Send extra ward missionary funds to church headquarters

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tpaskett
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Send extra ward missionary funds to church headquarters

Postby tpaskett » Sun Nov 02, 2014 9:03 pm

I have extra funds in a ward missionary account that I have been told to send to church headquarters. I read here:

https://www.lds.org/help/support/missio ... s?lang=eng

"The bishop, with the stake presidency, should determine when ward missionary funds exceed reasonable ward or stake needs. Any excess should be sent to the administrative office by check or by letter indicating the amount of excess by unit."

It was suggested before I found this that I write a check and deposit it with tithing in as a donation for the general missionary fund. I don't think think would work, who would I put as the donor?

So if I do what is instructed in the link above, who do I make the check out to and where to I mail it?

russellhltn
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Re: Send extra ward missionary funds to church headquarters

Postby russellhltn » Sun Nov 02, 2014 9:30 pm

You might want to read the Wiki on the subject. It gives an address. It also suggests that funds should be sent to the stake where it can be used for any shortfalls in other wards of the stake before it's sent to CHQ.

I'd also make very sure about any "excess" funds. Some pay their mission in advance. This gives an appearance of excess, when in fact it's all obligated.
Have you searched the Wiki?
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aebrown
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Re: Send extra ward missionary funds to church headquarters

Postby aebrown » Mon Nov 03, 2014 5:03 am

tpaskett wrote:I have extra funds in a ward missionary account that I have been told to send to church headquarters. I read here:

https://www.lds.org/help/support/missio ... s?lang=eng

"The bishop, with the stake presidency, should determine when ward missionary funds exceed reasonable ward or stake needs. Any excess should be sent to the administrative office by check or by letter indicating the amount of excess by unit."

Note that important clause "with the stake presidency." A ward should not simply send excess missionary funds on its own, but should always consult with the stake presidency first.

In our stake, we have always done this as a coordinated effort among the wards. Each ward analyzes its needs and current balances, and then those with an actual surplus transfer funds to the stake. Then the stake writes one check. Before that is done, the stake has the opportunity to transfer funds to a ward that may have a deficit.

tpaskett wrote:It was suggested before I found this that I write a check and deposit it with tithing in as a donation for the general missionary fund. I don't think think would work, who would I put as the donor?

Please note that the General Missionary Fund is NOT the same thing as the way that CHQ manages excess Ward Missionary funds. So this is not the correct thing to do. You need to send a check to the correct department at CHQ. That wiki article linked to by RussellHltn is probably still accurate, or the stake clerk could always call the Global Service Center to ask where to send the funds.

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Re: Send extra ward missionary funds to church headquarters

Postby drepouille » Wed Nov 26, 2014 7:28 am

As the stake clerk, I review each monthly combined financial statement. For each unit, I follow this process:
* Identify missionaries who have paid ahead by 90 days or more, and subtract that amount from the balance of the unit missionary fund.
* Identify missionaries due to return home within the next 90 days, and inform the unit clerk to transfer excess funds from the missionary to the unit missionary fund, so the missionary's fund ends with a zero balance. Note: the missionary is not charged for the final month of the mission.
* Identify and count other missionaries in the unit, multiply by $1200 (90-day buffer), and subtract that amount from the remaining unit missionary fund balance. Note: I typically ignore senior missionaries for the purpose of these calculations, as they usually cover their own expenses.
* Inform the stake president, the bishop, and the unit clerk of excess missionary funds in their unit, and ask them to either post an MLS transfer to the stake missionary fund, or provide a reason why they need to keep the excess funds.

I may appear to be a meddling busy-body to some ward clerks. However, the stakes in our area routinely (once or twice each year) receive a similar request from our Area Authority Seventy. We must either transfer excess funds to the Corporation of the President, or justify why our stake needs to retain the excess funds. I simply perform the same calculations at the stake level that I do for each unit in the stake, and inform the AAS of the amount we consider to be excess, and how much we plan to send in.
Dana Repouille, Plattsmouth, Nebraska

russellhltn
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Re: Send extra ward missionary funds to church headquarters

Postby russellhltn » Wed Nov 26, 2014 10:14 am

drepouille wrote:Note: the missionary is not charged for the final month of the mission.

That may be the usual case, but it depends on the timing of the first payment, the timing of the first payment from the family, and if any extension is granted.
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gregwanderson
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Re: Send extra ward missionary funds to church headquarters

Postby gregwanderson » Wed Nov 26, 2014 4:42 pm

drepouille wrote:I may appear to be a meddling busy-body to some ward clerks.

I might think you were being a busy-body but, then again, I was very good about watching the Ward Missionary Fund and its subcategories so you wouldn't have to "manage" me. I wish that we would make a habit of treating the Ward Missionary accounts the way we do the "Other" accounts. In other words, there is a specific amount of money needed each month. It's not difficult to know this amount at the start of each month. And we don't hold on to surplus funds because, ideally, we would never have surplus funds. In my experience, however, we tend to just let the Ward Missionary Fund do whatever it wants to do, like Tithing or Fast Offering donations, rather than pay attention to the cash flow.

I would say that we need to educate the general population of the church. And maybe it would be worth taking 5 minutes in a "5th Sunday combined meeting" setting to just review this with people.

1) The ward mission fund provides $400 per month for each full time missionary serving that month.
2) Maybe that money comes from the missionary and/or the missionary's family and maybe it is subsidized by ward member contributions. Apart from a month or two of "buffer" money, there is no need to carry any excess and, indeed, any excess would have to be converted to some other use anyway (like sending it to the Stake). If a member specifically wants to subsidize the funds for missionaries in their ward then they should consult with the Bishop (or the missionary's family, if they don't want to be anonymous).
3) It is not appropriate for people to "pay in advance" if they have a family member planning to serve a mission but that potential missionary hasn't even received a mission call yet. Please save that money in your own, personal bank account because it's just a hassle for the clerk to keep track of it. The MLS software doesn't provide an easy way for the clerk to track that money.

I maintain that the financial clerk should have an ongoing dialog with families that are donating for the support of a family member's mission AND with anyone else who regularly donates to the ward missionary fund. If someone is donating $5 or $10 here and there then that's not going to throw the system off too much. But if someone donates $50 or $100 every month and it's not earmarked for some specific missionary's support then I believe it would be worth explaining to the donor that the money would be better used in a General Missionary Fund. If it's going to the ward account and not for a specific missionary's support then the money is literally going to sit there indefinitely and do nothing.

If someone made regular, unnecessary donations to an "Other" category (like a Relief Society Quilt Project that ended months ago) then you'd probably try to correct that before it got out of hand and/or violated policies and/or caused trouble for you during the 6-month audit. So why do we let the Ward Mission Account accumulate money? Why do we wait until the Stake points out the excess before we do anything to "correct" the situation?

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Re: Send extra ward missionary funds to church headquarters

Postby drepouille » Wed Nov 26, 2014 4:49 pm

I would rather have the members donate to the ward missionary fund, rather than the general missionary fund, because we may be able to use that money elsewhere in the stake, rather than have it immediately swept into the general fund. When I look at the Year-to-Date amount of donations to the general missionary fund, I groan when I know that money could have been used in the stake.
Dana Repouille, Plattsmouth, Nebraska

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Re: Send extra ward missionary funds to church headquarters

Postby eblood66 » Wed Nov 26, 2014 5:08 pm

drepouille wrote:I would rather have the members donate to the ward missionary fund, rather than the general missionary fund, because we may be able to use that money elsewhere in the stake, rather than have it immediately swept into the general fund. When I look at the Year-to-Date amount of donations to the general missionary fund, I groan when I know that money could have been used in the stake.

Those donations to the general missionary fund help missionaries from areas of the world where the church is often much weaker than here in the United States. Those missionaries will hopefully then go back to their homes after their missions with skills and testimonies that will help them lead and strengthen the church in those areas. Both the ward and general missionary funds have their place and hopefully no one would be discouraged from donating to the general missionary fund. However, I think it is appropriate to educate people about what each is used for so they can make personal decisions about where they wish to donate.

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gregwanderson
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Re: Send extra ward missionary funds to church headquarters

Postby gregwanderson » Wed Nov 26, 2014 10:39 pm

drepouille wrote:I would rather have the members donate to the ward missionary fund, rather than the general missionary fund, because we may be able to use that money elsewhere in the stake, rather than have it immediately swept into the general fund. When I look at the Year-to-Date amount of donations to the general missionary fund, I groan when I know that money could have been used in the stake.

I suppose my own experience makes me lean in a different direction. In all my years working in ward finances, the stake never asked for excess missionary funds to go to the stake. But they did ask us to give some to CHQ once or twice. (Early in my experience we had one or two families that didn't "keep up" with their donations so I suppose I wanted a really, really big "buffer" but, in fact, these problems turned out to be rare. I simply needed to tell the Bishop about these problems and let him ask about the families' financial troubles and offer whatever help the church would offer.) So, in my experience, the stake never needed that money.

Then I'm back to this: If people are giving to the Ward Missionary Fund that doesn't need the money, then I know that the money will not be used for this purpose but, instead, will either be given to CHQ or to the stake (after spending a long time sitting in the ward account doing no good at all). So I think the donor should be aware of this so they can, perhaps, decide to give the money to some other line item on the donation form. Or they might choose to let the money sit there anyway and not really know where it's really going to go… someday.

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Re: Send extra ward missionary funds to church headquarters

Postby aebrown » Thu Nov 27, 2014 6:24 am

mrrad wrote:I suppose my own experience makes me lean in a different direction. In all my years working in ward finances, the stake never asked for excess missionary funds to go to the stake.

If your stake never asked your ward for excess missionary funds, then that means that either your stake president knew that no other ward in the stake had a deficit, or that that deficit was handled some other way. Either way, that's fine for your stake, but it's clearly not the experience of other stakes. When one or more wards has a deficit and others have a surplus, it's entirely appropriate for the stake president to reallocate those ward missionary funds.

mrrad wrote:But they did ask us to give some to CHQ once or twice.

In all my years working in ward and stake finances, wards were never asked to send surplus ward missionary funds to CHQ -- it was always done through the stake. In many cases, the stake was responding to a letter from the Presidency of the Seventy requesting those surplus funds. In order to properly calculate the amount and responsibly communicate back to the Presidency of the Seventy, it only made sense to funnel all the funds and explanations through the stake.


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