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In a recent newsletter I wrote that I "would like to learn from others whose fiscal year is other than the calendar year. What are the benefits? What are the disadvantages? What do you recommend a congregation do to implement such a change?"
Click on A SUMMARY OF LETTERS to view the others responses.
Margie Back Wrote:
Stewardship and all that it involves and implies is very, very important to me. I thoroughly enjoy thinking and planning and working in this area. Also -- I appreciate very much the mailings from you.
This note today regarding changing the fiscal year calls for a response from me.
Our congregation did change the fiscal year maybe ten years or so ago, and kept it off the calendar year for two or three years. We were constantly disappointed in the ramifications of the change. We couldn't seem to feel coordinated, financially. It gave people the idea that we wanted them to make a commitment to a budget, which was already determined. Even the leaders who had so hoped it would be a wonderfully new and creative way to do church finances, simply were not happy about how it played out.
The writer in your memo speaks of year-end gifts. In the past few years, our year-end gifts have been few -- but usually directed to some specific designated need, or in a couple cases the giver was actually completing a pledge that had slipped. We still urge year-end gifts, and welcome them. But we really don't want to have that be in place of a solid sense of stewardship. We work year-round (quarterly letters, newsletter items and quotes, and frequent bulletin inserts with personal stewardship messages from members as well as carefully prepared stewardship messages) to encourage Biblically-based proportionate, grateful giving. We have used as our theme: Giving Is What Christians Do, and we use this all year in various ways (even have pew pencils with that message).
We believe that we are gaining on our goal. Giving is growing; three years ago over 50% of the congregation increased their pledges, and the next year 50% of those increased again. We believe our message is being heard.
Just our view. Blessings to you in this super ministry.
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