Using 'Other' for bulk food prep orders

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miahjohnson
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Using 'Other' for bulk food prep orders

Postby miahjohnson » Tue Jan 19, 2016 3:54 pm

I'm a Stake Clerk trying to help facilitate and place financial controls on bulk food orders for the stake's preparedness initiatives but on the ward level. It's a lot of money for any single person to hold, therefor a huge potential liability and could become very messy very easily.

Our neighboring stake is using the "Other" box on the Tithing and Donation forms for members to pay for bulk orders on preparedness items like honey or wheat ect. ex. "Other: Honey" This is being paid to the bishopric like any other donation. The wards are then cutting check to the stake who in turn cuts a single large check to the vendor for the bulk order. I cannot find anywhere in the handbook that explicitly prohibits this, it seems a very grey area to me. If nothing else it would inflate church statistics on donations if all stakes took this approach as headquarters would see a dramatic increase in 'donations' in the thousands of dollars each year that are not true donations.

Does anyone else see my concern here or am I just overthinking this? Any other ideas?

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aebrown
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Re: Using 'Other' for bulk food prep orders

Postby aebrown » Tue Jan 19, 2016 4:28 pm

miahjohnson wrote:I'm a Stake Clerk trying to help facilitate and place financial controls on bulk food orders for the stake's preparedness initiatives but on the ward level. It's a lot of money for any single person to hold, therefor a huge potential liability and could become very messy very easily.

Your concern is well founded. It's never a good idea for a person to collect money from others for any person for any Church purpose.

miahjohnson wrote:Our neighboring stake is using the "Other" box on the Tithing and Donation forms for members to pay for bulk orders on preparedness items like honey or wheat ect. ex. "Other: Honey" This is being paid to the bishopric like any other donation. The wards are then cutting check to the stake who in turn cuts a single large check to the vendor for the bulk order.

That approach does solve the concern about non-bishopric members handling funds. If your ward or stake is going to make these kinds of purchases, that's a much better approach.

miahjohnson wrote:I cannot find anywhere in the handbook that explicitly prohibits this, it seems a very grey area to me. If nothing else it would inflate church statistics on donations if all stakes took this approach as headquarters would see a dramatic increase in 'donations' in the thousands of dollars each year that are not true donations.

There's no concern that Church headquarters would see a dramatic increase in "donations" -- payments to the Other category are not donations, and so that's not really a problem at all. None of the members will get credit for a charitable donation for any of these payments, since they would be in a subcategory of Other:Authorized Member Financed Activities, and those don't appear on the official tax statements.

I have seen stake presidents and bishops who have concerns about funneling money through the Church because such bulk purchases benefit a vendor who essentially becomes that ward or stake's preferred vendor. That does seem to me to be a reasonable concern, but I don't see that as being specifically prohibited by the handbooks.

russellhltn
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Re: Using 'Other' for bulk food prep orders

Postby russellhltn » Tue Jan 19, 2016 4:33 pm

Donations to "other" isn't in the same category as tithing or fast offerings.

My bigger concern is if the bulk purchase itself runs into issues. This would appear to me to be competition with local vendors or possibly taxable. If members want to do it, that's one thing, but to involve the church strikes me as questionable.

The only thing I can find for now is a line in Help Center that says "Leaders should not solicit or deposit money into the 'Other' category for purposes beyond the established guidelines." Since I see nothing in the guidelines about bulk purchases, it would appear to me to be "outside".
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