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  • Employee or Independent Contractor?

    Each individual you compensate is either an employee or an independent contractor. This is a critical legal distinction, with implications for benefits, taxes, and more.
    By Jan Gartner | 8/13/2019
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  • Showing Films in Congregations

    Planning to Show a Film? You are legally and ethically required to follow public performance laws.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 8/13/2019
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  • Sharing Photos or Video with the UUA

    Your UUA staff loves to use photos from our congregations on the UUA website! Here's how:
    By UUA Information Technology Service Staff Group: Web Team | 8/13/2019
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  • Sample Photo and Video Permission Form

    Congregations and other Unitarian Universalist (UU) organizations should adopt a permissions policy for photos and video. Here is a sample.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 8/13/2019
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  • When Thinking About Fundraising, Think "Pockets"

    Giving to the annual operating fund is the “monthly expenses” pocket, giving to the capital campaign is the “home renovations” pocket. What other pockets of giving do we see in congregations?
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 8/13/2019
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  • Staffing and Interdependence: When a Staff Member Changes Congregations

    When a staff member changes congregations, these values and suggestions can help uphold sound processes and healthy relationships.
    By Jan Gartner, Jonipher Kūpono Kwong, UUA Ministries and Faith Development: Office of Church Staff Finances, UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 8/4/2019
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  • Assess Your Hospitality Using Secret Seekers

    Almost all of our visitors come hoping that they will find their spiritual home. They have not just wandered off the street and into our sanctuaries, they have done their homework: They know what Unitarian Universalism claims to be, and are now seeing if a particular...
    By Pacific Western Region of the UUA | 8/2/2019
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  • Money Matters Resources

    Consulting, Publications and Connects for Congregational Finance staff and leaders.
    7/29/2019
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  • Endowment Funds

    Endowments need special handling to ensure transparency, accountability and impact.
    7/29/2019
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  • Embezzlement

    Embezzlement from congregations is not unusual, and it almost always occurs when one individual has been granted such a high degree of trust with no safeguards.
    By Kim Sweeney | 7/29/2019
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  • Audits

    Rarely can congregations pay for a full-blown audit of the church books by a CPA. An alternative is a management review of the congregation’s cash management procedures, which can be done by any other accountant or experienced church bookkeeper.
    7/29/2019
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  • Tax Exempt Status

    UU Congregations are churches, and exempt under U.S. Tax Law. There may be advantages to seeking 501(c)(3) such as sales tax exemption.
    By UUA Ministries and Faith Development: Office of Church Staff Finances | 7/29/2019
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  • Financial Reports

    Financial reports help the finance committee and the board assess the financial health of the congregation so they can make adjustments or decisions as needed.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 7/26/2019
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  • Cash Reserves

    A congregations’ income ebbs and flows, so it is a good idea to have some cash reserves that can help keep the bills paid in the summer when attendance and pledge payments fall off.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 7/26/2019
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  • Operating Budget

    Your operating budget helps your congregation live its mission in the world. How you allocate your resources reflects your values and goals.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 7/26/2019
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  • Restricted Accounts

    A portion of the money in the church’s checking accounts may represent money that is held for specific restricted purposes, including various religious education accounts, social action accounts, the minister’s discretionary fund, etc.
    7/26/2019
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  • Payroll

    Once the salary and benefits are set by the appropriate church leadership based on recommended practices, it’s important to make sure the payroll is handled accurately and confidentially.
    By UUA Ministries and Faith Development: Office of Church Staff Finances | 7/26/2019
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  • Rental Income

    There are nuanced tax rules regarding income derived from renting your building and/or parking lot, depending on its relation to your core purpose.
    By UUA Ministries and Faith Development: Office of Church Staff Finances | 7/25/2019
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  • Gifts and Gratitude: Reporting Contributions and Record Keeping

    When it comes to tracking financial gifts from members in the form of pledge payments and other donations, it's important to remember that the gifts of money are a form of relationship, not just another financial transaction.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 7/25/2019
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  • Electronic Giving

    If dropping a check or cash into the basket is the only way your congregation invites financial gifts, many in your pews can’t participate in the offering even if they feel called to do so.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 7/25/2019
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  • Avoiding Scams

    Because relationship, compassion and trust are all qualities that congregations are trying to cultivate, church members and staff can fall prey to bad actors and con artists.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 7/25/2019
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  • Staff Credit Cards

    Many congregations supply a credit card to more easily segregate work-related expenses. Staff members would only use the card for professional or church expenses.
    By UUA Ministries and Faith Development: Office of Church Staff Finances | 7/25/2019
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  • Expense Reimbursements

    Employees and volunteers should be reimbursed for approved church related expenses upon submission of receipts and accurate expense reports that conform to the annual budget and IRS requirements.
    By UUA Ministries and Faith Development: Office of Church Staff Finances | 7/25/2019
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  • Professional Expense Allowances

    US tax law provides that staff may consider certain items as usual business expenses that are reimbursed beyond the compensation paid to individuals as a necessary expense that is not reported for income tax purposes.
    By UUA Ministries and Faith Development: Office of Church Staff Finances | 7/25/2019
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  • Paying Bills (Disbursements)

    When making sure that your bills are being paid efficiently, accurately and on time, your congregation also needs safeguards to make sure no one has the opportunity to use your system to embezzle funds.
    By UUA Ministries and Faith Development: Office of Church Staff Finances | 7/25/2019
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  • Church Financial Management Software Safeguards

    In setting up church financial management software, it’s important to provide safeguards to prevent tampering with the electronic records
    By UUA Ministries and Faith Development: Office of Church Staff Finances | 7/25/2019
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  • Segregation of Financial Duties

    All financial best practices depend on reducing the risk of embezzlement or theft by increasing transparency and detection by creating systems and roles that segregate key duties.
    By UUA Ministries and Faith Development: Office of Church Staff Finances | 7/24/2019
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  • Handling Petty Cash

    Any petty cash kept in the building should be in a locked file cabinet or safe and should be disbursed only upon submission of a written request.
    By UUA Ministries and Faith Development: Office of Church Staff Finances | 7/24/2019
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  • Securing the Sunday Offering

    The Sunday offering is fairly vulnerable to theft or embezzlement unless good checks and balances are in place.
    By UUA Ministries and Faith Development: Office of Church Staff Finances | 7/24/2019
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  • Congregational Financial Health

    Having a healthy culture around money will help a congregation have less anxiety and more open communication around money.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 7/24/2019
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  • Experiencing Conflict? Start with Covenant

    Living in a committed, covenantal community is a great way to avoid destructive conflict.
    By Kathy McGowan | 6/14/2019
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  • Developing a Behavioral Covenant

    Does your congregation suffer from constant, divisive conflict? Is your congregation looking to develop its first covenant to help members with healthier behavior? Here is a quick guide:
    By Connie Goodbread | 6/13/2019
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  • Watch Out for Triangulation!

    Avoiding triangulation will not eliminate conflict in a congregation but it will help keep it in the constructive and creative zone.
    By Kathy McGowan | 6/11/2019
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  • Systems Theory: The Basics

    Systems theory is extremely helpful in understanding how people work in groups and why change is sometimes so difficult.
    By Sarah Movius Schurr | 5/10/2019
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  • Phishing: Don't Take the Bait!

    Hackers are getting more sophisticated every day. The best defense is to encourage your employees, volunteers and congregation members to pause and look for warning signs before responding to any unsolicited email.
    By UUA Information Technology Service Staff Group | 5/10/2019
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  • Five Types of Growth

    ...
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 5/8/2019
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  • Driving on Ice: A System in Times of Crisis

    What can the congregation do in a crisis to avoid a crash during conflict? The solution mostly falls to the work of the driver of the car or the congregational leaders.
    By Sarah Movius Schurr | 5/8/2019
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  • The Unity Consulting Approach to Congregational Governance

    Unity offers deep questions and commitments for governance within a progressive religious, covenantal context: Whose Are We? What Do We Value? What Are Our Commitments?
    By Laura Park | 5/2/2019
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  • A Comprehensive Guide to Congregational Covenants

    Covenant is the silk that joins Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations, communities, and individuals together in a web of interconnection. The practice of promising to walk together is the precious core of our creedless faith.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/23/2019
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  • Governance in Small Congregations

    Small congregations need a governance system that is "right sized" for the unique needs and challenges generated by their size. ...
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/22/2019
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  • Ends and Means in Carter Policy Governance

    Nurturing the relationship between a congregation and its governing body.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/22/2019
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  • Carver Policy Governance in a Nutshell

    Leadership is an important, yet elusive concept. It takes on different forms in different settings. The intent of Policy Governance® is to give operational definition to "leadership" as it applies in the specific context of a governing Board. It addresses the questions: "How can...
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/22/2019
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  • Thinking About Congregational Procedures

    Procedures should have the flexibility to change as the organization changes size, staff, technologies and other situational factors.
    By Kathy McGowan, UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/19/2019
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  • Initial Adoption of Bylaws

    If you are proposing bylaws for a new congregation, you may wish to include a provision dealing with their initial adoption.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/18/2019
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  • Dissolution Clause for Bylaws

    The Bylaws of the UUA require that to be affiliated with the UUA all congregations must have a dissolution clause in their bylaws.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/18/2019
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  • Dismissal of a Minister in Bylaws

    Congregations should include bylaws provisions that enable the congregation to terminate the covenantal relationship when the trust and confidence in the minister has been compromised or eroded.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/18/2019
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  • Calling a Minister in Bylaws

    Very few things that a congregation does affect it as greatly, or are as important, as the choice of a minister. Wonderful ministerial-congregational matches provide new life and purpose to an institution and help lead both parties well into the future. Therefore, congregations...
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/18/2019
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  • Congregational Meetings for Bylaws

    A decision by vote in a congregational meeting is the highest expression of the congregation's authority. UU congregations generally reserve only major decisions for the membershipas a whole
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/12/2019
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  • Removal from Membership in Bylaws

    Bylaws should include two different provisions for removing people from membership. One is for people who have drifted away. The other is for removing a member for cause.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/11/2019
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  • Categories of Membership in Bylaws

    Some congregations want more flexibility in how they approach membership. For the purpose of the bylaws, it's important to clarify who has voting rights.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/11/2019
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