Stewardship 101

Our annual pledge campaign will take place in February.  You will be asked to think about what this Society means to you and how much you plan to give in monetary support next year.  In order to demystify stewardship and the pledging process, here are some Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for those of you who haven't been with us long, and for those of you who have been wondering about it for a while:

Where does the money to run the USNF come from?

The funds we have available to expand and enhance our activities and to pay our staff come from all of us via congregational pledges, and also from withdrawals from our endowment, fund-raising and various small grants.  We do not get support from any central office, but actually send 6.75% of our annual budget (about $22,000) to our national and regional Unitarian Universalist associations.  Most of our money is spent on salaries and our building, and the rest on other program costs.   We spend roughly $1,500 for every adult member/friend in the congregation.

What is a pledge?

A pledge is a commitment to pay a certain amount over the course of a fiscal year in support of this congregation’s programs and ministry.  In February of 2023, for example, we will be asking members and friends to tell us how much they will give, through monetary donations, between September 1, 2023 and August 31, 2024.

When do I make a pledge?

The pledge campaign kicks off on Sunday, February 5.  We will contact members and friends by mail, email, or telephone in the following weeks.

Why do we need to know your pledge so far in advance?

We need to plan for the coming year.  We establish our budget based on what has been committed, and we need a budget so that we know what we can pay our staff, what resources we can buy for religious education, what other kinds of programs we can offer.  The proposed budget is brought to the members of the congregation for approval at the annual meeting in May.

Who should make a pledge commitment?

Everyone who is part of this community.  If you are a member; if you are involved in any of our many programs; if you attend regularly; if your children are in the Religious Education program, you should try to discern what this congregation means to you and let us know at what level you will contribute.

How much should I give?

This depends on your circumstances.  Family situations vary widely.  A good first approximation might be 2% to 5% of your family income.  Another way is to pledge at least one hour of your income per week, which is equal to 2.5%.  Some give more than that, as they are able.  Others, particularly those with smaller incomes and fewer resources, give less.  Every gift is valued and welcome.  We hope you will feel comfortable giving what you can and that you will seriously and joyfully consider what the Society means to you and your family as you make your commitment.  For some assistance in deciding your share, go to the Pledge Guide.

How do I tell you what my pledge is?

Pledge forms will be available after the Service on February 6.  You can download the pledge form here.  You can also let us know by simply emailing the Treasurer at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and letting him know the amount of your pledge, or use our online pledge form at the Submitting Your Pledge page.   

So far you've been talking about next year.  What if I'm new to the Society and haven't yet pledged for this current year?

There is a place on the pledge form for a pledge for this year.  Or you may simply email the Treasurer.

When and how should I pay my pledge?

You may pay at any time; just make certain that your check identifies the correct fiscal year in the memo line.  The fiscal year runs from September 1 to August 31. You may put your checks into the collection plate on Sundays (mail them to the Society office during the pandemic). You can also arrange for automatic withdrawals.

How can I find out my pledge balance?

Reminders are mailed quarterly, but you can call the office or email the treasurer at any time for an up-to-date amount or to resolve any issues.

What if I cannot fulfill my commitment because circumstances have changed?

Life happens.  Do not hesitate to contact the Treasurer and we will change the amount of your pledge.  You may increase your pledge, as well, if good fortune smiles on you.

Giving and Saving Taxes

You may save taxes if you itemize deductions, are taking Required Minimum Distributions from your IRAs, or could pledge by donating appreciated stock. For more information, see Donations to the Unitarian Society, Some Tax Considerations to Keep in Mind.

Pledging with a Gift of Stock or other Securities

Some members transfer stock to the Unitarian Society to fulfill their pledges, helping balance their portfolio and avoiding capital gains tax. Contact Dave Nelson, Treasurer, for instructions to transfer securities to USNF.

Bequests to our Legacy Fund

You may be in a position to make a lasting gift with a bequest to our Legacy Fund.  See How to Make a Legacy Gift to the Unitarian Society.

Any other questions?

Contact the Stewardship chair, Jon Sass or our Treasurer, Dave Nelson.