Local disaster relief

Discuss questions around local unit policies for budgeting, reconciling, etc. This forum should not contain specific financial or membership information.
waltbristow
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Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2007 3:49 pm
Location: Lynchburg, VA, USA

Local disaster relief

Postby waltbristow » Sun Jul 17, 2016 7:55 am

I have been asked about what Church policies affect the use of Church accounts when members in a stake want to provide donations that would be transferred to a ward impacted by the natural disaster.

Is it appropriate to collect funds through either online donations or donations to one's own ward or branch? If so, into which account should those donations be deposited? Fast offerings? The Other category? How would those donations best be transferred to the ward affected by the disaster? What are the policy considerations of allowing such donations vs encouraging contributions to the humanitarian fund? Practical considerations?

One ward wants to sponsor a musical program and ask for donations that would be sent to the impacted ward. What policies govern such an activity? How should donations received from such an activity be handled? How would they be deposited? Transferred to the affected ward?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

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aebrown
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Location: Sandy, Utah

Re: Local disaster relief

Postby aebrown » Sun Jul 17, 2016 9:12 am

waltbristow wrote:I have been asked about what Church policies affect the use of Church accounts when members in a stake want to provide donations that would be transferred to a ward impacted by the natural disaster.

It's wonderful that compassionate neighbors want to help. However, for the most part, direct assistance through the Church is not possible, both because of policy and practical considerations.
  • Regarding fast offerings, the bishop can certainly use fast offering funds to help members of his ward in need. There are certainly guidelines he needs to respect, but within those guidelines he can do much to provide financial assistance in the wake of a natural disaster. However, any funds the bishop disburses from the Fast Offering category are completely unrelated to any donations. Members of the stake who wish to help in this regard are certainly welcome to donate fast offerings, which would help the Church's overall capacity to help the needy, but is not directly tied to the needs of a particular ward in the stake.
  • When members donate to the Humanitarian Aid category, those funds go directly to Church Headquarters and are used in accordance with Church policies. There is no way to direct that any particular ward or area will receive any assistance through the Humanitarian Aid fund.
  • There is no way to make online donations that go directly to a ward (with the single exception of Ward Missionary funds, but those are used for a very specific purpose and obviously do not apply in this case).
  • Regarding efforts to raise funds to help the ward, I don't see how that could be done within policy. The only allowed fundraising is for youth or Cub camps, and there are strict guidelines controlling that.
  • I would be very wary of collecting funds via donations or fund raising to simply give to the ward. I see no way to handle such funds within policy; it seems like a questionable practice from a tax perspective, and because such a fund is not contemplated in Church policy, there are no guidelines or controls on how such money would be disbursed.
Personally, it seems to me that the best way to meet needs is for the bishop to use Fast Offering funds. Members may make generous fast offering donations, even though they are not directly connected to the assistance given.

waltbristow
New Member
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2007 3:49 pm
Location: Lynchburg, VA, USA

Re: Local disaster relief

Postby waltbristow » Sun Jul 17, 2016 3:40 pm

Thank you. That's exactly where I landed.


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