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Suggested Fair Share Giving Guide

The Office of Congregational Stewardship Services has developed a new suggested fair-share giving guide (PDF). The new guide is an adaptation and expansion of a model used at the Henry David Thoreau Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Stafford, TX. The new guide replaces the 1997 version found in Fundraising with a Vision. As in the old guide, the financial commitment levels are still suggestions, but the new guide is different in several respects.

The new suggested fair-share giving guide reflects higher expectations. It suggests a minimum financial commitment of 2 percent of income for congregants earning up to $10,000. At the other end of the spectrum, the guide suggests a full tithe of 10 percent of income, regardless of a congregant’s income level.

There are four suggested fair share giving levels.

Supporter: The congregation is a significant part of your life and it promotes your spiritual growth. For example, if your income is $50,000, then your fair share financial commitment is $125 per month, $1,500 per year, representing 3 percent of your income.

Sustainer: The congregation is central to your identity, and you are committed to sustaining the programs and ministries of the church. Your fair-share financial commitment is $167 per month, $2,000 per year, representing 4 percent of your income.

Visionary: You are committed to both the present and future growth of the congregation. Your fair-share financial commitment is $208 per month, $2,500 per year, representing 5 percent of your income.

Full Tither: You designate 10 percent of your $50,000 income as a way of living out your spiritual principles. Your fair-share financial commitment is $417 per month, or $5,000 per year.

New Guide Usage

  • Use the suggested fair share giving guide for new congregants. If they have arrived from another faith tradition, they may be accustomed to a different fundraising style and a different set of financial expectations. If new congregants are “unchurched,” (not previously affiliated with any religious organization) they probably have no idea about the giving expectations of their new faith community, and the guide will serve as a tool to help determine their level of financial commitment.
  • Use the guide with long-time congregants who have made historically small financial commitments. Let the guide remind them that a significant financial commitment is one of the responsibilities of membership.

Just to be clear: We are not suggesting that we locate our income on the guide and dramatically increase our annual financial commitment during the next annual budget drive. We are suggesting that we make a commitment to move toward our suggested financial fair share. It might be a three-year process or even a five-year process for some of us, but we advocate moving toward a fair-share financial commitment in a steady, intentional way.

For more information contact congstewardship @

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Thursday, July 14, 2011.

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