Online Ward Missionary contributions to specific Missionarie

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kurjens
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Online Ward Missionary contributions to specific Missionarie

Postby kurjens » Mon Aug 10, 2015 10:04 am

I like the ease of the new online donations, However I am wondering what happens to the Ward Missionary funds and have questions on how Ward Missionary funds are used.

If I send money to my nephew on a mission using the online system to help my sister fund his mission, will my nephew and sister know that I have contributed and that they can pay less to offset my contribution?

Likewise, if I contribute money to specific missionaries in my ward, will they ever know I contributed and will the donation directly help the missionaries family by allowing them to pay less money? Not that it matters in the grand scheme of things, but It would be a way to let the missionary know that I am proud of them and want to help support their mission costs?

Also, if there's a family in the Ward (or another Ward) that is struggling financially, is there a way for me to contribute specifically some towards their specific son or daughters mission anonymously, so they can pay less?

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aebrown
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Re: Online Ward Missionary contributions to specific Missionarie

Postby aebrown » Mon Aug 10, 2015 10:17 am

kurjens wrote:If I send money to my nephew on a mission using the online system to help my sister fund his mission, will my nephew and sister know that I have contributed and that they can pay less to offset my contribution?

No. They have no way to see the donations made by anyone else.

kurjens wrote:Likewise, if I contribute money to specific missionaries in my ward, will they ever know I contributed and will the donation directly help the missionaries family by allowing them to pay less money? Not that it matters in the grand scheme of things, but It would be a way to let the missionary know that I am proud of them and want to help support their mission costs?

Again, the answer is no.

kurjens wrote:Also, if there's a family in the Ward (or another Ward) that is struggling financially, is there a way for me to contribute specifically some towards their specific son or daughters mission anonymously, so they can pay less?

Although the clerk can see the donations, the supported missionary or the family cannot see the donations, so by default, all donations are anonymous from the perspective of the supported missionary or his/her family.

All the above answers depend, of course, on how the clerk under the direction of the bishop handles the confidentiality of missionary donations. The clerk is capable of generating a report of the detailed donations credited to a particular missionary; that report shows exactly who donated how much on which dates. He should never give that directly to the family of the missionary (unless that family were the only donors), because that would violate privacy rules. But I would see nothing wrong with a clerk reporting to the family the current balance. That would allow the family to know how to adjust their contributions up or down as needed.

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Re: Online Ward Missionary contributions to specific Missionarie

Postby russellhltn » Mon Aug 10, 2015 11:01 am

kurjens wrote:will my nephew and sister know that I have contributed and that they can pay less to offset my contribution?

As aebrown points out, the answer is "only if the clerk tells them". That applies to both parts of the question. So you're dependent on the clerk telling the family to adjust their donation.

There is a possibility that due to lack of communication, the missionary will end up with a surplus in their account (perhaps because of other donors) and the excess will be used to help finance another missionary. I don't believe there's any way for a potential donor to see the balance of a particular missionary. So the possibility of a surplus is there.
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Re: Online Ward Missionary contributions to specific Missionarie

Postby jonesrk » Mon Aug 10, 2015 11:27 am

kurjens wrote:Also, if there's a family in the Ward (or another Ward) that is struggling financially, is there a way for me to contribute specifically some towards their specific son or daughters mission anonymously, so they can pay less?

The best way to do it anonymously would be to work with the bishop or ward clerk and they can let the family know that someone is contributing.
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johnshaw
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Re: Online Ward Missionary contributions to specific Missionarie

Postby johnshaw » Mon Aug 10, 2015 12:46 pm

Bishops and Clerks, however, do not have much direction in this area, I see this as potentially having an issue where a family in need might not get the correct help because of lack of communication.
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gregwanderson
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Re: Online Ward Missionary contributions to specific Missionarie

Postby gregwanderson » Mon Aug 10, 2015 2:02 pm

The other comments are correct. Let me just add that, too often, clerks don't watch the Ward Missionary account closely enough. The other charitable donation categories like Tithing and Fast Offering are pretty-much maintenance-free. You never have to worry about how much comes in or goes out (yes, even with Fast Offering expenses). But the Ward Missionary account is different. At the end of a mission there can be a deficit or surplus to clean up.

If you intend that your donations for support of a missionary are handled a certain way then, yes, please talk to the ward clerk and/or Bishop of that ward about it. When I used to consistently input a $300 donation from a family and a $100 donation from a grandparent each month then I assumed that all parties knew what the others were doing. But I really didn't know. In that case, the donations were regular and there was no need for me to address any problems with deficits or surpluses. But it might have been nice to know, for certain, who did and didn't want their support to be anonymous, just so I didn't slip and violate anyone's privacy.

I think it would be entirely appropriate for a Bishop to say something like, "We have someone donating to your son's missionary support so that you won't need to donate the full $400 each month. That person wants to remain anonymous but you're welcomed to ask the clerk for a summary report of the account balance each month."

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Re: Online Ward Missionary contributions to specific Missionarie

Postby bballrob » Mon Aug 10, 2015 2:09 pm

If a family is in need of assistance, the Bishop can determine how that help is given/solicited. We have a moderate surplus in our general Ward Missionary fund that we can use for that purpose or to help support future missionaries from our ward.

I have also seen situations where a bishop may just make a request over the pulpit for contributions to the ward fund. I have also had bishops ask me at tithing settlement before if our family could make a specific commitment to ward contributions. Bottom line is, people are almost always willing to contribute, especially if they know there is a need, and even if they don't know who that need is for.

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johnshaw
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Re: Online Ward Missionary contributions to specific Missionarie

Postby johnshaw » Tue Aug 11, 2015 9:31 am

If a family is in need of assistance, the Bishop can determine how that help is given/solicited. We have a moderate surplus in our general Ward Missionary fund that we can use for that purpose or to help support future missionaries from our ward.


This is where I always saw the problem. The family in need will often not be identified quickly enough. I've seen OFTEN that 6 months of no contributions go by without anyone noticing, but ME the stake clerk. The Bishop had no clue the family was already behind 25% of the $$... When a family is in financial trouble, that is NOT something they can come back from. Often it is also treated as something 'owed' so the $$ stays 'assigned' to the family and they keep paying and paying and paying... If this was the first of several missionaries, the family can feel totally financially guilty for YEARS if a Bishop does not intercede and relieve them of the burden (or whatever he is inspired to do). I can't tell you the number of families that I saw it real trouble that a Bishop knew nothing about that could've been seen much quicker by noticing the Missionary account was not being contributed to..

#Bishophack
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Re: Online Ward Missionary contributions to specific Missionarie

Postby bballrob » Tue Aug 11, 2015 10:45 am

johnshaw wrote:
If a family is in need of assistance, the Bishop can determine how that help is given/solicited. We have a moderate surplus in our general Ward Missionary fund that we can use for that purpose or to help support future missionaries from our ward.


This is where I always saw the problem. The family in need will often not be identified quickly enough. I've seen OFTEN that 6 months of no contributions go by without anyone noticing, but ME the stake clerk. The Bishop had no clue the family was already behind 25% of the $$... When a family is in financial trouble, that is NOT something they can come back from. Often it is also treated as something 'owed' so the $$ stays 'assigned' to the family and they keep paying and paying and paying... If this was the first of several missionaries, the family can feel totally financially guilty for YEARS if a Bishop does not intercede and relieve them of the burden (or whatever he is inspired to do). I can't tell you the number of families that I saw it real trouble that a Bishop knew nothing about that could've been seen much quicker by noticing the Missionary account was not being contributed to..

#Bishophack

As a bishop, I have had the pleasure of serving under a stake president who does a brief financial review each month during my PPI -- usually no more than 5-10 minutes. One thing he would do is review the missionary funds in our ward. If someone had a negative balance, he would instruct me to talk to the family and see if there was a reason and either encourage them to get it caught up or cover it from the ward missionary fund if needed. It only took me a couple of months to realize this was going to be reviewed each month, and I now try to be proactive. I usually review those balances the last week of the month and either have the family catch them up, or make sure the transfer occurs.

If you are noticing this as the stake clerk, even when one falls just a month or two behind, you could gently point this out to the Stake President, or even the ward clerk of the ward so that they can point it out to the bishop if needed, and then it gets taken care of sooner rather than later.

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johnshaw
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Re: Online Ward Missionary contributions to specific Missionarie

Postby johnshaw » Tue Aug 11, 2015 10:58 am

bballrob - I don't currently have this issue. We fixed it in our stake also, the thread exists historically in case other stumble on it there are some helpful hints about what can be going on under the radar. I have to wonder... what if you're SP didn't have this review with you. Would you ever have discovered this as something that was helpful... and I say this for the world to read, 'you' in this case is ALL Bishops.

We need something better than 'hoping that someone in the stake knows to remind me about this' because Stake Presidents are only typically former Bishops who may or may not know these things. I was a stake clerk with 10-15 years ward clerk/exec sec experience - I've seen stake clerks called with absolutely 0 experience with church finances and mls.
“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.”

― Thomas Paine, Common Sense


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