Missionary fast offering

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nasfarley88
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Missionary fast offering

Postby nasfarley88 » Sun Sep 29, 2013 7:14 am

I've recently become Stake Clerk, and I found that one of the wards (with 12 missionaries!) in the stake lumps all missionary fast offerings into a fake missionary donor (one with a name like 'Missionary'). I found https://tech.lds.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=2552# but I was wondering if there was anything official on this, considering we've had a new handbook since 2009. I've even tried to find instructions on accepting donations from people who are not members of the ward but not found anything.

In short: How should a ward clerk record fast offerings from full-time missionaries?

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gregwanderson
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Re: Missionary fast offering

Postby gregwanderson » Sun Sep 29, 2013 8:46 am

The best way to keep records is to make sure that what's written on the white, donation form is accurately represented in MLS too. (And if there's a question about whether the donation form is accurate, just ask the donor before you record anything in MLS!) So you should always credit a donation to the individual who makes the donation. As stated in the discussion you linked to, if the donor leaves the ward (and likely will never return) and you don't want them to be listed as a donor year-after-year, you can just change their status to hidden.

The problem with not recording the donation to the donor who made it is that if you ever have a need to correct the MLS record it will be a lot of work to track down the correct information. But if there is no discrepancy then you will never have to "correct" anything! I've never seen special instructions about fast offering donations from missionaries. I have never seen instructions telling me not to record a donor's name as it appears on the donation form. The instructions I remember are to record what's on the form. Even if the clerk is confused and creates two "donors" (one is "Charles Smith" and the other is "Chuck Smith") when it's really only one person, then MLS has an easy way to merge the records whenever the clerk finds out the correction is needed. But I see no logical need to turn a specific donor into an anonymous donor.

nasfarley88
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Re: Missionary fast offering

Postby nasfarley88 » Sun Sep 29, 2013 9:33 am

This pretty much confirms what I feel as well, thanks.

It's a shame there is no way to simply link the donation to thier membership record. I think the reason they have assigned it to 'Missionary' in the past is to avoid pressure on an already busy schedule, but this is no reason to keep inaccurate records in my opinion! I'll consult with local leaders to see what has been said before, but without an official word it seems best to record names with donations rather than simply donations under a dummy donor.

Gary_Miller
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Re: Missionary fast offering

Postby Gary_Miller » Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:31 pm

nfarley88 wrote:I've recently become Stake Clerk, and I found that one of the wards (with 12 missionaries!) in the stake lumps all missionary fast offerings into a fake missionary donor (one with a name like 'Missionary').

If the batch was to be looked at closely in a audit this would revel an audit exception as the name on the donor slip did not match the name on the batch report.

nfarley88 wrote: How should a ward clerk record fast offerings from full-time missionaries?

Under the name or the member making the donation.

mrrad wrote:The best way to keep records is to make sure that what's written on the white, donation form is accurately represented in MLS too.

This is not only the best way it is the only way it should be done.

nfarley88 wrote:It's a shame there is no way to simply link the donation to thier membership record.

If you look at MLS and listen to some of the talk on the forms it looks as if they are heading in that direction.

nfarley88 wrote:I think the reason they have assigned it to 'Missionary' in the past is to avoid pressure on an already busy schedule, but this is no reason to keep inaccurate records in my opinion!

I can't agree more.

nfarley88 wrote: I'll consult with local leaders to see what has been said before, but without an official word it seems best to record names with donations rather than simply donations under a dummy donor.

Maybe a good time to have a mandatory review of the online financial training. Not only for clerks but for Bishopric members as well.

nasfarley88
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Re: Missionary fast offering

Postby nasfarley88 » Tue Oct 01, 2013 3:08 am

I've talked to my local church finance person, and he said that lumping it into 'missionary' is fine for them! I guess this kind of thing is decided at a local level in church offices, so I'll leave it as is for now. Although if I ever do have a meeting with church offices, I'll bring this up (as I can see how this could create an auditing nightmare!).

Thanks for all the help!

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aebrown
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Re: Missionary fast offering

Postby aebrown » Tue Oct 01, 2013 5:26 am

nfarley88 wrote:I've talked to my local church finance person, and he said that lumping it into 'missionary' is fine for them! I guess this kind of thing is decided at a local level in church offices, so I'll leave it as is for now.

I'm curious what a "local church finance person" is. Do they really have authority to override general instructions in financial training and auditing? And even if they can say that lumping these donations together is "fine for them," does that mean it's fine for the donors? What if a missionary were to ask for a YTD statement of donations (which clearly any donor may ask for)? If I were the clerk asked that question, I would be embarrassed if I had to reply that I didn't bother to keep accurate records because he was only a missionary!

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gregwanderson
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Re: Missionary fast offering

Postby gregwanderson » Tue Oct 01, 2013 7:59 am

I want to be sure I understand what "problem" is solved by creating the fake "missionary" donor. Is it a burden for the clerk to see "too many" out-of-unit donors who donate a little and then leave the ward forever? Is it too much trouble to interrupt the flow of recording donations because they have to create another donor record for someone who will only donate two or three times before disappearing? Is it too much trouble to send year-end tax statements to all of those out-of-unit donors?

If these are the "problems" then there is nothing in the record-keeping instructions acknowledging them. I could argue that these problems are far worse in an average BYU student ward. I doubt they're authorized to create "group" donor records for the hundreds of students who donate just a little and will never be seen in the ward again after a semester or two. Also, it shouldn't take more than 30 seconds to create a new donor record in MLS while you're recording donations.

jasonfitt
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Re: Missionary fast offering

Postby jasonfitt » Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:31 pm

We have 10 missionaries assigned to our ward. When they pay fast offerings we create a donor record for them using their real name. It literally takes seconds to do, and you can do it right there in the donation batch while you have it open. I don't see how putting it in a dummy donor saves much time, really. You can go through and 'hide' the donor when the missionary leaves, but we've never done that as I haven't seen a big need for it.

I agree with Gary_Miller that you'd be hit with an audit violation (exception) because the name on the slip wouldn't match the name listed in MLS.

idjeeper2
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Re: Missionary fast offering

Postby idjeeper2 » Fri Oct 11, 2013 1:22 pm

nfarley88 wrote:This pretty much confirms what I feel as well, thanks.

It's a shame there is no way to simply link the donation to thier membership record.


Unless I'm mistaken, all you have to do is enter their membership number when you create the new donor. This also resolves the issue of how and where to send their donor statements, since Church Headquarters will do it for you.

lajackson
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Re: Missionary fast offering

Postby lajackson » Fri Oct 11, 2013 2:18 pm

idjeeper2 wrote:
nfarley88 wrote:This pretty much confirms what I feel as well, thanks.

It's a shame there is no way to simply link the donation to thier membership record.


Unless I'm mistaken, all you have to do is enter their membership number when you create the new donor. This also resolves the issue of how and where to send their donor statements, since Church Headquarters will do it for you.

Hold that thought. Maybe it will happen sometime in the future. We can hope. But, for now:

You cannot enter the membership record number. If the membership record is in your ward, you can link the record to the donor. That is how statements are prepared for members of the ward at the end of the year.

If a member lives in (has his or her membership record in) more than one ward during the year, Church Headquarters will gather up the information and send out a combined statement to the ward in which the member resides in January of the following year so that ward can print it out and give it to the member.

A missionary (usually paying Fast Offering) or a donor from another unit (often paying to the ward missionary fund) only receives a statement if the ward clerk prints one out in January and mails it to the donor.

I believe sometime in the future what you propose will happen. But last I checked, we are not there yet.


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