Establishing, Supporting, and Managing Your Congregational Endowment Fund
General Assembly 2000 Event 237
Presenters: Jerry King, Wayne B.
Jerry King and Dr. Wayne B. Clark led an inquisitive and responsive group through practical exploration of creating and nurturing a congregational endowment fund and its committee.
For one thing, congregational endowment committees need to be kept active. The temptation can be to establish an endowment and then let it go. An inactive endowment discourages generous giving, and puts it out of the congregation's mind.
Clark offered several points of practical advice. An endowment fund, for instance, should not ordinarily be used to support a congregation's operating budget (though he did offer the example of a congregation in an exceptional circumstance that set limits for using their endowment to meet payroll, and then repaid the amount spent to the endowment.) Better uses would include a scholarship fund, social justice work, or special projects for the congregation.
By question and response, Clark and the audience members also volunteered advice. For example, and endowment committee may obtain an attractive remembrance and gifts book, and make sure that it is publicly and prominently displayed. Also, once a number of persons are known to have made a bequest to the church, the endowment society may create a bequest society. This society would encourage further giving, and their members' own giving may be celebrated at a special event (like a brunch) that is well publicized. Publicity generates interest in the society that in turn creates interest in giving. Among the best forms of publicity is one-on-one visiting and asking to build something for the future. The best person to ask is the one who has already made the commitment to give generously.
Dr. Wayne B. Clark is Director of Congregational Fundraising Services of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Jerry King is a member of First Unitarian Church, Toledo, OH.
Reported by Scott Wells.