Other Account - Collections

Discuss questions around local unit policies for budgeting, reconciling, etc. This forum should not contain specific financial or membership information.
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Other Account - Collections

Postby mhearne » Mon Mar 24, 2014 3:54 pm

We are all aware that only Bishop or his Counselors can collect "tithes and other offerings". Should donations to "Other -AMFA" account, specifically for Camp fund-raising be considered "other offerings" and therefore should have same acceptance procedures (i.e. give only to Bishopric directly by donor in sealed donation envelope)? I seem to remember seeing an old Thread on this subject here but can't remember what was generally agreed. I reviewed the LDS.org RKTS Finance info on "Other" account, and Donations and did not find any exceptions or specific instructions for collecting Other -AMFA funds. Thus, it seems to me that Other-AMFA funds could be considered "other offerings" and subject to specific donation acceptance procedures.

It has been a common practice in my previous Wards as far as I remember (and in the Ward I was recently called as Finance Clerk) to have the Scout Leader, or YW Leader (for Girls Camp fund-raisers) collecting money, including cash and checks, and then putting into donation envelope to give to Bishopric member. If these donations are considered "other offerings" then we clearly have an issue following Church guidelines. Even if not considered "other offerings" I still have some concerns about how this is done, especially with cash, as there does not seem to be any protections from theft or other misuse of funds which are intended to be deposited and disbursed from Church accounts, I appreciate any guidance on this. Thanks.

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Re: Other Account - Collections

Postby aebrown » Mon Mar 24, 2014 6:48 pm

The RKATS article Receive Donations refers to procedures that the stake president and bishop use for "all Church funds." I see no exception for funds that might happen to collected for the "other" category.

Think about the purposes for the policies about giving donations to the bishopric, and applying the companionship principle. I can't think of a single purpose for those policies that would apply to, for example, a Ward Missionary donation, that would not apply just as well to a camp payment. These policies exist to safeguard the funds, but I think it is even more important to protect the people who handle the funds. Regardless of the purpose of the funds, the last thing you want is one member saying "I know I gave that money to Scoutmaster Jones" and then Brother Jones can't find the money, either because it was never given to him, or because he misplaced it. It's not that we don't trust Brother Jones -- it's that following the policies protects everyone involved.

So it's common sense, and certainly as I read it, Church policy to have the bishopric collect all funds. Yes, it's a struggle to overcome longstanding traditions of treating some of these funds differently, but with a bit of firm leadership, it can be done.

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Re: Other Account - Collections

Postby gregwanderson » Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:51 am

I believe the previous discussion you're remembering is this one here. My comment is still the same...
Even when a donation isn't considered "charitable" for tax purposes it's still a donation. The reason the policy works (the one that says only the Bishopric can accept donations) is that there is a system in place to process them. Any Bishopric member should have good habits to handle donations, whether they're received on a Sunday or another day. They won't misplace a donation before it's deposited or leave it in an unsafe location at home or in their car. When donations are received by a person who is not in the habit of receiving them there is great potential for something to go wrong, whether by accident or not. Also, when donations for camps are collected by a youth leader then the youth leader usually keeps track of who paid and how much. Then whatever is entered in MLS only shows a total without tracking individual donors' contributions. It's much better to handle these the same way you would any charitable donation and let MLS keep the record of exactly who paid, how much they paid and which category received it.

I would add that the Bishop is ultimately responsible for the money along with others in the Bishopric and any clerk who signs the donation paperwork. So let them handle any money as early in the process as possible.

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