Together We Thrive FAQs
What is the Annual Budget Drive?
It is our opportunity to participate in the important practices of stewardship and generosity, in order to provide a foundation for the Unitarian Church of Montpelier to exist in our community and to carry out our mission. During this time each year, we reach out to you, our loving community, to pledge a financial commitment for our next fiscal year, July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022. Pledges allow us to plan our budget, and are the foundation of compensating our staff, our programs, and maintaining our historic building.
The Unitarian Church of Montpelier is financially autonomous. We have no diocese or umbrella organization to support us.
We pledge to ensure that our Board, Executive Team, Minister, and Finance Committee will be able to plan confidently and responsibly for our Annual Budget. Our pledge totals are entered directly into the input side so we can plan for the output side – our beautiful facilities, amazing staff, and wonderful programs. We count on pledges for budgetary planning purposes. Pledgers are our foundation.
Who may pledge?
Members. Friends. Parents. Newcomers. Each one of us who is connected to the Unitarian Church of Montpelier is asked to make an annual financial commitment to support the livelihood of our community and the mission of our church.
In addition, pledges can be and are made throughout the year by new members and friends as they recognize the value they find here. To receive a pledge packet, please contact Church Administrator.
I’m not ready to become a member of the church; why am I being asked to make a pledge?
We are very grateful to have many non-members, friends, and supporters of our church who pledge financial support to our community. We call them Friends of UCM. We invite everyone who regularly participates in church activities to make a pledge to support the continuation of all church activities.
How much should I pledge?
We ask everyone to consider making a pledge to the church that is both responsible and significant, based on each person’s financial situation. For those who have not yet used the The Suggested Fair Share Contribution Guide, we ask you to consider the place of the church community in your life, and work toward a goal of giving for yourself that falls within these guidelines. If you haven’t looked at the guidelines, there are resources on how to interact with the Fair Share Guidelines.
We ask that everyone give until it feels good – we emphasize that this is not simply a donation to yet another charity, but a spiritual act of commitment, generosity, responsibility, gratitude, and reciprocity for all that this amazing community brings into your life. Our church is open year round, and all staff work year round.
Please consider your personal budget and choose an amount you can contribute to the church on a weekly or monthly basis. We believe that our standard of giving should reflect our standard of living, and that your commitment should demonstrate the importance of the church community in your spiritual and intellectual life, and what the church means to the community. For newer members and friends, please consider an amount that reflects a significant commitment to this place you have chosen as your spiritual home.
Where does my pledge go?
Our pledges are used to pay salaries for our wonderful staff, historic building maintenance, and seasonal costs such as heating, administrative costs, and the costs of our ministries, programming, and support for our committees and teams.
Our budget, developed by the Finance Committee based on submissions from church leaders, approved by the Board and then the full membership, details the inputs of pledge donations and outputs of amounts budgeted for each of these programmatic areas. There is a visual graphic showing the distribution of expenses according to our Mission in our brochure.
How can I change my current pledge?
If your financial circumstances change and you want or need to change your pledge – either up or down – simply contact Church Administrator to request a pledge packet.
A pledge is a promise, your commitment – it is not a contract – but letting us know of your intention if you need to change your pledge helps us to anticipate our cash-flow and manage our budget.
What are two ways I can pledge?
You can simply fill out the pre-stamped envelope found in your “Together We Thrive” packet which was recently mailed to you or simply click here to fill out the confidential pledge form online.
What if I have a hardship situation that prevents me from making a financial pledge?
If you cannot make a financial pledge due to hardship, and wish to remain an active member in the Unitarian Church of Montpelier, please take some time to discuss your situation with our Minister, Rev. Joan Javier-Duval. Our Lay Pastoral Ministry Team may also be available to support you through this time – Mary Jane Ohlson is our LPC Coordinator.
I have a limited income – what should I pledge?
Please know that you are always welcome at our church. If you’re out of work, have a modest income, or are facing demands on your resources, then please simply pledge what you think you can give to the church relatively regularly throughout the next year. Your pledge should still reflect the significance of your relationship with the church, at your financial level. Please use these The Suggested Fair Share Contribution Guide to help you gauge your level of engagement and pledge.
What about the time I contribute?
Your volunteer efforts are highly appreciated!
Our community runs on a combination of everyone’s time and monetary contributions. We still have to have some focused time each year (usually in March) where we ask for, discuss, and honor the monetary contributions that keep our facility, staff, and membership with the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) possible. This stewardship drive is the only time of the year when we talk significantly more about money than other things, because we need to make sure our financial house is in order, so that we can continue to do more with and for our members and the community.
We could not survive without the generous donations of our members’ and friends’ time and talents. If you are eager to know more about our volunteer opportunities, committees, and other areas where your energy is needed, please read our weekly announcements or talk to Rev. Joan or any committee leaders about the options open to you.
Can I designate what I want my money to go to?
Not specifically, in conjunction with the Budget Drive. If you are a member of the church, you have a voice – when considering the budget – in deciding how the overall church pledge income will be used. And if you get involved with the Board, Executive Team, or other committees, you’ll have even more contact with the development of our budget. However, it is not possible for us to earmark specific pledges to pay for specific things. That’s because it’s important that we stay aligned and unified in both fundraising and budget development, which is why the process is so collaborative, accounting for all of our church needs, according to our Mission.