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 (as well as time and talent) are a form of relationship, not just another financial transaction. As part of the communication and paperwork that is described below, you'll also want to communicate the following in the tone of your communications:
- The congregation is grateful for all of the gifts from its members and friends
- Communications about the status of pledges are appreciated by those who have made a financial promise
- A pledge is a form of consent
Record-Keeping of Financial Contributions
- The congregation should keep a record of all pledge amounts from members and friends, (and the effectivity dates if the congregation has a rolling or year-round canvass).
- The congregation should keep a record of contributions from each person or self-identified family unit who makes an identifiable contribution, whether or not they have pledged. The leaders may also find it helpful to track the mode of giving (check, electronic transfer, text-to-give) for future decision-making.
- If the church financial year is different than the calendar or tax year, records should be clear about what contributions fall within which year.
- Congregations should send out statements, with a tone of gratitude, to everyone who has made a pledge at the end of each quarter.
- Sending a helpful year-end reminder 2-3 weeks before the end of the tax year with a self-addresses envelope is a practice that some congregations have found fruitful.
- Sending a prompt annual statement for tax purposes before the end of January will be appreciated. You could also include naming one or two ways in which the congregation made a difference in people's lives that year. A hand-written note from the minister and/or president (tucked in the envelope with the statement) would be ideal.