Merchant Community Support Payments

Discuss questions around local unit policies for budgeting, reconciling, etc. This forum should not contain specific financial or membership information.
mhearne
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Merchant Community Support Payments

Postby mhearne » Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:16 pm

I am a new Ward Financial Clerk and discovered that the Ward has for several years has been set-up to receive funds from local merchants (mostly grocery stores like Kroger/Ralphs or Von's (under program called ESCRIP) which are deposited into Scout and Girls camp "Other" fundraising accounts to support those activities. The payments are usually made quarterly and are ongoing and are based on % of purchases at those stores by those (members/non members) who are registered for those programs. Many local schools and other community programs are very active in these programs.

In reviewing the Handbook policies for "Other" account and fundraising I am concerned that this type of funding is not a specific one-time funding as noted in Handbook:

As an exception, a stake president or bishop may authorize one group fund-raising activity each year. Such an activity may be held to raise funds for the following purposes only:
1. To help pay the cost of one annual camp or similar activity.


The deposits are made usually in addition to separate fund raising activities (i.e. flags for Scouts)In addition, the checks have been made to Boy Scout Troop 496 which I believe the church does not want camp fundraising checks made out to "Boy Scouts" but to Ward.

Does anyone have Stake/Ward units also participating in these programs? The Bishopric is in full support of participation in these programs and I know this is done in other Wards in the Stake with implied if not actual consent of Stake leadership. Is this something that should be addressed to Stake Clerk and/or Bishop has possible problem with following Church policies? Just looking to see if anyone else has addressed this type of issue before. Thanks.

jdlessley
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Re: Merchant Community Support Payments

Postby jdlessley » Thu Feb 20, 2014 5:07 am

mhearne wrote:The Bishopric is in full support of participation in these programs and I know this is done in other Wards in the Stake with implied if not actual consent of Stake leadership.

I know from personal experience that this sort of thing is hard to convince the local leadership that this is not in accordance with Church policy. What leader wants to give up a source of funds that solves a funding difficulty. After all, if everyone else is doing it then why can't we, right?

The Handbook, does not give local leaders the option to make these types of exceptions. At least not in my opinion. And I know this type of funding was specifically mentioned as not appropriate by a visiting authority in my stake in 2010 (a different stake than I am now in) during an open question and answer period of a priesthood meeting for that visit. The source of funds for the one annual camp is spelled out in priority - budget funds first, then the camp participant, then one annual fund-raiser. Nowhere does it allow a continuing fund-raising source.

mhearne wrote:Is this something that should be addressed to Stake Clerk and/or Bishop has possible problem with following Church policies?

I would, and have, brought these types of things to the attention of the local leadership. Be prepared to be told that the way they are doing it is fine. Once you have voiced your concern, and brought the matter to the attention of your priesthood leaders, then feel fine in that you have done what you should do. It is now their responsibility to seek further guidance if they need it.

mhearne wrote:In addition, the checks have been made to Boy Scout Troop 496 which I believe the church does not want camp fundraising checks made out to "Boy Scouts" but to Ward.

This is correct. The ward should be the payee on the check and not the BSA or any unit of the BSA. There was an MLS message sent out to all US units some time last year. If you cannot find it (someone may have deleted it) then you can send an MLS message to headquarters requesting it be resent to your unit.
JD Lessley
Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?

Gary_Miller
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Re: Merchant Community Support Payments

Postby Gary_Miller » Sat Feb 22, 2014 3:18 pm

mhearne wrote:The deposits are made usually in addition to separate fund raising activities (i.e. flags for Scouts)In addition, the checks have been made to Boy Scout Troop 496 which I believe the church does not want camp fundraising checks made out to "Boy Scouts" but to Ward.

Since you can have no checking account for the Scout Troop and you cannot deposit checks in the donation batch that are made out to the "Boy Scouts" how would you cash the check?

I would also have to concur with others about this Churches fundraising guidelines. I do not feel this falls within the guidelines, especially the part that says, " If a fund-raising activity is held, it should provide a meaningful value or service. It should be a positive experience that builds unity." (HB2 13.6.8).

Technically this money, because the checks are written to BSA, would belong to the "Boy Scouts of America" and not the "Such and Such Ward".

I guess you could take the check to the local BSA Council office and have them put toward scout camps for your youth. But then you may run into "FOS" campaign problems with the council as they frown on troops collecting donations from business, as they usually have a different FOS for businesses.

My suggestion would be is to send the money to the local BSA council office and not the church chartered scout troop.

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jeromer7
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Re: Merchant Community Support Payments

Postby jeromer7 » Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:41 am

You might also review the January 15, 2013 letter from the Presiding Bishopric, Subject: Corporate Matching Donations in the Official Communications Library. While the case being discussed here isn't "matching donations", it seems to me the principle would apply, i.e., we do not accept donations from corporations (merchants) for deposit into local accounts.

mhearne
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Re: Merchant Community Support Payments

Postby mhearne » Tue Feb 25, 2014 10:35 am

by jdlessley
I know from personal experience that this sort of thing is hard to convince the local leadership that this is not in accordance with Church policy. What leader wants to give up a source of funds that solves a funding difficulty. After all, if everyone else is doing it then why can't we, right


Hit nail firmly on the head! This is the issue - getting Bishop and/or Youth Leaders to agree. I agree with consensus here that this activity is not in accordance with Church Policy - mainly because it is not a one time annual fund raising activity, and there is not meaningful value or service provided to obtain the funding. I was just looking for some reasoned support and that I was not alone in thinking this before broaching the subject with Bishopric. I found it. Thanks!

Since you can have no checking account for the Scout Troop and you cannot deposit checks in the donation batch that are made out to the "Boy Scouts" how would you cash the check?


I wondered about this as well. But last year the quarterly checks received clearly were payable to "Boy Scout Troop 496" and clearly were deposited by previous Clerk (under MISC DONOR) with rest of the Ward donations (to local Bank of America branch) and this deposited check cleared to my knowledge. How and why I don't know. I was told by work colleague that many of the banks (especially larger ones) don't even check if deposited checks are made to the account holder (or properly endorsed to account holder) as the cost of setting up procedures to do this on every deposit actually exceeds any cost they pay for someone claiming they incorrectly accepting check deposit on an account that check payee does not match. So I guess that is what happened in this instance. lol

I hope our Ward was not the reason for MLS message sent out about not having checks for Scout fundraising made out to "Boy Scouts of America" or "BSA". Yikes!

Thanks for all your input and guidance!

lajackson
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Re: Merchant Community Support Payments

Postby lajackson » Tue Feb 25, 2014 12:08 pm

mhearne wrote:I hope our Ward was not the reason for MLS message sent out about not having checks for Scout fundraising made out to "Boy Scouts of America" or "BSA". Yikes!

Nope. Not just your ward. [grin]

Depositing checks made out to other entities is not a very good banking practice. The bank I use for my personal account(s) will shut down your account if they catch you doing it.

phatkrome
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Re: Merchant Community Support Payments

Postby phatkrome » Tue May 27, 2014 5:31 pm

One related follow up situation I would appreciate comments on:

A member of our troop is fundraising for his Eagle project. Similar to as described above, a local restaurant will contribute a portion of the proceeds from a given event. The problem is that the merchant will not make out a check to the individual (any organization such as a ward or troop is fine). Could we accept a check and reimburse the member? If not, any other options would be welcome.


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