UUCSS Policy – Church Finances

[updated April 2016]

Budget Requests

Each department, committee, or other unit of the Church requesting budget appropriation of congregational funds shall:

  1. Submit a reasonable itemization of proposed expenditures for the new Church year to the Finance Committee prior to June 1st.
  2. Be prepared, at the request of the Board or Finance Committee, at any time, to present a reasonable itemization of the expenditures for the balance of the year.
  3. Include an itemization of expenditures in their annual report.

Annual Church Canvass:

In order to maintain confidentiality of individual or household pledging data, only the Canvass Chairs(s), the Collector, and the Treasurer shall have access to the data they must have to perform their specific functions. Individuals or households may have access to data pertaining to them and canvassers may be furnished with pledging data for those whom they canvass. Upon the recommendation of the Finance Committee and with the approval of the Board, contributions to the annual fund in any given year may be recognized in an appropriate manner. Requests by donors for anonymity will be honored.

Collections:

Collections shall be taken at all Church services unless the Board approves otherwise. Money collected shall go to the Church. Special purpose collections shall be deposited in the Church account and disbursed by the Treasurer. Special purpose collections must have the approval of the Finance Committee and the concurrence of the person responsible for the service or event during which the collection is taken. The Collector must be personally contacted prior to any special purpose collection.

Any and all funds collected by or accruing to any organization of the Church must be transferred to the Collector, who will deposit them in a Church bank account and inform the Treasurer of the amount and nature of such receipts and deposits.

The Collector shall prepare a monthly report to the Board. This report should relate to the Treasurer’s report, should include a figure, which indicates all monies received, and should indicate that prepaid pledges are considered restricted until the period for which they are made.

Any account established for a Church group must be authorized by the Board and have the Treasurer as a co-signer.

Fund Raising by and for Church Organizations

Definitions.

“Fund-Raising” shall be defined as the conduct of an event or activity (such as a concert or bingo night) or offer of a good or service (such as plants or note cards) in exchange for monetary remuneration for the purpose of raising funds for specified, church-related programs.

“Soliciting Contributions” shall be defined as the conduct by any church organization of soliciting contributions without providing activities, goods, or services to the contributor in return.

Standing programs of the Church shall be funded through the Church budget.

Except, as stated below, church organizations may not engage in fundraising dedicated to their own budgets, activities, and use. In no event may an organization of the church engage in soliciting contributions for its own budget, activities, or use.

  1. Fund-raising by Denominational Affairs as specified in “Fund-Raising for Unitarian Universalist Organizations” below,
  2. Fund-raising by Church organizations having the approval of the Finance Committee to hold one annual fund-raiser to satisfy a specific need, provided that at least one-third (1/3) of the net funds raised is dedicated to the general fund; in all such instances, the Finance Committee shall approve the distribution of the funds raised between the general fund and the church organization or activity;
  3. Fund-raising by the Young Religious Unitarian Univeralists (YRUU) with the approval of the Religious Education Committee;
  4. Annual or ongoing fund-raisers which were specifically approved by the Board of Trustees prior to September 1, 1997.
  5. The Finance Committee shall, from time to time and as is warranted by the circumstances, review the decisions in setting the distribution of funds under item 2 above, providing advice and guidance in establishing policy in connection with this responsibility.

Fund-Raising for Unitarian Universalist Organizations

Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), Joseph Priestley District (JPD), Greater Washington Association (GWA), Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC).

The Church representative for the UUSC is authorized to sell official items offered by the UUSC in its nationwide fund-raising efforts. Because the UUSC is the outreach arm of the denomination, sales efforts may be made on a continuing basis in a designated area on Sunday mornings. UUSC cards and UNICEF cards may automatically be accepted for sale in the Church. The Social Action Committee must approve of any other holiday cards. The UUSC representative may forward funds thus raised directly to the UUSC and will report to the Board once a year in writing on the results of these sales.

All Fund Raising Events at UUCSS.

All fund-raising activities must be reviewed and approved by the Finance Committee in accordance with Board-approved policy before they may take place. All Finance Committee approved events will be reported to the Vice President for Finance and the Chair of the Finance Committee. Approved events that raise Board-related issues shall be considered for referral to the Board by the Vice President for Finance.

For all Finance Committee approved fund-raising activities, church organizations sponsoring the activity must submit a report, as required by the Finance Committee. Such a report must be submitted on a monthly basis if the fund-raising activity is ongoing or held during a period in excess of one month; otherwise, the report must be submitted after the fund-raising activity is completed. Such reports as are required shall be submitted to the Finance Committee.

Fees/Admissions for Non-Fund Raising Activities

Upon approval of the sponsoring organization’s Board liaison, any bona fide Church organization or ad hoc committee may sponsor an event for which admission or fees are charged to cover the cost of the event. Monies received in excess of the actual expenses are to be turned in to the Collector and allocated by the Collector and Treasurer to the Good Times Fund.

The Good Times Fund shall be administered by the finance committee, and shall be used to:

  • Provide “up-front” money for activities like retreats and weekends,
  • Pay for needed supplies for good times activities,
  • Provide a cushion in the event that a good times activity loses money,
  • Reimburse planners of Church functions for their out-of-pocket expenses in the event that the sum of money collected at an event does not cover the cost of childcare provided.

When the balance in the Good Times Fund exceeds $400, the money shall be returned to the general fund and may be allocated by the Board to meet specific needs of the Church.

Commemorative Funds

The Commemorative Committee shall be appointed by the Board President and approved by the Board.

The Commemorative Committee shall administer all Church commemorative funds. Additional duties of the committee include the following:

  1. Maintain, update and display the gift book,
  2. Maintain official records of gifts on a standard form developed by the committee,
  3. Organize an annual reading of the gift book,
  4. Annually review and update the list of suggested commemorative gifts,
  5. Annually review the status of memorial funds,
  6. Manage scholarship funds,
  7. Prepare an annual report for the congregation.

All actions of the Commemorative Committee are subject to approval by the Board who accepts responsibility for carrying them out.

The Commemorative Committee shall consider each gift or bequest offered to it for suitability and concordance with established Board policy. The Commemorative Committee may accept a gift, negotiate with the donor or estate representative to obtain a suitable gift, or, in the case agreement cannot be reached, refuse a gift.

The Board and the Commemorative Committee look with favor on suitable gifts or bequests made to the Church. A wide range of kinds and sizes of gifts should be encouraged. Specific commemorative gifts to be encouraged might include the following:

  • Funds for special purposes,
  • Renovation or redecoration of a room,
  • Books, including hymnals,
  • Works of art,
  • Equipment,
  • Landscaping–bushes or perennial plants, trees, benches and walks, stones and sculptures, walls, fences and plant beds, paths, arbors and fountains. New parents, for example, might be encouraged to commemorate a birth with a bush or small tree, while benches or fountains would be appropriate as long-lasting memorials.

In order to encourage the making of gifts and bequests, a Gift Book shall be maintained in a prominent place in which each gift is recorded, along with the name of the donor, the name of the person honored, and the nature or location of the gift or purpose for which it was used. It is the responsibility of the Commemorative Committee to maintain the Gift Book.

– Each memorial fund will have one page (or more as needed), with the names of all donors listed together.
– Donations of numbers of similar objects (such as poinsettias or plants for landscaping) will also be grouped on pages.
– Other donations will be listed one to a page.
– The gift book should be placed in a prominent location and kept under a transparent cover.
– A different page should be displayed periodically, either a newly inscribed page, or older pages in rotation.
– Annually on Founders’ Day, entries should be formally read as part of the ceremonies.

Individuals or groups of persons who donate a substantial amount toward construction of specific rooms or areas may choose the name of the room or area pursuant to guidelines approved by the board.

The Church will maintain control of the area or room’s use and decoration. Names of donors will be recorded in the gift book, but donors will not be listed in the room itself. The room will be identified by a nameplate on its door, and by a commemorative plaque inside the room describing the person commemorated.

Monetary gifts or bequests, which are not expended immediately, will be held by the Treasurer for the purpose for which they were given. Commemorative funds shall not be used for the general Church operations unless otherwise approved by family members. Unexpended funds will be audited with all other Church records.

The Board does not accept long-term gifts or bequests for purposes other than Church-related activities. It may act as a Collector of funds of non-Church-related activities if these funds are disbursed when collection is complete.

When requested by a survivor of any member or friend of the Church, a memorial fund can be established in the name of the deceased. The survivor will be consulted before such monies are expended. If the survivor is no longer available, the Board may dispose of the fund.

Policies Regarding Financial Records of UUCSS

The Annual Audit Report, Treasurer’s Annual Report, Collector’s Annual Report, all Finance and Canvass Committee Reports, Cash Receipts and Disbursements Journals, Expense Account Ledgers (including Petty Cash), Collector’s books, and invoices, bills, and any correspondence relating to legal, architectural, construction and retirement expenses, shall be retained by the Treasurer for 4 years, then transferred to the archivist for the permanent records.

The Treasurer’s Monthly Reports, Collector’s Monthly Reports, checkbook stubs and bank deposit slips (including the Collector’s notes to the Treasurer), bank statements and canceled checks, and tax reports, forms and related correspondence shall be retained for 4 years, then thrown away.

Petty cash monthly statements and invoices, bills and correspondence billed other than monthly shall be retained for two years.

Monthly invoices and bills such as utilities shall be retained for one month after the Annual Audit.

Policies Regarding Restricted Funds

Disbursements of restricted funds shall be made upon approval of the designated fund custodian and the Church Treasurer. Designation of fund custodians shall be on the basis of position within the Church committee or administrative structure, as follows:

Restricted Fund Designated Custodian

Art Chair, Interior Design/Art
Bookshop/Library Director, RE
Building Furnishing Chair, Interior Design/Art
Building Maintenance Chair, Property
Conflict Resolution President, Board of Trustees
Friends in Action/SA Chair, Social Action
Good Times Fund Treasurer, Event Coordinator
Memorial Funds Chair, Commemorative; Family
Miller Room Carpet Chair, Interior Design/Art
Music Chair, Music
RE Special Project Director, RE
Security Deposits Office Administrator
UUSC Guest at Table Chair, Social Action
UUSC Earthquake Chair, Social Action
YRUU Director, RE

A restricted fund may be established only by approval of the Board of Trustees. The Board shall, at the same time, designate a fund custodian (by position) to oversee the fund.

A restricted fund may be dissolved upon Board approval provided that:

  1. The monies within that fund are fully expended for the designated purpose, or;
  2. The purpose for which the fund was established is no longer valid, and;
  3. No further contributions to the fund are anticipated by the custodian.

The balance in the fund, if any, shall be returned to the Budget fund upon dissolution of the restricted fund. The Treasurer shall continue to report the fund balance and financial activity until the end of the fiscal year in which the fund is dissolved.

Accountable Expense Reimbursement Policy

The accountable expense reimbursement policy of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Silver Spring pursuant to Department of the Treasury Regulations, Sections 1.162-17 and 1.274-5(e) shall be as follows:

The Minister and each employee whom the Board determines to be eligible for reimbursement of business expenses shall be reimbursed for any ordinary and necessary business expense incurred on behalf of the church, if the following conditions are satisfied:

  1. The expenses are reasonable in amount
  2. The individual documents the amount, time, and place, business purpose and business relationship of each such expense with the same kinds of documentary evidence as would be required to support a deduction of the expense on the individual’s federal income tax return; and
  3. The individual documents such expenses by providing the Church Treasurer with an accounting of such expenses, no less frequently than monthly. The above notwithstanding, such expense shall be reimbursed only to the extent that it does not exceed the amount for such individual that is included in the Church’s budget or other authorization by the Board of Trustees. In no event will an expense be reimbursed if substantiated more than 60 days after the expense is paid or incurred by the individual.

Reimbursements shall be paid out of Church funds from an expense account distinct from the salary accounts. Such expense reimbursements shall not reduce the salary payments to the individual.

Reimbursable business and professional expenses include local transportation, overnight travel (including lodging, meals and incidental expense), entertainment, books and subscriptions, education, vestments, professional dues, computer hardware and software, and long-distance telephone calls. Reimbursable business and professional expenses also include such other expenses as shall be approved in advance by the Board.

The Church shall not include in an individual’s W-2 form the amount of any business or professional expense properly substantiated and reimbursed according to this reimbursement policy, and the individual shall not report the amount of any such reimbursement as income on Form 1040.

Any Church reimbursement that exceeds the amount of business and professional expenses properly accounted for by an individual pursuant to this reimbursement policy must be returned to the church within 120 days after the earlier of the date the reimbursement is paid by the church or the date that the associated expenses are paid or incurred by the individual, and shall not be retained by the individual.

If, for any reason, the Church’s reimbursements are less than the amount of business and professional expenses properly substantiated by the individual, the Church will report no part of the reimbursements on the individual’s W-2, and the individual may deduct the un-reimbursed expenses to the extent allowed by law.

Under no circumstances will the Church reimburse an individual for business or professional expenses incurred on behalf of the Church that are not properly substantiated according to this policy. Church and staff understand that this requirement is necessary to prevent our reimbursement plan from being classified as a “non-accountable” plan.

All receipts and other documentary evidence used by an individual to substantiate the business nature and amount of his or her business and professional expenses incurred on behalf of the Church and reimbursed under this policy shall be retained by the Church.

If the total amount of expenses reimbursed to an individual for a year under this accountable plan is less than the maximum limitation or budgeted amount established for such reimbursements, the unspent funds will neither accrue to or be paid to the individual.

Endowment Fund:

Definition of Endowment Fund

The “Endowment Fund” (hereinafter called the “FUND”) is a separate Board-designated fund into which certain gifts and bequests are deposited.

Management of the FUND

Responsibility for the UUCSS endowment shall be a direct responsibility of the Board’s Finance committee.
Members of the Finance Committee shall not be liable for any losses which may be incurred upon investments of the assets of the FUND except to the extent such losses shall have been caused by bad faith or gross negligence.
All assets are to be held in the name of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Silver Spring.

Statement of Investment Policy

It shall be the investment policy of the FUND to invest its assets and to seek the maximum possible long-term total investment return (including investment income received and realized and unrealized appreciation and depreciation) that is consistent with a prudent level of long-term investment risk. Care will be taken to invest in a socially responsible manner.

To the extent feasible the FUND shall at all times be fully invested in equities.

The FUND’s investments shall be diversified by investment sector and issuer. Not more than 10 percent of FUND assets shall be invested in the securities of a single issuer. Nevertheless, any or all plan assets may be invested in one or more mutual funds, provided that the underlying investments of such mutual fund or funds satisfy this 10 percent requirement.

Investment expenses will be minimized to the extent possible consistent with the above objectives.

Except as otherwise provided herein, all assets shall be invested in one or more no-load (perhaps index) mutual funds selected by the Endowment Committee.

UUCSS may maintain a dedicated brokerage account for the purpose of receiving gifts and bequests of securities into the FUND and holding such securities until they are sold to be invested as outlined above. The Endowment Committee may direct that a minimum amount of assets be held in such account in such investments as the Committee determines in order to satisfy any minimum requirements to maintain such account or to reduce or eliminate fees under such account.

Whenever a gift or bequest of securities is received in the FUND, such securities shall be sold as soon as it is feasible to do so, unless the Endowment Committee determines that such sale is not in the best interests of the FUND.

FUND Revenue

Beginning August 1, 1998, all unrestricted bequests that are received by UUCSS shall be deposited in the FUND account when they are received.

The Endowment Committee shall be responsible for promoting planned giving and other methods of contributing to the FUND. Promotional activities may include publicity and education about the FUND program, and recognition of FUND contributors. The cost of these promotional activities may be paid from the FUND.

If an operating surplus occurs in the UUCSS budget for a given year, the Board of Trustees may opt to allocate all or part of the surplus funds to the FUND.

The Endowment Committee shall ordinarily accept any unrestricted gift or bequest to the FUND of cash or marketable securities. The Endowment Committee shall, in consultation with the Board, have the full authority to decline any gift or bequest and any restrictions a donor may wish to place on the management of a donated asset.

Expenditures from the FUND

During the first 60 days of each calendar year a transfer shall be made to the Church’s operating funds from the interest, dividends and principal of the FUND equal to four percent (4%) of the market value of the FUND as of December 31 of the preceding calendar year but not less than the amount of such transfer made during the preceding calendar year.

Except as provided above, in general, the principal of the FUND and its income designated for re-investment should be regarded as sacrosanct. Even in difficult budget years, these funds should not be invaded. However, in circumstances where the existence of UUCSS or the execution of its core programs are, in the judgment of the Board, significantly threatened, the following steps may be taken in the order listed:

  1. Appropriate all of the total investment return (including dividends, interest, and realized and unrealized appreciation and depreciation of the FUND during the preceding year) to the operating fund.
  2. Authorize a “loan” to UUCSS from the FUND principal. The terms of such loan, including interest rate and time frame for repayment, shall be set by the Board, with the advice of the Finance Committee at the time of the loan.
  3. Authorize the expenditure of the FUND principal without requiring repayment. In this case, an attempt should be made to limit the expenditure to no more than half of the FUND principal

Disposition of or transfer of FUND assets

In the event that UUCSS ceases to exist, disposition or transfer of the FUND shall be in conformity with the Constitution of the Church.

Bookstore Policies:

Purpose

The UUCSS Book & Chalice (B&C) provides religious books and supplies to the members, friends, and visitors of the UUCSS, is an interest center to promote community within the congregation, and earns income for UUCSS operations.

Management

The B&C shall be managed by a Management Committee of three members or friends of UUCSS appointed by the Finance Vice President.

Each member will serve a three-year term and may be reappointed to an unlimited number of terms. Terms will be staggered, with the initial Committee deciding who shall serve one year, two year, and three year initial terms.

A B&C Committee comprised of all interested UUCSS members or friends shall advise and support the Management Committee.

Should the work of the B&C require the hiring of paid staff, this shall be done by the UUCSS Board of Trustees based on the recommendations of the B&C Management Committee and the UUCSS Personnel Committee. Any B&C staff shall be paid from the B&C income.

Finances

The B&C shall maintain a rotating fund listed separately in the UUCSS accounts, which will be used for expenses and purchasing inventory.

The B&C shall be self-supporting

No sales tax is necessary on articles sold through a church for religious purposes.

Accounts will be reconciled and profits determined in the first month after the end of the fiscal year.

The UUCSS Board of Trustees shall determine the amount of the B&C’s contribution to the UUCSS operating budget each year.

The Chair of the Management Committee of the B&C will submit a written report quarterly to the Finance Committee on its sales, expenses, value of inventory, and any other financial information requested by the Finance Committee.

Stock

The B&C shall stock books, religious items, art and craft articles, and other materials, which promote the principles and purposes of the UUCSS and the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Consignment

Items stocked for sale under consignment shall be consistent with the B&C stock policy.

A contract shall be established with the person consigning the stock and shall provide that a minimum of 20 percent of the sale price remain with the B&C. The terms by which consignment stock may be sold at reduced price will be included in the consignment contract.

Donations

The B&C may receive donations of used books and articles, which conform to the B&C stock policy and are in good condition.

Policy Changes

The Management Committee shall submit any proposed B&C policy changes to the Finance Vice President for consideration by the Board of Trustees.

Emergency Expenditures

An emergency expenditure is an urgent, unforeseen and unusual liability which is incurred for an appropriate expense outside the regular budget process or which exceeds the approved budgeted amount and which must be satisfied in part or full before the next regular convening of the Board of Trustees.

The level of review needed for an emergency expenditure shall depend on the amount of money involved.

For expenditures less than, or equal to $500:

  • Approval must be obtained from the Finance VP as to the emergency nature of the request and the fiscal wisdom of the expenditure,
  • The Board President should be informed by phone,
  • The rest of the Board should be informed by email.

For expenditures greater than $500, but less than, or equal to $1,500:

  • Approval must be obtained from the Finance VP as to the emergency nature of the request and the fiscal wisdom of the expenditure,
  • Approval from the Board President must be obtained as to the emergency nature of the request,
  • The Board President may, at his/her discretion, choose to consult the rest of the Board by phone before agreeing,
  • The rest of the Board should be informed in advance by email.

For expenditures greater than $1,500, but less than, or equal to $3,000:

  • Approval must be obtained from the Finance VP as to the emergency nature of the request and the fiscal wisdom of the expenditure,
  • Approval from the Board President must be obtained as to the emergency nature of the request,
  • The Board President must consult the rest of the Board by phone before agreeing,
  • The Board should receive in advance the text of the proposed motion.

For expenditures greater than $3,000:

  • Approval must be obtained from the Finance VP as to the emergency nature of the request and the fiscal wisdom of the expenditure,
  • Approval from the Board President must be obtained as to the emergency nature of the request,
  • The Board President must summon an emergency Board meeting,
  • The Board must receive the text of the proposed motion in advance of the meeting.