First Unitarian relies on donations. We are very grateful to members and friends for their gifts to our community. The generous support we receive maintains our treasured institution where we live into our mission to Build a Better World. We know that our community Changes Lives and can change the world.
Annual Pledge Drive
Members of Unitarian congregations are asked to support their congregation with a pledged donation each year. At First, our Pledge Drive is in the fall. (Read about this year's campaign, and about our special 3-year Momentum Campaign). We ask members and friends to indicate (to “pledge”) an amount they are committed to giving over the course of the coming year. This stated financial commitment from each member, paid periodically, allows us to plan staffing and programs knowing there will be sufficient funds. The amount is up to you. Unitarian Universalist congregations generally endorse 3% of annual pre-tax household income as a benchmark pledge level for those who are able. We invite you to make a decision that fits your circumstances and your values.
Payments can be made by cheque, cash, or automated deposit from your bank account (this last method is most preferred due to its reliability and regularity.)
We know circumstances can change and pledges can't always be fulfilled. We understand and ask that you simply advise the congregation’s Bookkeeper if you must make a change to your pledge so we can adjust our cash flow expectations accordingly.
The Annual Pledge Drive to fill the 2017 Operating Fund has already begun, and will run from October 2 to November 6. This year, our themes are Sustainability and Momentum, and we are asking members and friends to:
- Sustain the value of your existing Operating pledges by adding 2.5% to the amount to keep pace with inflation;
- Continue to pay into your existing 3-year Momentum pledge;
- Use the easy, confidential, online pledging form;
- If required, add or update your banking information by contacting our bookkeeper Marsha Michael.
To sustain both our Operating and Momentum Funds, we are also aiming to bring many new friends and members into the pledging process. Every year we lose some pledges due to natural life circumstances. At the same time, we welcome new members and friends into our community. If you have not pledged previously, you can learn more about this important act of generosity and commitment. Team Generosity loves to talk about this part of our fellowship! Please contact us anytime.
Pledging can be paperless, saving hundreds of dollars previously spent on stationary and postage and many hours of volunteer and staff time. Via email members and friends receive a link to an online pledging form where they can enter pledge information quickly and confidentially. That form has basic encryption to protect private information, and we don’t ask for bank account or credit card numbers online. Responses are added to our membership database and enable Team Generosity to monitor pledge drive results.
Not sure how much to pledge? Please consider these points of reference when making a decision that fits your circumstances and your values. We respect your privacy in this process - individual pledge amounts are treated as confidential and access is limited to only those who need to know. One-time donations are received with gratitude at any time and can be made by contributing a cheque or cash in an identified envelope during Sunday services or at the church office, or by donating online via Canada Helps.
Learn more about how we manage our money.
Deciding How Much to Pledge
Thank you for thinking about an annual pledge to First. Pledging tells our staff and elected leaders what resources they will have available for programs and services during the year. We invite you to make a decision that suits your circumstances and your values. As points of reference, we suggest you consider First’s annual operating budget and the recommended Unitarian Universalist practice: many UU congregations recommend 3% of pre-tax annual household income as a meaningful personal commitment.
First is a completely self-funded community with an annual operating budget of approximately $500,000:
First’s operating budget supports our mission to Seek Freely, Connect Authentically, and Serve Passionately.
The following pie chart represents our spending from an outcomes perspective. Each slice of the pie includes the direct costs of the outcomes and services listed, plus a share of the indirect costs of our overall infrastructure (i.e. staff, insurance, equipment, etc.) All of our outcomes are also greatly enriched by the many uncharted hours of effort and talent provided by volunteers:
Pause your mouse pointer over sections of this chart to see what that spending pays for,
or click on the chart to learn more:
Pledging as a Percentage of Income
The following chart provides a range of possible pledge levels based on different incomes and different choices about portion of income dedicated to the congregation. Many Unitarian Universalist congregations recommend 3% of pre-tax household income as a meaningful benchmark for many congregants:
One Time Donations
A one-time donation may be made conveniently through Canada Helps.
Other Ways of Giving
Planned Giving is a way to express your support for First after you are gone. Read more about how to make your wishes known and select the most suitable way for you to plan this type of gift.
First also welcomes donations of publicly traded securities. Such gifts can be not only a great benefit for First, but may also offer a welcome tax break for the donor. Giving stock directly to First may be more prudent than selling the stock and then giving the cash to First. Here’s why:
- Say that 10 years ago you bought shares in a corporation for $15,000. Now that stock has a market value of $20,000 and now you want to give $20,000 to First. If you sold the stock, you would have to pay taxes on the capital gain of $5000 ($20,000 [the sale price]) minus $15,000 [the price you paid]). That might be as much as $1,000 or more. Thus after taxes you would have less than $20,000; say, $19,000 to give to First. On your taxes you would claim that $19,000 on your taxes as a donation.
- Now let’s say you didn’t sell the stock but instead gave it to First. In that case you would not have to pay the capital gains tax. First would receive the full $20,000 in stock you would claim a donation of $20,000 on your taxes. Please contact your financial advisor to confirm the best arrangements for you.
- You may also choose to give some, but not all shares. In this example, you might decide to give $10,000 in stock and keep the rest. Remember that you get a tax advantage only if there is a capital gain. If the shares have lost value, it is probably more advantageous to you sell the shares, take a capital loss, and donate the cash. A gift of mutual funds might also be exempt from a capital gains tax. Again, please confirm the best course of action with your financial advisor.