2060-10 Church Benevolent Fund issues 2060-10 -- ZZeod


TOPIC Church Benevolent Fund Issues                                                                        ORIGINATED  December 2010

TOPICAL OVERVIEW:  Concerns and comments as to the distribution of a  Church's Benevolent Fund.    

FILE: 2060-10                                                                                                                            UPTDMarch 09, 2012

Jim Bramer, Retired Auditor-CPA   ---   From:    Onliner
        In today's economy we are faced with how do we "appropriately provide financially help"  to our Church Families via our  Benevolent Fund  that our people contribute to at the conclusion of our monthly time of Communion. 

        As a Church Deacon with some 
Benevolent Fund  responsibilities, I am concerned  that we are using this money for what seems to be "undefined needs".   Some of our church leaders are saying that we should make these gifts without a lot of knowledge about such matters.   Even to the extent of viewing such money as a "Pastoral Slush Fund" with little accountability by either the Church or the  recipient.
        How do you view these matters, Jim?
TO Onliner:

        First, let me share the content of the following links which  I trust you find helpful along these lines.
                              Sharing with a Church Treasurer on this topic           5021

                              Personalized Giving                                                       0020
                              Finance  Policy Matters                                                 0081 
                             See content Here  about the Church's  help about managing Personal Finances

TO Jim:

        Thanx, Jim, the information above is very helpful, but it seems to me that a Church should have the possible recipient provide some formal written information as to their needs , etc.  All should be satisfied that there are no income tax implications to either the Church or the recipient, etc.   

TO Onliner:     
        Like any use of funds in carrying out its Christian Ministry's tax exempt purpose,  the Church should judiciously make disbursements to qualified people.   Further, it seems that the administrator of this Fund should have an approved written job description that might include some "after the gift" follow up features.

         Of course,  like any gift transaction,  there are no tax reporting by the Church or any taxable income aspects when they receive this gift-money from the Church.  Plus, of course, such recipients should receive checks, or gift certificates, but never green stuff or cash.  The Church should have a policy about repetitive donations to the same recipient, etc..

        I agree with some Churches who rightfully do NOT want to further embarrass their recipients by requiring a lot of written details about the status of their very personal finance matters, or they require only a limited amount of paperwork as they simply react to such verbally expressed needs.  Or the interaction with them is almost exclusively via a one-on-one personal interview with a spiritual and prayer emphasis, etc. 

        Perhaps the interviewer would simply indicate on the check request form that, in their understanding of the known facts, this disbursement is in response to a real need, etc.  .

        However, if it is obvious that they are obviously overspending their resources -- or there is too much debt because of these practices ---  then the Church should do the appropriate counseling and insist that they get the applicable outside help so they can diligently control their spending as pleasing to the Lord, etc.  Please Go Here for more information along these lines.
TO Jim:

        Thank you.   I will share this with our Church leaders and make every effort to articulate and follow some rules and regulations as to these matters.

                As most of you know, at  www.bcidot.org   we dialog by email with Onliners regarding Ministry Finance (MinFin) matters.  Above are what we call "Edited Onliner Dialogs", or edited versions of actual dialogs with some of you;  but we have honored your privacy and not used your name or that of your Ministry.  Our purpose is to make topical MinFin  information available to any interested  Ministry Finance Team  so we all can learn from these perspectives.   Thanx - Jim Bramer, Retired Auditor-CPA  - Proverbs  9:10