Adopt Endowment Guidelines

Adopt new guidelines (or revise existing ones) for a congregational endowment fund.

If your congregation has no endowment fund or no guidelines for an existing fund, we suggest you create guidelines now. The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Office of the Treasurer has information to help you get organized to do this, including sample language to adopt in your governing by laws.

Having guidelines in place will help you deal with an unexpected bequest, and it will help to assure people that you will act responsibly in regard to estate gifts. This assurance will lead to more contributions. Invite people who are likely to contribute to the endowment to get involved in a review of its guidelines and/or the work of the planned giving committee.

The enabling document for your endowment fund should describe how the congregation would make decisions about investments, spending and re-investing earnings, and under what conditions the corpus may be invaded. You may want to develop gift acceptance guidelines, too.

An endowment fund can help to ensure your congregation's long-term financial security and extend your mission and outreach in the community. Some congregations set up several permanent funds, and give each a specific purpose, such as maintaining the building, funding a homeless shelter, and the classic "don't spend the principal" endowment fund.