Our FHC does not have its own separate finance account and receives funding from the stake budget. We recently had a non-member patron make a $100 cash donation to the FHC and requested a receipt for tax purposes. In researching our director’s question regarding how to issue a tax receipt, I finally found the answer in the FHC Operations Guide, pg 31 (center director may issue a receipt for donations. Use a standard receipt book available from a local office supply store) but it led to my own FHC cash donation questions.
Also on pg 31 of the FHC Operations Guide it states:
"Centers may accept donations of research materials and money. Do not accept equipment, furnishings, computers, or printers. All donations must be given outright to the center with no restriction on its use or disposition. All donations become the property of the Church.
"Centers may accept small change donations. Other cash donations should be reviewed by the high councilor. Be aware that funds without a specific designation, in excess of one year’s operating budget, must be forwarded to general Church funds.
"If funds are donated to purchase a computer or printer, order through FamilySearch Support....
"If funds are donated to purchase furnishings or equipment, work with the local facilities manager to purchase approved items."
In reviewing this I'm a bit perplexed by seemingly contradicting statements. On the one hand, the first cited paragraph says donations are given "with no restriction on use or disposition", meaning the donor cannot dictate how it is used. Yet on the hand, the next cited paragraph says funds without a specific designation have to be considered for forwarding to general Church funds. Perhaps the phrase "without specific designation" refers to donations made to "the Church" in general and no specific Church organization such as Family History Center?
Also apparently contradicting the guidance in the first paragraph, the last two cited paragraphs give guidance on how to order computers and printers or furnishings and equipment using funds donated for that specified purpose.
If a donation is made to specifically go toward only buying computers for the FHC, wouldn't that be considered a restriction on its use or disposition? Am I seeing a contradiction of statements or misreading the guidance? We'd like to clear this up as our FHC director would like to set aside patron donated funds such as this one in the stake's OAMFA to fund additional computer purchases.
Discuss questions around local unit policies for budgeting, reconciling, etc. This forum should not contain specific financial or membership information.
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I don't have any authoritative answer and I'm not familiar with FHC financing so this is just my interpretation of the wording you quoted. But I see a difference between a restriction and a preference. A restriction would be an expectation that if the funds are not used for the stated purpose they would be returned or at least retained until they can be so used. A preference is just an indication of what the donor would like the funds to be used for but ultimately it's still up to the church to decide what to do with them. There is a similar distinction for the usual donations to tithing, fast offerings, ward mission fund and so forth. The donation becomes the property of the church without restriction and the church can reallocate how the funds will be used without permission from the donor. However, the donor can and does state a preference about whether a donation is for tithing, a specific missionary or some other use.
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