiving a “tangible” item for your pledge.  Our administration staff is happy to answer questions regarding donations; however, we advise that you consult a financial advisor to ensure you file appropriately.

Will I receive a Pledge invoice?

Rather than invoicing for Pledge contributions, you will receive a monthly contribution statement that itemizes all contributions to the Church during the designated period.  At the end of the calendar year, you will receive a Year-End contribution statement that captures your contributions for the calendar year.  You can contact the office at any time to request a contribution statement.

What if my circumstances change after I have pledged?

Please contact our Administrative staff or Rev. Tim.  We will work diligently to assist you in adjusting your pledge to a level that is comfortable for you.  We value our members and friends and do not want a financial contribution to the congregation to be a hardship.

What if I cannot afford to pledge?

We understand that not all members can make a financial commitment.  If this pertains to you, we encourage you to contact Jodi Baker, Administration & Facilities Manager or Rev. Tim Kutzmark.  A waiver will be provided for Members and membership status will remain intact.  We encourage all members and friends to consider contributing to the church your talents and time.  There are multiple ways you can serve the congregation through volunteering and leadership.

What if I relocate after committing to a pledge?

Life happens and things change!  Relocation is no longer a barrier in maintaining UUCF as your church home because we have virtual worship, classes, groups, etc. available to meet your spiritual needs.  However, if you relocate and become involved with the UU Church in your new location and wish to support that congregation instead, please contact the office, Jodi Baker or Rev. Tim Kutzmark.  In order to remain fiscally responsible, knowing there are changes to our anticipated pledge income will help us to adapt and change, as necessary.

Can a pledge be made after the Pledge Drive?

A Pledge can be made at any time of the year.  When a pledge is made mid-pledge cycle, it is active for the remaining period of the pledge cycle and you will be asked to recommit your financial support during the following pledge drive.

Can I donate without a Pledge commitment?

Yes, absolutely.  We greatly appreciate your contributions of support.  The main reason we do a pledge drive is so we can base our budget on committed pledge income.  We take into consideration that we can anticipate a certain level of additional contributions due to historical giving, but in order to develop a solid budget, we mainly focus on Pledge commitments.

How can I support the Church financially in addition to my Pledge commitment?

We are always seeking out members and friends to volunteer for a variety of activities, programs, services, etc. at the church and in the greater community.  If you are interested in volunteering or have a special talent or skill that you would like to share, please contact Patty Bennett, Coordinator of Congregational Life msn@uufresno.org.  Patty is an excellent resource to connect your talent to the needs within our church community.

Can I pledge if I did not receive a pledge packet?

Yes!  Please contact the office or a Pledge Team member and request a pledge packet and/or pledge card.  We will be happy to provide you information and to include you to our list of very generous supporters.

Can I combine multiple donations in one contribution?

Yes, multiple donations can be included in one contribution.  We ask that you provide information to clearly state the amount of each designation.  The majority of our funds reside in our operating bank account.  A few of our individual funds are in a separate, restricted account.  Processing separate operating and restricted deposits is the most efficient; however, if operating and restricted contributions are combined in one payment, our administration staff has procedures in place to ensure your contributions are deposited into the appropriate account.

What if I have additional questions?

If you have additional questions about the pledge drive or pledging in general, you can contact Pledge Team members or contact Jodi Baker, Administration & Facilities Manager office@uufresno.org.  If you have other questions about our congregation, please contact the church office at 322-6146.  Our administrative staff will help connect you to whomever is best suited to answer your questions.

Additional contact information:

Rev. Tim Kutzmark
Minister
tkutzmark@uufresno.org
322-6146 ext. 13
Jodi Baker
Administration & Facility Manager
office@uufresno.org
pledge@uufresno.org
322-6146 ext. 11
Cindie Gonzales
Administrative Assistant
aa@uufresno.org
322-6146 ext. 10
Ruth Jenkins
Pledge Team, Chair
ryj@comcast.net