Pledging & Giving FAQ
WHAT IS A PLEDGE?
Pledges are the financial gifts that members and friends commit to giving over the course of a year.
WHY DOES USSB ASK MEMBERS AND FRIENDS TO MAKE PLEDGES?
USSB is completely self-supporting when it comes to our finances. The financial health and future of our congregation is determined by the generosity of our members and friends. Almost 50% of all USSB expenses are paid by the continuing pledges of our members and friends.
WHAT IS A CONTINUOUS PLEDGE?
We encourage members and friends who care about the ongoing health of USSB to make financial support for USSB a regular, ongoing activity, with no expiration date. Our expenses, which include the salaries we pay our ministers and staff, our building maintenance, and our program costs, are ongoing, too! Having a continuous pledge helps us keep things running smoothly and efficiently.
WHAT IF I NEED TO Change or stop MY PLEDGE?
We know your circumstances might change, and your pledge can be changed at any time. If you have a financial hardship or if you leave USSB, just contact us (Erin Wilson, USSB’s Director of Administration, at firstname.lastname@example.org) to reduce or end your pledge. And if you get a salary increase or win the lottery, you can email Erin and increase your pledge! All pledging and contributing members and friends of USSB will be contacted once each year to review their continuing pledge.
WHAT’S A STEWARDSHIP CIRCLE?
Because USSB has moved to ongoing pledges rather than a once-a-year renewal, all of our pledging members and friends are now divided into 12 groups, one for each month of the year. These groups are called Stewardship Circles. During your assigned stewardship month, you and the other members of your Stewardship Circle will receive printed information about USSB’s activities and finances and will be contacted by your Stewardship Circle Leader, to ask you to review your pledge and make plans for the next year. You may also hear updates about USSB stewardship from time to time.
WHY DID USSB MOVE TO Stewardship circles for PLEDGING?
We hope this new system of pledging will make generosity and stewardship a normal and customary activity at USSB, rather than a big, once-a-year affair. It will also spread out the staff and volunteer time needed to support stewardship in a congregation our size. And as an extra benefit, since we no longer conduct a massive pledge campaign in the spring, it will free up that time on our calendar and in worship services! We have been in contact with several other large UU congregations who have adopted this style of stewardship.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I PLEDGE?
That’s a question only you can answer, but we encourage you to think about what USSB means to you and to the wider Santa Barbara community, and then review the Fair Share Generosity Guide to help you decide. We’re encouraging everyone to consider giving 5% of their monthly income, if possible. When congregations are supported at this level, they have the financial foundation to meet their responsibilities for fair compensation for their staff and ministers, to maintain safe, accessible and attractive facilities, and to be responsive to the needs of their community through vibrant worship, high-quality programs, and inspiring justice and outreach work.
I made a PLEDGE IN THE SPRING, AND now I’M BEING ASKED TO PLEDGE AGAIN during my stewardship month! DO I HAVE TO CHANGE MY PLEDGE NOW?
If you are already pledging to USSB, thank you! You can adjust your pledge now or keep it as it is – the choice is yours. Just indicate the monthly amount of your new pledge on the online or printed pledge form. If you’d like to change your pledge now but wait until January (or some other month) to start paying the new amount, you can indicate that on the form as well. If you choose to use a printed form, please deliver it to Erin Wilson in the USSB Office.
I MADE A PLEDGE FOR THE 2016-17 FISCAL YEAR (ENDING JUNE 30, 2017), BUT MY STEWARDSHIP CIRCLE LETTER TELLS ME I WON’T BE CONTACTED UNTIL Much LATER IN 2017-18. WHAT HAPPENS TO MY PLEDGE AFTER JUNE 30 OF THIS YEAR?
Because we ask everyone to make a continuing pledge of support to USSB, we anticipate the pledge amount you selected for the current fiscal year will continue into 2017, 2018, and beyond – unless you tell us otherwise. You can always adjust your pledge by contacting Erin Wilson, USSB’s Director of Administration, at email@example.com or by completing a new online or printed pledge form.
OOPS, MY STEWARDSHIP CIRCLE MONTH JUST PASSED AND I DIDN’T COMPLETE a PLEDGE FORM – WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
If we do not hear from you, we anticipate the pledge amount you have been giving in the prior year will continue into the coming year. If we have not received a new pledge form from you by the end of your Stewardship Circle month, we’ll send you correspondence that confirms your current monthly pledge amount will continue.
THE PLEDGE FORM ASKS FOR A MONTHLY AMOUNT. I would prefer a different schedule – DO I HAVE TO PAY MONTHLY?
You can fulfill your pledge in any increment you want: weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually. Just check the payment frequency box on the pledge form that works best for you. We encourage everyone to pledge on a monthly basis because we have found that it is the easiest for most people, and it helps us smooth out our finances over the course of the year. But it is up to you how you want to give. We are grateful for your gifts whenever they arrive!
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO MAKE PAYMENTS ON MY PLEDGE?
We encourage everyone to set up an automatic payment plan – this makes it easy for you and reduces transaction fees for us! Automatic payments using your checking account can be set up online through USSB’s secure website (click here). You can also log into your financial institution’s website and set up your USSB pledge payments as an automatic bill payment. Or you can contact Erin Wilson, USSB’s Director of Administration at firstname.lastname@example.org and she’ll help you set it up. The choice is yours.
CAN I PAY USING CHECKS?
Yes! But we encourage you to consider setting up an automatic payment plan through your checking account instead (see above). This means you won’t have to remember to write a check each time.
CAN I PAY USING MY CREDIT CARD OR DEBIT CARD?
Sure, automatic payment plans or single payments using your favorite credit or debit card are possible. However, USSB incurs service charges when you choose this option. Please consider adding 3% to cover these fees, if you decide to use your credit or debit card to make pledge payments.
CAN I DONATE STOCK?
Yes, electronic transfers of stock are welcome. You’ll need to complete a transfer form – contact Erin Wilson, USSB’s Director of Administration at email@example.com to make this happen.
CAN I USE a DONOR ADVISED FUND OR SOMETHING ELSE MY FINANCIAL ADVISER TOLD ME ABOUT TO MAKE CONTRIBUTIONS?
Alternate funding sources may be used. Contact Erin Wilson, USSB’s Director of Administration at firstname.lastname@example.org to consider these options.
I ALREADY HAVE AN AUTOMATIC PAYMENT PLAN IN PLACE. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
When it’s your Stewardship Circle Month and you wish to adjust your pledge, you will need to either (1) log on to our online merchant account to update your automatic pledge amount, or (2) complete your printed pledge form and check “Please have USSB initiate this process”, or (3) contact your financial institution (if you set up your payments as automatic bill pay) to make sure your payments are the amount and frequency you want them to be. If you initially specified an end date for your payments, either extend the date or delete this option so your payments will continue until you decide to change them.
I’VE ALREADY PAID MY ENTIRE PLEDGE FOR this year. WHAT SHOULD I DO to set up a new pledge?
First of all, thank you! Please complete an online or printed pledge form (deliver it to Erin Wilson in the USSB office) and indicate the month and year you would like to start your new USSB pledge payments.
Thank you! your generosity brings this community to life!